Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 78 | Grammar | Heading with be, can, could

When speaking in an academic context, it is common to avoid making strong statements. This enables the speaker to discuss different ideas without committing to any particular theory.

Heading with Be

When hedging with be, use adverbs to show the degree of certainty of the statement.

certainly/definitely clearly/probably possibly perhaps


It is clearly true that….

It is probably

It is perhaps

Heading with can/could

It can be said that

It could be argued that

“It” is often used as the subject in hedging sentences, referring to the later clause. The passive voice is also often used. Both these factors make the sentence seem more objective.

It could be said that group work is the most popular way to work.

Addtional Task

Rewrite these sentences using hedging language.

  1. It is better to collaborate with others.
  2. Overall, having too many managers is a risk.
  3. This positive view of mavericks is not generally applicable.
  4. What we learn from them isn’t applicable to most situations.
  5. Participation in teams can lead to intragroup conflict.


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