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The counterpart of transitivity, modality refers to comment and attitude in language, and the degree to which a speaker or writer is committed to the claim s/he is making. Modality is usually indicated via the use of modal verbs (such as may, could, should, will, must), their negations (may not, couldn't, shouldn't, will not and must not) or through adverbs (certainly). A regular feature of more ‘opinionated’ genres of journalism such as the editorial, the letter and the op/ed page, modality may be expressed in two principal forms: truth modality; and obligation modality. Truth modality varies along a scale of options from the absolutely categorical (‘This war will be stopped if the people intervene in the political process’) through to varying degrees of hedging (‘We ...

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