understanding the Uses of Stance Adverbs
STANCE ADVERBS (such as arguably, assuredly, undoubtedly, probably, possibly, apparently, typically, roughly, etc.) constitute a special category of act-related adverbs that typically express the attitude of the speaker/writer toward the form or content of the message.
Stance adverbs express the speaker or writer’s point of view or judgment in relation to the particular circumstances associated with the content of a clause. In the sentences below, the stance adverbs foolishly and regrettably indicate the speaker or writer’s attitude about the actions described in the sentences.
- Allen foolishly tried to have John fired.
- He regrettably chose to ignore my advice.
Stance adverbs can indicate a degree of certainty, as is the case in this example:
- He will undoubtedly experience some feelings of remorse when he hears the bad news about his old friend.
Common examples of stance adverbs of certainty include: arguably, assuredly, decidedly, definitely, incontestably, and incontrovertibly.
Stance adverbs can also indicate doubt that the speaker or writer has about the content of a clause, as shown below:
- It is probably not as luxurious as the car he owned.
Examples of doubt-stance adverbs that express a degree of doubt include conceivably, imaginably, maybe, perhaps, and possibly.
A number of stance adverbs such as allegedly, apparently, purportedly, and reportedly are used in academic reports and in journalism to indicate that something is supported by evidence while at the same time taking an objective stance toward that evidence or declining to reveal its source, as the examples below illustrate. Survey.
- The king reportedly refused to eat his asparagus.
- The request for discretionary spending by the president will apparently exceed what Congress had anticipated.
Stance adverbs such as generally/in general, largely, mainly/in the main, and typically limit the generality of a proposition. Survey the following examples, as they illustrate this point.
- Young children typically utter their first words near their first birthday.
- New assistant professors generally have a teaching load of two courses per semester.
A small number of stance adverbs, such as infact, for a fact, really, and truly, express the idea that a proposition reflects reality, as is the case in this example:
- In fact, there is no scientific evidence that any one race is superior to any other.
Some phrases such as in our opinion, in our view, and from our perspective, are considered stance adverbs because they indicate that a proposition is true or accurate in the opinion of the speaker or writer. Survey the example below.
- In our view, his proposal is a step in the wrong direction.
Stance adverbs such as sort of, kind of, and roughly are referred to as hedges because they express a degree of imprecision and allow the speaker to avoid making a definitive statement. Survey the following sentences.
- I ain’t seen this series. I just sort of remember from the last series.
→ The hedge in this sentence comes from a conversation.
- The ratio of clerks to total employees in the same manufacturing industries roughly averages 9 percent.
→ In this sentence, the hedge comes from an academic text.