generic and general

AJ   Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:26 pm GMT
Is there any difference between generic and general?
Robin   Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:26 pm GMT
Yes there is, and the difference should be quite apparent if you look it up in the dictionary.

Off the top of my head, Generic, is a specialised, even 'Jargon' type word. Basically it means 'of a type'.

General: is a very common word, so common in fact, that it is difficult to think of another word that can take its place. There is a word 'common' which has connotations that 'General' does not, which means something similar.

Your best bet, is to look it up in a dictionary.
Mary   Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:41 pm GMT
I agree with Robin, but I also think of "generic" as the opposite of "special" or "unique." For example, you can buy brand-name laundry detergent (which is more expensive but made by a company everyone has heard of) or generic laundry detergent (cheaper, but probably of poorer quality).

The word general can't be used in this sense. "General" has many meanings - it may be best to consider some examples. In a class, "I understand the general idea" means that I understand the most important parts of the concept being taught, but I don't understand the specifics. To say that something occurs "in general" (example: "in general, he's in his office till 5pm") means that it occurs most of the time, or under most circumstances.