Generalize vs generalise

Photo of author


To generalize means 1.) to form a broad conclusion based on inferences drawn from specific cases 2.) to make something more widely available or applicable 3.) to speak in generalities, often in a prejudiced manner. Generalize is the North American spelling, related words are generalizes, generalized, generalizing, generalization.

Generalise is the preferred British spelling, related words are generalises, generalised, generalising, generalisation. The American spelling of generalize is also considered correct and is gaining acceptance around the world

Generalize and generalise are examples of a group of words that are spelled with a “z” in American English and with an “s” in British English. Generalize comes into the English language around 1751, probably as a new formation from the word general.


Justice Department officials say context matters greatly in such cases, making it hard to generalize too broadly. (The Los Angeles Times)

As generalizations of the United States are incorrect, it’s also incorrect to generalize about the Islamic faith based on the actions of a significant few, Pahl said. (The Appleton Post-Crescent)

“People generalize, they mix everything up,” said Ahmed Arkiz, a 59-year-old company chauffeur from Morocco who stayed away from Sunday’s event. (The Japan Times)

Though I take full responsibility for my poor performance, the discussion itself was unproductive and represents everything that is wrong with the British discourse on radicalisation: the tendency is to generalise, filter our nuance and prioritise academic opinion over Muslims’ feelings – the sentiment on the street. (The Independent)

Paul Sheehan’s article on university distortions in the US is used to generalise about social science problems in some other English-language countries. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

He added that it is wrong for the state to generalise preachers. (The Star Kenya)