Top 10 Common Generalizations

A generalization is a broad statement about a group of people or things. It almost always uses the following key words: sometimes, always, never, most, many, all, generally. This article intends to highlight 10 examples to help you better understand this term.


1. Begging the question:

This usually is mistaken for raise the question. The common example of this is to ask a husband if they stopped beating their wife. The assumption is that the husband is beating the wife.


2. I’ve been waiting forever:

How many of us have heard this generalization being made. Many people state this- have never actually been waiting more than 10 minutes. Some of them run out of patience and make generalizations that would make the other person feel horrible. Be truthful and honest, never lie.


3. There are so many things to name:

I was sitting in on a meeting between the principal and the parent. As a mediator, I tried to comprehend the parents’ concerns. The principal asked the parent to state her concerns, which the principal would write down. The parent kept saying that there are too many things to name. If you have the principal listening, why do you not name them? Generalizations such as these will never help you out of the situation.


4. Ad Hominem:

This is one common fallacy that has a claim or argument rejected based on criteria irrelevant to the point being made. Let’s say a religious person is against gay marriages. The respondent says that he expected that opinion because the claimant was religious. Being religious is irrelevant to the debate. One can be religious and still be gay.


5. Slippery Slope:

Common slippery generalizations are made when individuals are treated as a homogeneous group. Generalizations are simply made to win a debate and to prove the opponent wrong.


6. Hasty Generalization:

The generalization here is simple. Let’s say there are 4 blonde girls in the room, each of them love wine. The generalization here is that all blondes love wine. Is that true for all the cases, no.


7. Appeal to probability:

Here one makes a rash argument that because something happens; it was only inevitable to happen. An example of this: Mozart was a genius and he died poor. Since I am a poor composer, I am also a genius. Again this is a big assumption and other values should be considered before making this assumption.


8. Ad Ignorantiam:

The argument is from ignorance. It states that a specific belief is true because we don’t know it is not true. UFOs are a perfect example. Because they are unknown, they are alien spaceships.


9. Argument from authority:

The perfect is example is to think of someone as having specialization over a subject. That person makes a claim about the subject he specializes in. One assumes that because of this, the claim is true.


10. Argument from final consequence:

This is based on the reversal of cause and effect. The cause is caused by the effect. Christians believe that evolution is wrong because if true it would lead to immorality.


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One Response

  1. Halidom

    Number 10 is interesting. In the USA some people don’t believe in climate change because God told Noah he would never destroy the world again. I don’t know if the Muslim people are the same as they believe in Noah. I don’t know of any part of evolution that predicts immortality.


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