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I came across a sentence that started like this:

but by and large, groups of words without a verb are like a car without an engine — they can’t go anywhere.

It was hard for me to conjure up context for what I was reading at that moment. What does “but by and large” mean?

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    What was the context? But signals that what follows contrasts with what precedes it. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 8 '17 at 21:13
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    What is the question? – James K Nov 8 '17 at 21:19
  • @StoneyB what followed after the the phrase is the context. – O_Maina Nov 8 '17 at 21:41
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    It's an idiom. Definition of "by and large", meaning "on the whole" or "in general" or "for the most part" or various similar idioms. Try using google to look up idiomatic phrases -- if they are valid, they should show up in one or more dictionaries. – Andrew Nov 8 '17 at 21:44
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"By and large" roughly means generally or on the whole. So in this context, your sentence would read:

but generally, groups of words without a verb are like a car without an engine — they can’t go anywhere.

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