What is a casual and tangible term for generalizing?

For example,

Don't [generalise] your experience thinking that others have the same.

So far I have found "assume" which is good, but I was wondering if there is an even more casual, tangible, and colloquial word for it.

Edit: I think project and generalize make sense but I would like a more colloquial phrase for that if available as if I am talking to a friend.

To explain further, let's assume that John and Julie are working at a company. Julie says something that implies John also is making low money like Julie. Then, John says:

How are you so sure I am also making low money? Don't generalize/project your experience to others.

  • 2
    Do you think that the meaning of extrapolating experience is clear? What do you mean by that? You may extrapolate on the basis of your experience; that makes sense. Do you mean "to make up your experience"? I don't think you can say it like that. It seems to me that your question would benefit from explaining what you mean.
    – LPH
    Apr 9 at 0:30
  • 1
    You are misusing extrapolate in your example.
    – Phil Sweet
    Apr 9 at 1:39
  • 2
    You could rephrase it such as "Don't assume everybody's the same as you". But you're not going to get a synonym for extrapolation here (there are some colloquial phrases for extrapolation in time, "if this goes on" etc, but not for overgeneralisation over entities like this).
    – Stuart F
    Apr 9 at 11:01
  • 2
    Could you please explain what you mean by "tangible"
    – Greybeard
    Apr 10 at 10:44
  • None of this generalize or experiencing reads like English to me. What do you mean by "your experience" — near death, childhood in the Andes, battered wife? If you tell me I can translate it into the sort of English my mother would have used.
    – David
    Apr 10 at 22:08

3 Answers 3


You probably mean

Do not project your experience onto others.

Project here means

to wrongly imagine that someone else is feeling a particular emotion or desire when in fact it is you who feels this way:

  • I suspect he's projecting his fears onto you. (Cambridge)

For something more colloquial, you could use Damian Barr's quote:

We are not all in the same boat.

This is a reversal of the idiom to be in the same boat:

to be in the same unpleasant situation as other people:

  • She's always complaining that she doesn't have enough money, but we're all in the same boat.

Don't generalize your experience to others.

Generalize (v.)

To make a general statement that something is true in all cases, based on what is true in some cases.

Dr. Meyer warned against generalizing the results to populations not included in the study. Cambridge

If you generalize something such as an idea, you apply it more widely than its original context, as if it was true in many other situations.

A child first labels the household pet cat as a "cat" and then generalizes this label to other animals that look like it. Collins

Generalize leaves open the appropriateness/correctness of an act; overgeneralize refers to the inappropriateness/inaccuracy of the act.

  • 1
    This is just to note that the OP changed the question after I posted this answer. The original was "What is a casual and tangible term for extrapolation"
    – DjinTonic
    Apr 13 at 11:42

Don't take for granted that other people have experienced what you have.

Merriam-Webster defines this phrase in this sense as follows:

to assume (something) as true, real, unquestionable, or to be expected

We took our invitation to the party for granted. = We took it for granted that we'd be invited to the party. [=we assumed we'd be invited and did not think about the possibility that we wouldn't be]

What I will call the "old" middle class rose to prominence in the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties, when economic growth was taken for granted and opportunity was abundant. —Alan Wolfe

This is a phrase that is widely understood, which is in a slightly less formal register than "assume" or "project" and is also less clunky and cerebral than "generalize".

  • Thank you for the comment, but I don't think "Don't take for granted that other people have experienced what you have." has the same meaning as "Don't [generalise] your experience thinking that others have the same."
    – Alireza
    Apr 11 at 19:40

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