Saturday, December 1, 2018

Beware of Creating Sweeping Generalizations

This is the third post in a series about the comparison of adjectives and adverbs. If you missed the first two posts, click here and here.

When using the superlative degree, it is important to avoid creating a sweeping generalization. A sweeping generalization creates a statement that is too broad. 

The superlative degree is created by adding est to some words, or adding the word most.
For example: happiest or most enjoyable

When you add est or use the word most, it is easy to create a sweeping statement that goes too far in its description.


Sweeping Generalization: Benjamin Franklin was the most brilliant of all inventors.

Better: Benjamin Franklin was one of the most brilliant of all inventors.

Sweeping Generalization: Terry Bradshaw is the greatest of all quarterbacks in football history.
Better: Terry Bradshaw is considered by many to be one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history.

It's important not to get carried away with the superlative degree and say way more than you intended to say. Use qualifying words to make the superlative degree more acceptable.

Check back here often for more tips on grammar and usage.

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Thanks for reading,