Problem of Over-generalization in General Paper

“Women are always subservient to men.”

“Everyone uses Instagram nowadays.”

These statements are glaring examples of over-generalization that are often too frequent in students’ essays.

What is wrong with these statements?

Well, to say that these statements are accurate would be akin to committing a crime for General Paper J First of all, are there exceptions to these statements? Could we find instances in which women are not subservient to men or cases where people do not use Instagram? I am sure we can.

For instance, we could say that the illiterate, groups of the elderly, and some poor people do not have access to technology and hence they are unable to access Instagram at all. Also, I am sure women are not necessarily lower in status or even subjugated to men in all instances. Women may have more power and influence in female-dominated domains such as education, nursing etc.

What is over-generalization?

To put very simply, generalization is the idea that if A > B, and that B > C, A must be greater than C.

A case in point: Peter likes to eat curry. My family members like to eat curry. My colleagues like to eat curry. Hence, everyone must have like to eat curry.

You should get my case in point.

How do we resolve this problem?

Referring to the above 2 statements, here is how to correct them:

  1. Most women in less developed countries are likely to be subjugated to men due to prevailing notions of patriarchy.
  2. Most people using the internet would be using Instagram.

What you have observed here so far is that these statements have been quantified so that they are not so ‘extreme and absolute’. It would be even better if statistics from a trusted source can be used to improve on these statements.

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