For example, as a student, I have a "general" or "generic" question. My question is "Does every student need to wear school uniform every school day?" Are "general" and "generic" interchangeable here? If so, which one is more common in colloquial AmE?


1 Answer 1


In my experience generic and general are not interchangeable here or even in most cases.

When you say "I have a general question," you are saying your question applies to a broad topic.

If you say "I have a generic question" it means that your question is a very plain, common question. It is a question that you would see asked every day. It also carries a slightly negative connotation because it's like saying "I have a question that isn't unique or creative at all. It is average"

So general is the correct usage here.

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