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Unsupported Generalizations

Avoid Absolute Words

Unsupported Generalizations

“Check out my thesis statement: ‘Everyone agrees that the school day should be shortened.’”

“How were you able to survey everyone? You never asked me.”

“Okay, I’ll ask you now. What do you think?”

“I’d suggest you re-write your thesis and avoid using unsupported generalizations.”

Definition and Examples

A generalization is a statement which applies to most all cases and to most all times. When writers combine specific points of an essay into a broader focus, this is known as a making a generalization. An unsupported generalization is a broad statement, which cannot be concluded from the essay evidence or details. Unsupported Generalization Example: All Americans support a strong national defense. Supported Generalization Example: The plan provides three workable ideas to solve the problem of plastic waste.

Read the rules.

  • Don’t include generalizations in the essay thesis statement and body paragraphs.
  • Writers can develop generalizations and include these in the essay conclusion, but generalizations must be supported by specific evidence and details of the body paragraphs. Never include unsupported generalizations.
  • Avoid absolute words, such as nothing, everything, none, all, everyone, definite(ly), worst, best, never, always

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the generalizations.

  1. Over half of the boys left the assembly early, but the girls liked the presentation.
  2. Mexican food is so spicy, but not the way my father cooks.
  3. The problem is that young people just do not vote, and so seniors have more say in determining who gets elected. Only 28% of under age 30 Americans voted in the last election.
  4. The students all want more electives; however, the school does not have enough teachers.
  5. Boys tend to like video gaming more than girls, but the number of girls who play is increasing.

Revise the intentional fragment.

Writers should always avoid using unsupported generalizations.

Answers

  1. Over half of the boys left the assembly early, but [the girls liked the presentation.]
  2. [Mexican food is so spicy], but not the way my father cooks.
  3. The problem is that [young people just do not vote], and so [seniors have more say in determining who gets elected]. Only 28% of under age 30 Americans voted in the last election.
  4. [The students all want more electives]; however, the school does not have enough teachers.
  5. [Boys tend to like video gaming more than girls], but the number of girls who play is increasing.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

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