Hedging

  See also Writing→Cautious language

Introduction


Sometimes lecturers will hedge – use certain words when they are not completely certain about something, or when the truth is more complicated than they are saying.

Words they could use include:

  • could/may
  • perhaps/maybe/possibly/probably
  • likely/possible/probable/unlikely
  • seem/appear/look/tend
  • this/research/evidence suggests that
  • it is believed/thought that
  • often

Examples

  • It might be that the learning of a language reformats your memory… It could be neural maturation. It could be that those memory parts of the brains grow around age two or three that just weren’t there prior to that. And nobody really knows.
  • It’s been estimated that perhaps a quarter of the entire population lived in other people’s households as servants.
  • Because it was in the 1950s or so, maybe the late 1940s, that people started to discover lithium.
  • Although there’s some merit to what Linus stated, he probably overstated some of those later findings.
  • So it seems very likely that this is not a Severan arch but a Tiberian arch.
  • She was by that time in her late forties and it’s unlikely that she really took this seriously.
  • The efforts to cut down the release of fluorocarbons seem to be helping with that.
  • And then, if we turn to London, London appears to have had about a fifth of its population favouring dissent.
  • So once again we seem to be in a situation where we are looking at a palace … in which it looks like there was an important transition from one Roman wall painting decoration style to another.
  • Inequality tends to be highest in the emerging markets.
  • So the evidence suggests that by the 1680s real wages, the purchasing power of wages, were up by about 50% over the levels of the 1630s.
  • It is believed that these paintings on the Esquiline Hill are based on Hellenistic Greek models that probably were made in about 150 B.C.
  • It is thought that life very early on is split into three major lineages.

Exercise


Watch the video. Identify the hedging terms used in each clip.

  1. tends to
  2. maybe
  3. probably
  4. the evidence suggests that
  5. seems toprobably
  6. oftentend toseem to
  7. There’s some dispute about …  I think it’s highly unlikely thatmay
  8. mayit’s possiblemaywe’re not absolutely sure
  9. It’s highly unlikely thatit is highly unlikely thatMore likelymaycouldI would guess it may
  10. suggest to us thatprobably
  11. appears to
  12. mayoftenseem to
  13. suggests that

Gap fill

  1. I want to point out that entropy tends to be a much smaller value than enthalpy, so it’s reported in joules instead of kilojoules.
  2. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” there’s many interpretations for this poem, but maybe it’s about entropy.
  3. So I wouldn’t drink it after its expiration date, but probably there’s more water than hydrogen peroxide at that point.
  4. So the evidence suggests that by the 1680s real wages, the purchasing power of wages, were up by about 50% over the levels of the 1630s.
  5. What seems to have been happening was that a great deal of the urban growth of this period was going on in other towns as well. So, for example, in 1600 England had had twenty towns with a population of more than 5,000; by 1670 it had twenty-six; by 1700 it had thirty-two. Provincial cities of more than 5,000 inhabitants were making up an increasing proportion of the national population, by 1700 probably something like 5.5%.
  6. It’s a classic story that you’ve all heard of, I’m sure, that often in the provision of public goods, let’s say bridges or highways or tunnels, the incentives for the construction companies tend to be rather badly written. They’re meant to have incentive clauses but they never seem to quite get them right. It’s easy to get these incentives wrong.
  7. There’s some dispute about when those crenellations were added, whether they belonged to the original tomb or not. I think it’s highly unlikely that they belonged to the original tomb, and they may have been added at the time that this was made into a fortress.
  8. And it tells us that she was the daughter F(filia), f-i-l-i-a, the daughter of Quintus Q. Creticus – Creticus, C-r-e-t-i-c-u-s – who may have come from Crete; it’s possible. And it also makes reference to the fact that she was married to someone by the name of Crassus. This may be Crassus the Elder; we’re not absolutely sure.
  9. We have to ask ourselves, what is that trophy doing on this particular monument? It’s highly unlikely that it refers to – there are some instances; we do hear about woman trying to raise money for troops and so on and so forth. But we don’t – and even thinking that they might go into battle – but for the most part Roman women did not participate in battle. So it is highly unlikely that this refers to a military encounter that she had. More likely it either refers to a military encounter of her father or her husband, or it may be a more generic reference to victory. We’ve talked about the fact that in the minds of the Romans, the victory in battle, victory in the hunt, often were conflated with victory over death. So it could be a more generic reference, but I would guess it may have something to do more specifically with the conquest of her husband or her father.
  10. These have markings on the top that suggest to us that statues stood on them, at one point. So these were statue bases, probably placed right in front of the entrance to the pyramidal tomb.
  11. Part of the reason for this is that there appears to be a strong heritable basis for happiness.
  12. In fact, lottery winning may be a terrible case where people — where it goes the reverse of what you expect. What happens when you win a lot of money is it often wrenches you away from your family, your work and your friends and leads you to depression and sadness, but even mundane events that would make you happy — that you think would make you happy don’t seem to last.
  13. A lot of research suggests that if your environment is noisy, like they’re doing construction around you, you can’t get used to it.

