Do you weaken your statements without knowing?

Be bold, don’t hedge.

I get that advice from time to time from the Hemingway app, an online writing tool. Nice to try.

The source of inspiration of the app – Ernest Hemingway – wrote novels in a compact, clear style. His sentences are short. He uses everyday words. And few adjectives and adverbs.

The app helps you to write like that as well.

When you enter a text, the app highlights words and sentences that you can improve. Sometimes with a comment.

Like: Be bold, don’t hedge.

For example, the following sentence contains a lot of hedges:

I think aspirin in a relatively high dose can alleviate the symptoms of migraines to some extent.

I think. Relatively. To some extent. Can.

Words like these weaken your claim. Without hedging, you would say:

 Aspirin relieves migraines.

In a scientific education, you learn how to hedge. After all, a scientist’s claims must be correct, careful and nuanced.

But sometimes people hedge out of habit. Hedge words have then become a kind of catchphrases. And that’s a shame, because it makes your text less readable, clear and convincing.

So: be bold (if possible)!