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# Making Generalizations

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Making Generalizations
And no, it has nothing to do with GENERALS… Ms. Walsh

What is a generalization?
A generalization is a broad statement about what a group of people or things have in common. For example, using what you know and have observed, you could generalize by saying: “Most people in the United States greet each other with a handshake.”

There are “Good” and “Bad” Generalizations….
You could say:“Most people in the United States greet each other with a handshake.” That’s because generally, speaking…that is the customary greeting in America and it is supported by fact. You should NOT say: “All people in the United States greet each other with a handshake.” Saying “ALL” means everybody and that is unlikely to be true. You should NOT say: “Most people in the world greet each other with a handshake.” People from all over the world greet each other in different ways so this statement wouldn’t be true.

“Clue words” to help find generalizations:
All Always Never Most Many Sometimes Generally

Be careful… Be careful when using the words “ALL”, “NO”, “NONE”, “EVERYONE”, “NOBODY”, “ALWAYS”, “NEVER” etc. These are clue words that generally show “bad generalizations.” Always and never are very strong words. “I always do my chores” gives no room for error. Instead, say: “Most of the time, I do my chores.”

Safe or Valid Generalizations:
Valid means true. Supported by facts Uses logic and reasoning Proven with several examples

Faulty Generalizations
Faulty means false. Not supported by facts Watch for the key words: none, all, always, never, everyone, nobody Just one exception can prove a generalization false.

Chocolate is everyone’s favorite dessert.
What is wrong with this generalization? How could you make it a valid generalization?

Good or Bad Generalization?
High school students love sports and movies. Teenagers always dress in sloppy, baggy clothes. Children in large families don’t get enough attention from their parents. Russians hate America and French citizens are rude. Many people love tacos!

Remember: Generalizations make broad statements about a something.
Some are valid, others are faulty. Valid generalizations are supported by facts, examples, and logical thinking. Watch out for words like all or never.

Your turn… 1. Everyone stand up Everyone sit down. In order to get the whole class to stand up, the teacher doesn’t have to call each person’s name. She uses a “general statement” like “Everybody stand up.” 1. All the girls stand up. 2. Two boys stand up. “Most of the people standing are girls.” This is an easier way than saying “All the people standing are girls except for a couple that are boys.”….Saying “most” makes the statement a generalization.

Your Turn… On a piece of white-lined paper, work with a partner to come up with two “bad” or faulty generalizations and two “good” or valid generalizations.

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