Making Generalizations in English

Hi English learners. Welcome to a new lesson. We will look at the words and phrases you can use for making generalizations in English

First, let’s understand what generalization is.  When you make a statement which can be applied broadly to most but not all people or things mentioned, you generalize; for example, you can say that most men are better drivers than women. In this case, we used the word most to generalize rather than state a fact; it is more polite to generalize than say that men are better drivers than women as it can be offensive towards women. It also leaves space for other people’s opinions. 

In today’s lesson, we will look at different phrases you can use for making generalizations:

  • Generally/broadly speaking
  • Tend to
  • Typically
  • On the whole
  • All things considered
  • Most of the time
  • In the main
  • By and large
  • For the most part
  • To a large/great extent

The English teachers at My Lingua Academy are happy to help you improve your English. You can attend our individual and group private lessons to learn English for free with our blog posts where you will find loads of grammar and vocabulary lessons, as well as exercises and quizzes. 

Generally/broadly speaking

Meaning: use the phrase to say that what you mean is true in most cases.

  • Generally speaking, the standard of living is better than it used to be before the war.
  • Broadly speaking, people who have dogs have more friends than people who have pet cats.

Making generalizations in English

Tend to

Meaning: to be likely to do something; be prone to or have a habit of doing it.

  • Buses in the city centre tend to be pretty crowded during the rush hour.
  • Most people tend to go to bed earlier on weekdays.


Meaning: usually.

  • Food in hospitals is typically lean and healthy.
  • Sara typically gets 10 emails a day.

On the whole

Meaning: use the phrase to say that something is generally true.

  • On the whole, people are more likely to eat meat than to be vegetarians.
  • It isn’t easy working with children, but on the whole, it brings a lot of pleasure.

All things considered

Meaning: when all positive and negative things about something are taken into account.

  • All things considered, exercising is more important than what you eat when trying to lose weight.
  • Human life is too short to worry about stupid things, all things considered.

Making generalizations in English

Most of the time

Meaning: ninety per cent of the time, in most cases.

  • Racing pigeons return home most of the time.
  • Most of the time, Monica had a cheerful view of life.

In the main

Meaning: generally.

  • In the main, public response to the new law was positive.
  • In the main, I agree with you.

By and large

Meaning: use the phrase to say that something is generally true.

  • By and large, Martin was content with his job.
  • People in the village, by and large, didn’t support the idea of the motor race passing through the village.

For the most part

Meaning: use the phrase to say that something is true most of the time.

  • The citizens liked the new mayor for the most part.
  • For the most part, men and women working for the company were well-educated.

To a large/great extent

Meaning: generally, mainly.

  • It was, to a large extent, a very good offer.
  • I think that accountants are, to a great extent, more capable of multitasking than other people.

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Making generalizations
Making generalizations

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