In writing many times you will see a statement being made about a particular group of people, and then you will see this immediately followed by the phrase: "in general." What does that mean and why does the writer add that phrase?
Here are some examples:
Unwed relationships Are Inferior to Marriage In General
There is a DIFFERENCE between the outcomes of the children of teen mothers IN GENERAL, as compared to the children of older mothers.
This means that the writer is NOT talking about every single marriage in existence, or the outcome of every single child of teen mothers. The last thing you should do in response to this is to write about your own experience that you feel is a counter example to the statement.
For example, if you see a statement that says: Children do better in school, in general, when raised by both parents. Let's say that your children were raised only by one parent, and they did better in school than some of their peers who were raised by both parents. Should you write a response countering the statement about children performing better when raised by both parents? NO. Why? Because the author NEVER SAID that ALL children raised by both parents perform better in school than ALL children of single parents.
For example, if a statistic says "children raised by both parents, in general, outperform children raised by single parents in school", the children of single parents who got straight A's ARE INCLUDED in that statistic. That's what the "in general" refers to.
It means FOR EXAMPLE that you have two groups of children.
group A group B
children of single mothers children of married parents
their school grades their school grades
You can see there are A students on both sides and D students on both sides. But OVER ALL and IN GENERAL the children of married parents outperformed AS A GROUP the children of single parents AS A GROUP.
gen·er·al·ly [jen-er-uh-lee] Show IPA –adverb 1. usually; commonly; ordinarily: He generally comes home at noon. 2. with respect to the larger part; for the most part: a generally accurate interpretation of the facts. 3. without reference to or disregarding particular persons, things, situations, etc., that may be an exception: generally speaking. —Synonyms 1. See often. —Antonyms 1. seldom. Main Entry: generally Part of Speech: adverb Definition: mainly, in most cases Synonyms: about, all in all, almost always, altogether, approximately, as a rule, broadly, by and large, chiefly, commonly, conventionally, customarily, en masse, extensively, for the most part, habitually, largely, mostly, normally, on average, on the whole, ordinarily, overall, popularly, practically, predominantly, primarily, principally, publicly, regularly, roughly, roundly, thereabouts, typically, universally, usually, widely Antonyms: exactly, particularly, rarely, seldom, specifically general of, pertaining to, or true of such persons or things in the main, with possible exceptions; common to most; prevalent; usual: the general mood of the people. not limited to one class, field, product, service, etc.; miscellaneous: the general public; general science. considering or dealing with overall characteristics, universal aspects, or important elements, esp. without considering all details or specific aspects: general instructions; a general description; a general resemblance one to another. not specific or definite: I could give them only a general idea of what was going on.