Rhetorical Impact through Hedging Devices in the ‘Results and Discussion’ Part of a Civil Engineering Research Article

Minoo Khamesian


It is common knowledge that hedging devices as a rhetorical technique common in all persuasive writing are considerably important in scientific discourse, for they are tools which facilitate presenting claims or arguments in a polite, acceptable and respectful manner. In addition, they are discoursal resources available to a scientific writer’s propositions to express uncertainty, skepticism, and open-mindedness.

Research articles are an important means of communication between different members of a discourse community, and will be convincing to a certain extent only when authors are able to employ rhetorical conventions, such as hedging devices, persuasively. However, hedging is a problematic aspect in EAP learning since rarely are the learners able to hedge their statements appropriately, engineering students not being an exception.

Therefore, this article tends to linguistically analyze the function of rhetorical impact of using hedging devices in the results and discussion part of a civil engineering research article published in the Asian Journal of Civil Engineering (Building & Housing) to conclude that a greater and more systematic attention should be given to hedging devices considering their importance in EAP. The implication is that students, especially the Non Native English Speakers, be taught how to recognize and effectively use hedging devices in their writing as they do not seem to be familiar with hedges and therefore find it particularly difficult to hedge their statements appropriately.

Keywords: hedging devices, discourse community, linguostylistic analysis, Civil Engineering Research Articles

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