Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is the phrase on the whole used correctly in the following sentence?

The information, on the whole, was inaccurate.

If not, what other ways are there to express it?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is basically a correct usage: on the whole means generally speaking, all things considered. The one quibble I have is that facts cannot be inaccurate. Facts are, by definition, accurate.

You could say:

The information, on the whole, was inaccurate.

Or:

The data, on the whole, was inaccurate.

For what it is worth, using it parenthetically here is a little clumsy in my view, though certainly not wrong, and certainly understandable. I’d rather you put it at the start:

On the whole, the data was inaccurate.

share|improve this answer
    
The reported facts, on the whole, .. –  John Lawler May 13 at 3:30
    
edited post to say "the information" –  Jason Chen May 13 at 3:49

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.