Is "the general public" redundant? Or is it different from "the public"?

  • 4
    It's more specific in that it emphasizes the people you're talking about are just general, average, members of the public. Public beach-goers, for example, are only a subset of the "general public."
    – jmrpink
    Jul 31, 2018 at 18:46
  • The English language is chock full of pleonasms, from free gift to my own to false pretense. If you want to pick on this one, your question would be strengthened if you edit it to include any initial research you've done in the matter.
    – choster
    Jul 31, 2018 at 18:52
  • Actually "the general public" is less specific, is the whole point. "The public" in many contexts is quite specific if you stop and think about it, and so we came up with "the general public" to distinguish that particular public from just absolutely everyone at large.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jul 31, 2018 at 18:54
  • 1
    @Kevin I normally would, but I always get downvoted by people because they think my answers aren't "scientific enough" or something like that. In comments you can only get upvoted or reported.
    – jmrpink
    Jul 31, 2018 at 19:05
  • 1
    @jmrpink Don't let DVs get you down; we all receive them. A lot of people here will down vote an answer to a question that shows no research. Apart from that, if you provide a reasoned answer that includes citation and sources, and put it into context, and you still get DVs...brush it off as trollish behaviour. Jul 31, 2018 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


They are both common expressions that can convey the same meaning. Note that public have also other usages:

It derives from the following connotation of general:

not limited to one class, field, product, service, etc.; miscellaneous:

  • the general public; general science.

The general public:

ordinary people, especially all the people who are not members of a particular organization or who do not have any special type of knowledge:

  • This is a matter of great concern to the general public.

The public:

all ordinary people:

  • The public has a right to know about this.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

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