Generalizations are simple statements or comparisons
A generalization paints everything with the same broad brush, from insect legs to the sides of barns.
Generalizations frequently use a plural subject.
- Dogs are bigger than cats.
- A Pomeranian at less than 5.5 pounds is smaller than most domestic cats.
- Goats will eat anything.
- Goats will eat the labels from tin cans, but they cannot actually eat a tin can.
- Clouds bring rain.
- Altocumulus clouds, cumulus clouds, and statocumulus clouds predict fair weather.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
- While it is true that apples offer many benefits to their consumers, they “are not particularly rich in vitamins and minerals. However, they contain decent amounts of both vitamin C and potassium” (healthline.com).
“If/When” statements add conditions to generalizations.
Generalizations may depend on certain conditions, indicated by “if,” “when,” “while,” or other conjunctions.
If the two clauses are in the present, both take the simple present tense.
When the condition clause (“if,” “when,” etc.) begins the sentence, a comma separates the explanatory clause from the main clause.
When it follows the main clause, no comma is used.
- Snowy sidewalks are slick.
- If it snows, sidewalks are slick.
- Sidewalks are slick if it snows.
- Days are longer in the summer.
- When it’s summer, days are longer.
- Days are longer when it’s summer.
- The temperature rises during the day.
- If the sun shines, the temperature rises.
- The temperature rises if the sun shines.
If the generalization refers to the past, both verbs use the past tense.
- Snowy sidewalks were slick.
- If it snowed, sidewalks were slick.
- Sidewalks were slick if it snowed.
- Summer days were longer.
- When it was summer, the days were longer.
- The days were longer when it was summer.
- Sunshine made temperatures rise.
- As the sun rose, the temperature rose.
- The temperature rose as the sun rose.
- The easily-caught dodo bird was food for the early settlers.
- Because it was easily caught, the dodo bird was food for the early settlers.
- The dodo bird was food for the early settlers because it was easily caught.