In everyday language, a generalization is defined as a broad statement or an idea that is applied to a group of people or things. Often, generalizations are not entirely true, because there are usually examples of individuals or situations wherein the generalization does not apply. In this respect, generalizations can be similar to stereotypes in that they are sometimes offensive.
Statements of Generalization
- All parents try to make life difficult for their children.
- Every salesman lies to make more money on a sale.
- Homework is very easy.
- Homework is very hard.
- The United States is colder than Europe.
- Women all want to have large families.
- Men are all afraid of commitment.
- The best way to make new friends is to just start talking to people.
- Nobody really believes that the Earth is flat.
- Most politicians are greedy and manipulative.
- No American thinks staying in Iraq is the best solution.
- Cats are meaner than dogs.
- Dogs are smarter than cats.
- Most people find church boring.
- Everyone likes a little bit of excitement and variety in their life.
- Only a fool would believe what that commercial says.
- Learning to drive isn’t difficult.
- College is the only way a person can be properly educated.
- Everyone who goes to college is an elitist.
- Rich people are greedy.
- Poor people are lazy.
- Men don’t enjoy window shopping.
- Everyone is a cynic these days.
- No one could complete a marathon without the appropriate training.
- It’s impossible for children to appreciate art.
- Children should be seen and not heard.
- If you believe you can do it, you will always succeed.
- All success is brought about by good luck.
- Gentlemen with his kind of upbringing are very trustworthy.
- No one is born evil.
- Everybody loves a trip to the theme park over the summer.
- Police officers are corrupt.
- Police officers are heroes.
- Girls don’t enjoy playing with cars the way boys do.
- Boys don't enjoy playing with dolls the way girls do.
- The only way to learn another language is to visit the country where it is spoken.
- It’s never a good idea to drink coffee after noon.
- To be an author, you need to have a large vocabulary.
- Only dead fish go with the flow.
- All criminals have troubled backgrounds.
- All criminals can be rehabilitated.
- Nobody truly thinks the world is going to end.
- Everyone thrives on drama.
- Photographers can’t earn very much money in this economy.
- A long commute to work makes a person much less productive.
- Cooking isn’t difficult; all you need are the right ingredients.
- Anyone can learn to cook if they only try.
- Everyone loves a delivery of flowers and a box of chocolates.
- All women want men to be romantic.
- Your family will always be there for you.
- Friends are people who will never let you down, no matter what.
- Men all want the same thing – money, power, and fame.
- Football players are arrogant, cocky people.
- Nerdy kids are all going to grow up to be rich.
- Pretty people are always stuck up.
- Overweight people always overeat.
- The customer is always right.
These are just a few of the many examples of generalizations that exist. As you can see, a generalization is a statement that is often true, but not completely true in all cases. Next time you find yourself making an overly broad statement about a topic or a group of people, stop and think about whether you are making a generalization yourself and if you are sure that's what you want to do.
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Examples of Generalization
By YourDictionaryIn everyday language, a generalization is defined as a broad statement or an idea that is applied to a group of people or things. Often, generalizations are not entirely true, because there are usually examples of individuals or situations wherein the generalization does not apply. In this respect, generalizations can be similar to stereotypes in that they are sometimes offensive.
- when it can be discussed in great detail in less than the required size of your assignment
- when it is hard to research because there is so little information
For example, if, during your overview research, you found only 3 or 4 items relevant to your topic, it is too narrow.
HINT: sometimes, this is because the topic is too current.
When is a topic just right?
- when you can find enough information to examine the subject in detail
- when you can create an interesting and informative project that meet the requirements of your assignment.
What do I do if I can't decide?
- when you can't decide whether a topic is too narrow or too broad ASK A LIBRARIAN to help you find the subject headings for your topic.
- If your topic has subject headings with lots of titles attached to them, then your topic is too broad,
- If your topic has subject headings with lots of subdivisions, then your topic is too broad
- If your topic has very few subject headings and very few titles attached to them, then your topic is probably too narrow.
- If your topic has very few subject headings with few or no subdivisions, then your topic is probably too narrow.