Keith Kelly looks at examples of language used in making generalizations from the area of geography; these can be split into three broad groups: quantity, frequency and certainty.

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word / phraseexample
a few A few large companies have continuously retained economic power in the banana trade.
a majority (of) A majority of small farm holders is finding it harder and harder to survive.
a minority (of) Private enterprises in Russia have recently created a great deal of wealth for a minority of Russian men and women.
a number (of) The river is forced to break up into a number of smaller channels called distributaries.
several Several severe droughts have occurred in the Sahel since the 1970s.
all Trees produce oxygen, which is needed by all living things.
every Demand for housing in Calcutta ensures that every available space is occupied, many at high rents.
little Little level land is available for the construction of roads.
many ManyItalian locations have attractive characteristics.
many millions Many millions of people are employed in the tourist industry in Europe.
most Most population growth is taking place in the poorest and least prepared countries of
the world.
much Much of the material is ground into soil particles, stones and boulders called erratics.
over Over a hundred million people take holidays in the Mediterranean every year.
some Some industries take finished products from other factories to use as raw materials for further processing.


always Egyptians had always wished to control the Nile and its level throughout the year.
frequently Depressions frequently develop over the North Atlantic.
generally People generally build houses some distance from rivers, or on higher ground, to avoid flooding.
often The people who live in the slums are often elderly single men and women who never married.
never Many of the women never sign a contract and can easily be kicked out.
normally Streets are normally straight and usually joined at right angles.
occasionally Feelings of boredom and isolation may occasionally give rise to anti-social behaviour.
seldom The vegetation seldom provides enough rich humus to make fertile soil.
sometimes Rivers in hanging valleys sometimes enter a main valley as a waterfall.
tend Land use intensity and value tend to increase towards the city centre.
tendency There is a general tendency for different city zones to be given over to different functions
or uses.
usually A volcano usually goes through three stages in its life cycle.


clear It is clear that different countries experience different rates of population change.
probable Describe three probable functions of the town with reference to the map.
probably Suggest the soil type that probably exists in this region.
likely The farther from the equator a place is, the cooler it is likely to be.
perhaps The workers have a room measuring perhaps six square metres.
maybe The clay particles remained suspended in the water for maybe a week.
possible Suggest a possible reason for the fall in coffee prices in 1978.
uncertain The centres with indoor facilities are not as affected by the uncertain weather conditions as other locations.
unlikely The urban sprawl is unlikely to develop further towards the south.



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