I just want to ask what word can be put in replacement to the bolded phrase in: “This formula is not applicable in every situation and may vary.”
adapted or adjustable to meet varied requirements (as of use, shape, or size)
a universal gear cutter
universal remote control
General, especially in mathematics:
involving, relating to, or applicable to every member of a class, kind, or group
the general equation of a straight line
One option you have is to say what the equation is rather than what it isn’t, such as: “This equation applies only to a special case.”
This would also fit nicely:
shared by, typical of, or relating to a whole group of similar things, rather than to any particular thing:
Source: Cambridge Dictionary
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
adj. Having many purposes or uses: an all-purpose thread.from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
adj. for all purposes; general-purposefrom the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
adj. not limited in use or function.from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University.
adj. not limited in use or function
Depending on the context (does the formula solve problems? And if so, do you want to make it clear that it doesn't solve them all?) you may use:
- something that will solve all problems:
Technology is not a panacea for all our problems.
- something that will cure all illnesses
All-encompassing, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary:
including everything or everyone
Their example sentence:
We're unlikely to find an all-encompassing solution.
Attribution: "All-encompassing." Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed June 14, 2018. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/all-encompassing.
versatile (comparative more versatile, superlative most versatile)
- Capable of doing many things competently.
- Having varied uses or many functions.
- Changeable or inconstant.
: something that acts as a magical weapon; especially : one that instantly solves a long-standing problem
To say that something "isn't a silver bullet" is to say it's not going to magically solve the problem, like a "universal formula" would
Two words to indicate that something can work in multiple (though perhaps not all) cases are:
Multipurpose, according to Cambridge Dictionary:
A multipurpose tool, etc. can be used in several different ways
(Definition of “multipurpose” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Or multifunctional, according to Cambridge Dictionary:
having several different uses
(Definition of “multifunctional” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
This is much more colloquial, but since swiss army knives have many tools for multiple functions, up to Wenger Giant's 141 functions from 87 implements!
So you could say,
This isn't a "swiss army-function to fix everything."
My first thought was the already mentioned
Universal, but a more obscure word could be:
Relevant everywhere, or to everything; always relevant.
Further thought evoked the memory of another candidate, albeit more for situations where the omnirelevant object has been intentionally altered to become:
[Rendered] universal [by design or modification].
Just to add another option which fits the definition nicely:
Existing in or spreading through every part of something.
I might suggest “flexible,” but the sentence structure makes the overall meaning unclear out of context. With “...and may vary” are you further illustrating why the formula is not always applicable? Or are you providing a second, independent reason for caution? In other words, are you saying the formula isn't aways appropriate, and at least one reason is that it may vary? Or is the possibility that it may vary a separate issue? It's not discernable from the sentence alone, and it may have an impact on which term would best address your requirements.
As a non-native speaker, I thought of passe-partout, according to Collins Dictionary:
that which passes or allows passage everywhere
The problem is that you want a positive word and put "not" in front of it, while you can use a negative term as well. That wouldn't be "pas passe-partout", which would sound funny, especially in French. But more something like inapplicable or non-applicable.
Attribution: Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.