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

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.

Philosophers on work

Why do we work? Do we work for money, for success, to define ourselves in the world, or for some other reason?

First of all discuss the following statements with a friend and see if you agree.

  • If you don’t work then you are not truly human.
  • Work keeps us away from more important activities.
  • Work is a means to fulfill personal ambitions.
  • Work conflicts with our human inclination to relax and have a good time.

Now read what the philospophers have to say and tell us in the comments which one(s) you agree (or disagree) with! 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

Throw food (away)

Since there are many starving people in the world, it is better not to throw food.

The featured image for this post shows a man retrieving a pizza from a roof. This is how it got there:

Throwing pizza

Obviously the man doesn’t want to eat the pizza. However, most people in that situation would either give it someone else or throw it away:

Pizza in bin

So that’s two different ways to get rid of a pizza in English, each using a slightly different verb:

  1. If I throw food I send it flying through the air, often without too much thought for where it’s going to land.
  2. A straightforward verb – throw (Indonesian flag lempar).
  1. If I throw food away, I dispose of it in a place designed for waste collection – a dustbin, for example.
  2. A phrasal verb that includes a preposition – throw away (Indonesian flag buang). As with many phrasal verbs, the preposition can move, and so I can throw away food, or I can throw food away

If you’re talking about people starving in the world, it’s more normal to use the second of these meanings!

  • Since there are many starving people in the world, it is better not to throw away food.

The art of which?

The arts perhaps bring balance and harmony which the arts are not just what you see but what you make others see.

This is potentially sophisticated. You need:

  • The arts perhaps bring balance and harmony in which the arts are not just what you see but what you make others see.

OK, so what’s happening here? Well we have..

independent clause in which independent clause
The arts perhaps bring balance and harmony in which the arts are not just what you see but what you make others see.

But notice that the second independent clause describes the thing mentioned in the rheme of the first independent clause (balance and harmony).

Actually you can also use according to which:

  • The arts perhaps bring balance and harmony according to which the arts are not just what you see but what you make others see.

Hmm OK so let me see if I can create my own example following the same 3 elements. (Just let me roll up my sleeves. Ahem.) OK here goes..

  • Language acquisition is a gradual process in which students struggle to master the grammatical and phonological rules of a new language.
  • Language acquisition is a gradual process according to which students struggle to master the grammatical and phonological rules of a new language.

OK. Now your turn! Comments below this post, please!