Hedging is a functional strategy that uses a word or phrase to avoid having to make a definite statement or commitment. Hedge words may also sometimes be used as fillers. Hedging is considered "correct" when writing up studies for the APA, for example, but the media tend to use overuse it.
Tarja Nikula describes it as a strategy used by speakers to mitigate and soften their utterances.
Typical hedge words
Typical hedge phrases
- I don't remember
- I'm not sure
- I think
- just about
- More or less
- Hale, Sandra Beatriz. The Discourse of Court Interpreting: Discourse Practices of the Law, the Witness, and the Interpreter. John Benjamins Publishing (2004) at Google Books. Retrieved 8th October 2012.
- Szuchman, Lenore T. Writing With Style: APA Style Made Easy. Cengage Learning (2008) at Google Books. Retrieved 8th October 2012.
- Shoup, K. and Loberger, G. Webster's New World English Grammar Handbook. John Wiley & Sons (2009) at Google Books. Retrieved 8th October 2012.
- Nikula, T. "Interlanguage view on hedging" in Hedging and Discourse: Approaches to the Analysis of a Pragmatic Phenomenon in Academic Texts. De Gruyer (1997) at Google Books. Retrieved 8th October 2012.