Americans in general are open-minded.


1) Americans in general are open-minded.


2) Americans, in general, are open-minded.


3) In general, Americans are open-minded.



Do you sense some difference between the three sentences and I think that 'in general' can modify Americans in # 1 and it modifies 'are' in #2 and #3 and there is some difference in meaning. what do you think?


Thank you so much as usual and have a good day.

edited Oct 25 '12 at 06:29 Hans Contributor

1 answer


In these sentences, "in general" appears to be an adverbial prepositional phrase -- not only because it can be reduced to the adverb "generally."  Prepositional phrases can take on many parts of speech, but they are generally adverbial. So the phrase modifies the verb "are" and not the subject "Americans." I believe that this is the case for all three sentences.


I do not sense a difference in meaning between the three sentences. It is more likely that sentence #1 will be punctuated as #2, but a writer may choose to make it a dependent phrase (#1) for emphasis.


In these sentences, open minded is being used as a noun and should not be hyphenated. When it is used an adjective before a noun -- You are an open-minded person -- it should be hyphenated.

link comment edited Oct 25 '12 at 19:34 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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