Learning resources from INTO UEA

Cautious language

Academics use cautious language when making statements that could be challenged or where the truth may be more complicated. This is also called hedging.

👉 See also Listening » Lectures » Hedging


  • Her death was almost certainly preventable.
  • Approximately 5,000 schools are still closed in Sindh.
  • Food security frequently takes precedence over obesity in these countries.
  • Bail hearings nearly always occur within twenty-four hours of the initial booking.
  • Stress often causes people’s eating habits to change.
  • Poor neighbourhoods in Chicago, primarily on the city’s South and West sides, have limited access to a pharmacy.
  • The odd tubular structures were probably formed by crystal growth, not tiny burrowing creatures.
  • All wars are somewhat similar when you consider the element of human tragedy.
  • Flu typically consists of fever, headache, tiredness and respiratory symptoms that resolve within 7 days.
  • When homicides occur, though, they usually are at the hands of someone the victim knows.

Prepositional phrase

  • However, in most cases the proportion of variance explained by genetic risk scores prediction R-squared remains substantially lower than the trait heritability.
  • Their development depends to some extent on the neighbourhoods in which children grow up.


  • Rents are likely to rise when the vacancy rate falls.
  • One possible explanation is that the work has been done based on assumptions about how raindrops and snowflakes start and grow.
  • A new study has found it is highly probable that climate change is amplifying the north-south water runoff contrast in Europe.
  • Changing GP opening hours is unlikely to ease the rising burden of A&E visits.


  • We found relict-only sites on almost all landform types.
  • In Indonesia, many patients are diagnosed with breast and cervical cancers at a very late stage.
  • Importantly, most reports showed complete or partial remission rates higher than 80 percent.

Verb + that or + noun phrase

  • Current evidence indicates that tiotropium demonstrates significant additional benefits.
  • Our research suggests that beliefs about race take a long time to develop.
  • Our new study indicates a link between the Wnt pathway and autophagy.

Verb + infinitive

  • Each of these policies appears to promote better resource allocation.
  • Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk.
  • But moral principles seem to be playing an important role in the explanation of official behavior.
  • The new generation of asset lockups tends to involve intangible assets.

Modal verb

  • Dyslexia could be the result of eye spots that confuse the brain.
  • Adolescent drinking may cause liver problems later in life.
  • Instructional tools that address these cognitive variables should result in improved learning by the student.

Being cautious
Academic Phrasebank

University of Houston-Victoria

Medium certainty
Purdue University


Hong Kong PolyU


The use of caution
Academic Writing : A Handbook for International Students

by Stephen Bailey. 5th edn. (2017)

Working with evidence
How to Write Better Essays

by Bryan Greetham. 4th ed. (2018)