Academic Word List- Expressing Certainty and Uncertainty

Level: Advanced

Topic: Profession, work or study

Grammar Topic: Vocabulary

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Type: Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan Text

Academic Word List- Expressing Certainty and Uncertainty
Do the AWL words and phrases below express certainty or uncertainty? Label the rows 
with these three signs:
+ = No doubt (positive)
- = No doubt (negative)
? = Doubt
They are arranged into lines where all three are the same type, so you don’t need to check 
every single one. 

apparent/ apparently

approximate/ approximately

in the area of…

depends on the context

contradictory

controversial

comprehensive

conclusively

confirmed

illogical

manipulated results

abnormal results

debatable

diversity of opinion

first draft

assuredly

authoritative/ an authority on…

clearly

assumed to be

under some circumstances 

attributed to…

conceivable/ conceivably

can conceive (of)…

there is conflict about…

conforms fully to…

full consensus about…

convincing

we are ignorant of…

misinterpreted

unjustified

has been established by…

evident/ self-evident

expert opinion

being (re)formulated

on shaky foundations

hypothetical

interpretation

under investigation

he maintains that…

the vast majority believes…

under mediation

a minority believe…

fully matches the criteria

definitive

demonstrable

undeniable

documented/ well documented

emphatic/ emphatically

a notion

it occurs to me that…

the odds are that…

variable outcomes

the perception is that…

one perspective on…

inherent/ inherently

objective

obvious/ obviously

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

a portion of…

potentially

imprecise

unpredictable

predict/ prediction

preliminary findings

inconceivable/ inconceivably

erroneous/ erroneously

unfounded

presume/ presumption

in principle

a prospective…

being pursued

within the range of…

being refined

we can be positive that…

precise

predictable

one scenario is that..

scope for disagreement

 

being revised

a section of society believes...

simulation

so-called

we can reject…

irrelevant

unreliable

unstable/ instability

the present status is...

a submission

the target is...

theoretically

traditionally

being transformed

in a transition stage

he has undertaken to...

secure in the knowledge that...

straightforward

ultimately,...

results can vary

he had a vision of...

virtually

unsustainable

unobtainable

invalid

the policy is to…

estimated/ estimation

under evaluation

on firm foundations

guaranteed

inevitable/ inevitably

in the region of…

being researched

invariable

has been resolved

All the vocabulary is from the Academic Word List. Ask about any that you don’t 
understand. 

Do you know any other words and phrases (for example ones not on the AWL) with similar 
meanings?

Test each other in pairs, with one person reading out examples and the other person 
guessing “doubt” or “no doubt”. 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013