Predicting that X will probably change Y

The IA-CEPA is predicted to stabilise diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Predicting a change that does not take an object

If you want to say something will change, without mentioning the thing that will be affected by the change (the object of the change), then the writer of our opening example is using the right structure: Continue reading

Why these and not those?

These days a lot of people like to use smartphones and tablets. Those are popular because they can connect to the Internet.

OK so our writer is using those as a substitute for smartphones and tablets. However, it would have been better to use these: Continue reading

Referring to sources using substitution

It has been argued that expenditure needed for applying a circular economy tends to be high (Kirchher et al., 2017). However, their claim is easy to counter given the many economic benefits offered by a circular economy.

This writer has used their as a substitute for a source – Kircher et al. However, since the source is in brackets and has not yet appeared in the body of the text, we have to assume that the reader has not yet seen it! Only use a pronoun as a substitute if the noun you are substituting has already been mentioned in the body of the text: Continue reading

As he says that..

As Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

OK so there is a group of reporting verbs that may be followed by that (+ independent clause), while there are others that don’t work with that:

Reporting verbs with ‘that’

  • Henderson (2013) writes that the double quantum matrix is a myth.
  • In 2015 it was discovered by Smith that elephants are more afraid of snakes than mice.
  • The findings of Jones et al. (2017) suggest that music education can lead to more general improvements in academic ability.

Reporting verbs without ‘that’

  • Henderson (2013) describes the double quantum matrix as a myth.
  • In his 2015 study of elephants, Smith identified a discrepancy between fear of mice and fear of snakes.
  • Jones’ research (2017) highlighted improvements in academic ability following music study.

As + that (?!)

This third category simply does not exist! As does not belong with that, so in our opening example we need either:

  • Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

OR..

  • As Ballard (2017) states, nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

Indonesian flag But NEVER:

  • As Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

No need for ‘necessity’

It is a necessity of Christian churches to address post-colonial issues in their ministerial aspects.

This was a special request from subscriber and special friend Elia who is unsure about his use of the word ‘necessity’. Like many Indonesians he is not confident when it comes to expressing subtle degrees of obligation, the Indonesian equivalents for which are often less subtle than their English counterparts. Continue reading

Hedging devices in academic writing

In the world of banking it is possible to invest money in a so-called hedge fund. This kind of investment allows you to invest your money without being 100% certain about making a profit, even though you are quietly confident that you will.

In the world of language we can do something similar. We can use hedging devices in writing to show that we are ‘confidently uncertain’ about our claims.

Let’s take a bold claim and look at how we might use hedging devices to ‘soften’ it to show that we are uncertain but confident. Compare the following texts. Continue reading

Jumbled hedges

Academic writers make frequent use of ‘hedges’ – phrases that change the strength of their claims so as to make them more acceptable to other academics. A claim can be made stronger or weaker by adding adjectives and adverbs, by changing verbs, or by adding lengthy ‘hedging’ phrases.

The activity below includes 10 sentences that feature hedging. Try to reconstruct them and see if you can identify which words and phrases constitute ‘hedging’!

(Answer key below!) Continue reading

Articles and sentient animals

New Zealand now recognises all animals as sentient beings!

Discuss with a friend.. If animals are sentient beings (they can think and feel pretty much like humans can), how does this affect our attitude to:

  • animals as food
  • scientific experimentation involving animals (vivisection)
  • animals in sport and entertainment

After your discussion, read the following text and select articles as appropriate. Continue reading