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For example, I'd like to say:

In my experience, I've come to understand that people tend to be misunderstood.

But with a word more like 'historically.'

Historically, I've come to understand that people tend to be misunderstood.

The reason I don't want to use 'in my experience' is the feeling it evokes of my experience vs. someone else's experience.

I'd like a word that instead emphasizes: "personal experiences have shown" in the same way that 'historically' is thought of as 'times have shown.'

There is no room for subjective interpretation when using the word 'historically.' But using 'in my experience' feels like it casts doubt on whether my interpretation of the experiences is valid.

  1. Does this word even exist or will I just have to structure the sentence better to give off this feeling?
  2. Is my feeling that "'in my experience' casts doubt of whether my interpretation of the experiences is valid" even valid? Or is this just my brain lying to me?

I realize this might be nitpicky, but words are awesome and I love thinking about them.

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  • As long as it has to be a single word, and only carry positive connotations, I'd probably have to go with "observationally", but that's a very clunky word, so I'll put it in this comment instead of an answer. – Bass Nov 9 '19 at 21:45
  • Hi Tariq! You say, "The reason I don't want to use 'in my experience' is the feeling it evokes of my experience vs. someone else's experience." But what you are saying - "People are often misunderstood" - is not even slightly controversial! We would probably all agree with it. Anything we write will be from our own perspective. We are interested in each other's opinions and we would be interested in yours! If you really want to remove yourself from the statement, it would be safe to say, "Throughout history people have been misunderstood." Who would argue with that? – Old Brixtonian Nov 9 '19 at 21:51
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    The only thing wrong with "In my experience, I've come to understand that people tend to be misunderstood" is that you don't need 'I've come to understand'. "Experience has shown me that people are often misunderstood" is plain English. Won't that do? Do we really need a word like 'historically' in there? – Old Brixtonian Nov 9 '19 at 21:55
  • I think you're absolutely right and I have to say I immensely appreciate the kindness in your comment. I asked this question from my curiosity of the subtle meanings within phrases and words. I'd never noticed the connotation attached to "in my experience" before trying to write this sentence. That said, I think your comment highlights a technique I always forget to use: say less. Thank you. – Tariq Nov 10 '19 at 0:46
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    "In my lifetime", "since 1950" (if you're old), "in this century" (if you're young). – Hot Licks Dec 9 '19 at 23:04
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I have two suggestions:

Anecdotally which means

Based on casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis

Which would imply that your understanding is based on your own experience directly or via the stories you have heard.

The word Contemporary might also be of interest to you, particularly the meaning:

belonging to the same age; living or occurring in the same period of time

(From Collins English Dictionary) People who are your contemporaries live at the same time as you.

You could say:

Contemporary anecdotes indicate that people tend to (feel or be) misunderstood.

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    Neither of these word emphasize personal experience. – Jim Nov 9 '19 at 21:25
  • In that context, "contemporary" means at the same time as now. For it to mean at the same time as someone, you have to specify the someone. For instances, "anecdotes contemporary to Tariq indicate ..." And as Tariq says, that doesn't emphasize personal experience, it just means they happened after Tariq was born and before they died. – Acccumulation Dec 4 '20 at 0:09

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