English Skills: 7 Ways of Expressing Uncertainty

Whenever I ask my clients what areas of English they would like to work on and improve during their course, the same answer comes back to me:

“I want to be able to have a social conversation in English with my colleagues/friends”

In other words, the key objective every learner of English has is to be able to use the English they’ve learned (grammar, vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation) in a social context. However, it’s not enough to have all the words and grammar and know how to put the sentences together correctly. You need to know how to use the language in context and in the appropriate way.

This is especially the case for the English language where there are many expressions you can use to mean the same thing. So, in addition to learning words, grammar, pronunciation and so on, an equally important area that language learners need to focus on is in acquiring life skills. These skills could include learning how to express an opinion,how to disagree diplomatically in English, how to ask for information or clarification in a business meeting or in a social context.

Lost and Confused Signpost

I’ve therefore decided to introduce in my blog a series on English Skills. The idea came to me after reading Macmillan Dictionary’s blog. They have introduced their Life Skills series and I think it’s a brilliant idea. I have unashamedly taken their idea and decided to adapt it to my own series. Thank you, Macmillan.

In today’s post, I want to look at the different ways we have in English to express uncertainty.

1. Perhaps/maybe
These two words are used for saying that you are not certain about something, or that something may or may not be true.
Perhaps is more formal and is used in writing while maybe is used more in spoken English

  • I wondered if perhaps he had changed his mind about attending the party.
  • ‘When can you give me an answer?’ ‘I don’t know. Maybe tomorrow.’

perhaos


2. Probably/possibly – 
these two words can confuse even native speakers
probably is used for saying that something is likely to be true, and
possibly that it may be true but you are not certain

  • If house prices are low, it’s probably because there is a lack of demand.
  • ‘Would you consider moving to another country for your work?’ ‘Possibly, I’m not sure.’


3. Apparently

is used when what you are saying is based on what you have heard, not on what you know is true and therefore fact

  • Apparently, she resigned because she had an argument with her boss.
  • There is, apparently, going to be an announcement about the new CEO tomorrow.

4. As far as I know/ as far as I am aware
these two expressions are used when you have partial (incomplete) knowledge of an issue or fact.

  • No one has complained, as far as I know.
  • As far as I am aware, the invitations to the party have all been sent.

 

5. To the best of my knowledge
This phrase is used for saying that you think something is true, but you are not completely certain. This is quite a formal expression

  • To the best of my knowledge, no similar book has been published.


6. Not to my knowledge
This is used for saying that you think something is not true, although you are not completely certain:

  • ‘Has the report been sent yet?’ ‘Not to my knowledge.’


7. I imagine/suppose/guess
These are used when you think something is probably true, but you can’t be sure.“Guess” is more frequently used in American English, although you can hear it in British English, too. “Suppose” is more characteristic of British English and is often used in the negative.

  • I imagine they’ve already left for the airport.
  • It’s difficult, I imagine, to keep the same enthusiasm for the job after 30 years.
  • I suppose she must be delighted about getting the job.
  • I don’t suppose you’d consider staying for another week?
  • I guess he will want to meet all the team members before the conference.

Please do let me know if there are any other expressions that I haven’t included here.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, please share it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you don’t want to miss out on my posts.

 

Source: http://englishwithatwist.com/2014/03/04/english-skills-7-ways-of-expressing-uncertainty/

Quando usar PERHAPS ou MAYBE?

PERHAPS ou MAYBE? As duas significam TALVEZ. Mas, qual a diferença entre elas? Quando usar uma outra outra? Como saber se em um texto você deve usar PERHAPS ou MAYBE? Continue lendo esta dica pois você vai aprender a usar corretamente cada uma dessas palavrinhas.

As palavras PERHAPS e MAYBE, como você bem deve saber, possuem o mesmo significado e, aparentemente, o mesmo uso. Portanto, saber quando usar uma ou outra é uma dúvida mais do que frequente entre estudantes de inglês. Até mesmo estudantes de nível avançado costumam se enrolar com elas.

No entanto, não há necessidade para se enrolar. Afinal, há diferença entre usar PERHAPS ou MAYBE simplesmente não existe. Os dicionários de língua inglesa costumam informar que ambas podem ser usadas aleatoriamente. Ou seja, tanto fez quanto tanto faz usar PERHAPS ou MAYBE em um texto ou discurso.

maybe vs perhaps

O que os dicionários dizem é verdadeiro, mas por alguma razão desconhecida (talvez por questão de gosto e estilo) algumas pessoas dizem que a diferença entre elas está no grau de formalidade. Assim, este pessoal afirma que  PERHAPS é tido como uma palavra mais formal. Logo, deverá aparecer em contextos e situações mais sérias (palestras, artigos, teses, etc.). Por outro lado, a palavra MAYBE é mais informal e, portanto, é a palavra a ser usada ao falar com seus amigos e amigas em ambientes mais descontraídos.

Já tem ainda outros que ressaltam o fato de que PERHAPS é mais usado no inglês britânico e MAYBE, no americano. Enfim cada um tenta dar uma justificativa para a existência de duas palavras. E nós ficamos no meio disso tudo.

O que se sabe mesmo com certeza hoje em dia é que MAYBE é o termo mais usado em praticamente todas as situações. Isso significa que muitos falantes de inglês (seja americano, britânico, canadense, escocês, irlandês, australiano, etc.) não ficarão incomodados se você usar MAYBE ao conversar com eles. Pois, trata-se do termo que eles usam a maior parte do tempo. Se você usar PERHAPS também não terá problemas; afinal, as pessoas entenderão o que você quer dizer.

That’s it! Nada de muito estressante em relação a elas. Você pode usar ou PERHAPS ou MAYBE e tudo vai dar na mesma. Espero que tenha gostado de saber sobre isso. Até a próxima!

 

Fonte: Inglês na Ponta da Língua