Epistemic Modality and Projection in Argumentative Writing: A Corpus-driven Comparison of Chinese English Majors and Native English Speakers


  • Demei Yang Southwest Jiaotong University
  • Xiangmin Zeng Southwest Jiaotong University




projection, epistemic modality, argumentative writing, second language learner


In academic writings, writers are supposed to properly express the degree of certainty and doubt. Especially in the argumentative text, writers are required to give appropriate arguments and project previous theories or ideas. Epistemic modality and projection are concerned with how writers express their degree of certainty and doubt, which is important for a qualified argumentative text writer. Through comparison of 30 pieces of argumentative essays respectively from Chinese English majors and native English speakers of undergraduate level, this study finds that Chinese English majors rely more on a narrower and imbalanced epistemic devices and projecting verbs in their writings. Therefore, it’s imperative for Chinese English majors to expand their vocabulary and improve their English proficiency.

Author Biographies

Demei Yang, Southwest Jiaotong University

School of Foreign Languages

Xiangmin Zeng, Southwest Jiaotong University

School of Foreign Languages


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