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He and the other lawyers had been talking about middle-aged depression, which was becoming increasingly common around them, as it was in society more generally.

Here is my interpretation: "more generally" mean "to be more common", the sentence means "it is increasing so much that it became a part (more common) of the society." is it correct?

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  • Your version doesn't really make sense. The sentence says that depression was becoming more common in the lawyers' own social circle, just as it was in society in general. Sep 10, 2020 at 16:20

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I think the reported sentence means that depression was spreading not only between them, but through society, affecting more and more people.

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You are understanding it nearly correctly.

Some examples of equal statements:

"In general" = "As is most common" = "As is most commonly found to be the case"

"In society generally" = "As is most commonly found in society"

Note here that "generally" and "most generally" actually have the same meaning. BUT, "more generally" refers to a comparison (sometimes over time):

"More generally" = "Is becoming increasingly common" OR "It is increasingly common in this case"

Examples: "Crime is more generally found in cities than it was when I was a child."

"Crime is more generally found in the inner city than the suburbs."

If you are using conversational English, "generally" is a hard word to replace, and a good one to know well. It has an inoffensive feel to it that is useful in polite phrasing.

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