Use the word "general" for things that aren’t specific or for situations when there aren’t many details. When something is general, the category, type, or idea is broad and wide.

  • You get the general idea, don’t you?
  • The students were given some general information about the topic but nothing in detail.
  • The general impression of the event was that it was unorganized.
  • In general, the design of the car is boring, so we have to change the design and make it more interesting.

The adverb form for this word is "generally."

  • The person who owns this company is generally here two or three times a week. (The word "generally" is similar to "usually.")
  • Generally speaking, the people who come to this website are interested in improving their English grammar skills. ("Generally speaking" is used when making a general statement about a situation.)
  • She generally focuses her attention on her career to the exclusion of everything else.

The word "generalization" is a noun:

  • The teacher made a generalization about the students. As a result, there were offended.
  • If you want to communicate effectively, it’s important to focus on important details and avoid generalizations.
  • That’s just a generalization. He doesn’t have specific knowledge about the issue.

Note: The word "general" is also used as a noun. It’s the highest rank a person can achieve in the U.S. military.

generalHe’s a General in the Air Force.

Click here to learn more words.

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This page was first published on March 1, 2013. It was updated on February 8, 2017.