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I posted a text and someone commented on it but they kind of missed the point, so I replied:

I was actually speaking in general.

Is that correct?
Is it natural to use "I was writing in general"?

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    Colloquially, speaking is fine in the context of immediate messaging. We are engaged in a form of conversation flow. In the old days of letter writing, it would have seemed odd if a response arriving a week later referred to speaking about something. Jun 16, 2020 at 15:24

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"Speaking in general", "speaking in general terms", and "generally speaking" are idioms that can be used in speech or writing, with their function being (from Longmans) "to introduce a statement that is true in most cases but not always". They have become so common as set phrases that they do not need to be used to refer to literal acts of speaking.

While they are commonly used in speech or when describing speech, but can be found in writing. For instance, the BBC Learning English site uses "generally speaking" to introduce a written answer, as does CNN.

Another quote from CNN's website: "But generally speaking, the airport and airline system resets itself overnight."

The Guardian quotes a written statement from FIFA: "Fifa will address this matter with the Moroccan FA and, speaking in general terms, Fifa will monitor closely this matter throughout the competition."

In contrast "writing in general" or "generally writing" would not be so familiar or immediately recognisable.

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Colloquially, speaking is fine in the context of immediate messaging. We are engaged in a form of conversation flow. In the old days of letter writing, it would have seemed odd if a response arriving a week later referred to speaking about something. - Bruce Murray

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