Transcript

  1. I want to point out that entropy tends to be a much smaller value than enthalpy, so it’s reported in joules instead of kilojoules.
  2. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” there’s many interpretations for this poem, but maybe it’s about entropy.
  3. So I wouldn’t drink it after its expiration date, but probably there’s more water than hydrogen peroxide at that point.
  4. So the evidence suggests that by the 1680s real wages, the purchasing power of wages, were up by about 50% over the levels of the 1630s.
  5. What seems to have been happening was that a great deal of the urban growth of this period was going on in other towns as well. So, for example, in 1600 England had had twenty towns with a population of more than 5,000; by 1670 it had twenty-six; by 1700 it had thirty-two. Provincial cities of more than 5,000 inhabitants were making up an increasing proportion of the national population, by 1700 probably something like 5.5%.
  6. It’s a classic story that you’ve all heard of, I’m sure, that often in the provision of public goods, let’s say bridges or highways or tunnels, the incentives for the construction companies tend to be rather badly written. They’re meant to have incentive clauses but they never seem to quite get them right. It’s easy to get these incentives wrong.
  7. There’s some dispute about when those crenellations were added, whether they belonged to the original tomb or not. I think it’s highly unlikely that they belonged to the original tomb, and they may have been added at the time that this was made into a fortress.
  8. And it tells us that she was the daughter F(filia), f-i-l-i-a, the daughter of Quintus Q. Creticus – Creticus, C-r-e-t-i-c-u-s – who may have come from Crete; it’s possible. And it also makes reference to the fact that she was married to someone by the name of Crassus. This may be Crassus the Elder; we’re not absolutely sure.
  9. We have to ask ourselves, what is that trophy doing on this particular monument? It’s highly unlikely that it refers to – there are some instances; we do hear about woman trying to raise money for troops and so on and so forth. But we don’t – and even thinking that they might go into battle – but for the most part Roman women did not participate in battle. So it is highly unlikely that this refers to a military encounter that she had. More likely it either refers to a military encounter of her father or her husband, or it may be a more generic reference to victory. We’ve talked about the fact that in the minds of the Romans, the victory in battle, victory in the hunt, often were conflated with victory over death. So it could be a more generic reference, but I would guess it may have something to do more specifically with the conquest of her husband or her father.
  10. These have markings on the top that suggest to us that statues stood on them, at one point. So these were statue bases, probably placed right in front of the entrance to the pyramidal tomb.
  11. Part of the reason for this is that there appears to be a strong heritable basis for happiness.
  12. In fact, lottery winning may be a terrible case where people — where it goes the reverse of what you expect. What happens when you win a lot of money is it often wrenches you away from your family, your work and your friends and leads you to depression and sadness, but even mundane events that would make you happy — that you think would make you happy don’t seem to last.
  13. A lot of research suggests that if your environment is noisy, like they’re doing construction around you, you can’t get used to it.

Video sources

  • Catherine Drennan and Elizabeth Vogel Taylor, Principles of Chemical Science, Fall 2008 (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu (Accessed 23 May 2013). Licence: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
  • Keith E. Wrightson, Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed May 23, 2013). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. Terms of Use
  • Ben Polak, Game Theory  (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed May 23, 2013). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. Terms of Use
  • Diana E. E. Kleiner, Roman Architecture (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed May 23, 2013). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. Terms of Use
  • Paul Bloom, Introduction to Psychology (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed May 23, 2013). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. Terms of Use