In Science By Victoria

Uncertain language — vague language

Let’s think a little bit. Each of us there are situations when talking about something, we forget a name or a name. And we’re not trying at this moment to recall that word can not. And there are times when we want to describe a person, such a thing, but do not know how it is actually called. And what can we say about the time or some measurements … all the time: «Yes, almost two. There are about ten centimeters. I think this box weighs about twenty kilos «, etc. Familiar situation? I’m sure yes. But we do not pay attention to it, because we communicate in their native language and used to everything. And if you look closely, our speech just full of all sorts of words that can be called imprecise, vague, ambiguous, uncertain.

It is translated as an adjective vague. After all, English is no exception. Speakers of this language just like people sometimes express vague and inaccurate. Therefore, learning English, should pay special attention on such details and features the use of vague language in it. I do not think anyone would argue that you happen to use vague language in the English colloquial speech. When we apply this uncertain language? Usually in situations where someone is unable or unwilling to give precise information about anyone or anything. A person may think that now it is inappropriate to say, or it’s not necessary. It is likely, he simply forgot it was a word that meant, and perhaps did not even know the name of an object. That is what is uncertain language:

I have a vague idea where it is. — I know about where it is. (that is, I know the whole, for example, the area, but have no idea exactly where it is)

Well, the concept of «indefinite language» we understand. In fact, this is very common in the vocabulary of spoken language. Sometimes, carriers are trying to insert language such vague, imprecise words not only where it is necessary, but where this is not necessary. Using the language of indefinite useful in situations where a person does not want to make any clear, precise statements and tries to soften the meaning of the words spoken to them. For example, rather than say It’s wrong («It is not right») says That is not completely correct («It is not quite true»).

Please note that knowledge of the language is a very indefinite significant addition to your knowledge. After the tone, meaning, goodwill of the information that you say, maybe how to help you, and cause discomfort. It is important to handle the concepts of indefinite language in international business and international relations in general. After all, the nation is different, and each language has its own peculiarities. For example, the British believe the Germans too straight, because the percentage of use of imprecise words they are very small. And the latter, in turn, refer to the English, as people indecisive, careless. But these features are not unique to business partners, and their language. What words and phrases related to the uncertain language?

Thing (s)

It seems that the word can replace one and all in English. When it is used more often? Translation of the word thing is: a thing, an object, a story, a circumstance that something is something, etc.

  1. When people talk about any actions, events, and ideas:
  2. I can not believe Nick would say such a thing (= idea)! — I can not believe that Nick could say that!

    The main thing (= fact) about Jane is that she likes to be a leader. — But the main thing is that Jane loves to be the leader.

    It’s the worst thing you could have done. — It’s the worst thing you could do.

  3. When people talk about any subject that they know, but the name is forgotten at the time of the conversation, or simply do not want to call it. This refers to the countable objects. Popular phrases: and things, or something like that.
  4. How do I switch this thing off? — How do I turn this off?

    What’s that thing doing in the house? — And what makes this item in the house?

    There is useful knowledge of these words: thingummy — thingy, whatever his name; whatsisname / whatsername — as his (her) there; whatsit — this thing.

  5. When people talk about the situation in general:
  6. How are things at work? — How is work going?

  7. When people talk about a person or an animal, while expressing his feelings towards them:

You look tired, poor thing! — You look tired, poor thing!


This word almost indefinite language is not far behind from the previous frequency of use. Very Americans love it, and replace them all you can. Usually we use stuff, talking about uncountable nouns (countable or group) when there is no need for accurate information on this subject. Generally speaking, both are clear about what is at stake. Translation of the word stuff here as a material substance, things, stuff, product, etc. are Popular phrases: and stuff like that, or stuff like that.

There is some sticky stuff (= chewing gum) on the carpet. — On the carpet something sticky.

Can I leave my stuff (= different items of clothes) at your house? — I can not leave your house in your things?

green stuff (= herbs) — green

(A) sort of

And this phrase, translated as «kind of, like, in general,» is used to describe something when you can not give a more accurate and clear description, for example, because it is unable to find a suitable word.

People of that sort. — This kind of people.

A sort of a novel. — Something like a novel.

It’s a sort of a pale orange colour. — Some colors such as pale orange.

What sort of man is he? — What kind of person he is?

A bit

No less popular and the word a bit — a little bit. All that relates to «a little, and a little bit», can be transmitted by means of the word that is very widely used in everyday speech.

I’m a bit late. — I’m a little late.

Wait a bit. — Wait a little.


This word, which means «approximately» is more formal than its synonyms: about, almost, nearly, roughly. This vocabulary we need, when we talk about time, quantity, distance, etc. There are suffix ish, having the same effect:

We’ll start at sevenish. — Let’s start about seven.

The college has approximately 700 students. — The college of about 700 students.

It’s about five kilometers to the house. — The house is about five kilometers.

It’s about (almost, nearly) half past two now. — Now almost half of the third.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>