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In-Depth Tips from Dr English

doceng3Dr English is the resident expert in language and communication training at Workplace English Training E-Platform (WETE). The informative and often in-depth articles below will help more advanced learners to understand and improve various aspects of their English, especially the English they need for work. You can read Dr English's tips on your PC, laptop or mobile device. These articles are only available for members of WETE. If you would like to subscribe and receive email notifications of future postings, please subscribe by clicking the Newsletter link above.

Report Writing: Tentative Conclusions

31 May 2023

reporting1Often, writers may not wish to express a conclusion with complete certainty. Rather, they may want to emphasise that the conclusion has been reached on the basis of their findings only.

Therefore, it is often a good idea to use language which is tentative and expresses some degree of doubt. Look at the following examples of tentative conclusions. The phrases in bold allow the reader to express a degree of uncertainty.


The survey findings indicate that TV Station A is more popular than TV Station B.

There are other ways of modifying the certainty of a conclusive statement. For example:


It appears/seems that TV Station A is more popular than TV Station B.


It may be concluded that TV station A is more popular than TV Station B.


We can conclude that TV Station A is more popular than TV Station B.

Sometimes the report writer may wish to draw attention to the doubts he has about the conclusions he makes, for example:


The findings suggest that the accident was caused by the carelessness of the driver rather than by brake failure.


Recommendations use the modal verb should. They are often signaled by an introductory phrase as in:

I (would) / (would like to) recommend that we introduce a new mailing system.

I (would)/(would like to) recommend introducing a new mailing system.

The company should introduce a new mailing system.

A new mailing system should be introduced.


Suggestions use the modal verb could. They are not as strong as recommendations. Alternative ways of expressing a suggestion are:

In future, it is felt that mail could also be collected on Fridays.

It is suggested that mail is/be also collected on Fridays.

I suggest that we also collect mail on Fridays

I (would) / (would like to) suggest that mail is connected on Fridays.


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