Level: Intermediate and Up

Generalisations are general statements or opinions which are only partly true because they are based on a few cases or incomplete knowledge. Below there is a list of my own ad hoc "generalisations." They are sometimes quite cheeky, but the point is not to teach the concept but to have fun, provoke the students gently and trigger verbal exchanges. Even the most humble of statements will very often lead on to further talk, through opinion, disagreement, comment, adding to, agreeing and so on.

Activity A

The following statements can be read out individually by the teacher, who awaits reaction (and there should be in most cases) and the ensuing exchanges between all present; or students can be divided into pairs to debate the statement, reporting back to the rest of the group subsequently.

  • Married people are boring.
  • Footballers are not intelligent.
  • You can't be friends with your boss.
  • Old people have no fun.
  • Men are bad at languages.
  • Young girls are brighter than young boys.
  • Engineers and accountants are very rational people.
  • Mathematics are for intelligent people.
  • All politicians are corrupt.
  • Rich people have a great life.
  • Top sports stars have fewer worries than most other workers.
  • City people are more cultured than those from the country.
  • People who talk a lot don't say much.
  • People who act are basically exhibitionists.
  • Artists are different from most people.
  • Poor people are happy in their own way.

Activity B

Have students make up their own generalisations.

Here are some examples of what I got.

  • You love what you don't have
  • English food is terrible
  • Women talk more than men