Using tentative verb forms

Statements that are too direct or over-positive can be softened as in these examples:

Over-positive statement

Hedged statement

The investigations of the present work contribute to the model and filter components of LES...

The investigations of the present work are intended as a contribution to the model and filter components of LES.

We propose a methodological approach.

We would therefore propose.

The use of equivalence factors for ecotoxic effect should be rejected ...

It is better for the use of equivalence factors for ecotoxic effect to be avoided...

Different variants of the disposal structures must be transferred in computer-aided modes.

It is recommended that different variants of the disposal structures be transferred in computer-aided modes.

Particularly useful verbs for hedging are seem to ... / appear to ... / tend to ..., as in these phrases:

Our data seem / appear to

demonstrate that...

indicate that...

suggest that...

imply that...

Our data do not appear to confirm that...

Our data tend to support the hypothesis that...

■ Using modal verbs

■ Using modal verbs

Many modal verbs indicate tentativeness or a lack of certainty and can therefore be used to soften what you want to say. Particularly useful modal verbs for this are can / could / may / might / would.

Direct sentence

Hedged sentence

It will be of interest to compose ...

It might be of interest to compose.

These findings suggest the following interpretation.

These findings would/might /could suggest the following interpretation.

X is due to Y

X might /could be due to Y.

Our data are expected to show .

Our data would be expected to show.

From these results we conclude .

From these results we may conclude.

This assumption also explains why .

This assumption may also help to explain why .

The present model is particularly useful ..

The present model should be particularly useful.

Finally, the insecurities of the evaluation have to be discussed.

As a final step, the insecurities of the evaluation will need to be discussed.

■ Using adverbs

Using certain adverbs of degree and attitudinal adverbs can be used to soften what you say. They are especially useful when making generalisations, circumventing giving exact numerical data (when necessary) or avoiding making a claim for absolute truth.

Looking for oval pieces from the past, we found a long list but certainly there are more examples...

Other modifying expressions:

a little, rather, somewhat, almost, nearly, quite, approximately, about

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Responses

  • Georgina
    What are tentative verbs?
    6 years ago

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