I came across this sentence - 彼は世間一般の学生とは違っている

I also read the meaning of the various kanji used here. If I'm not mistaken, 一般の学生 already means ordinary students or average students. But how does 世間 work in this sentence?

Another sentence I came across was similar to this one but did not use 世間. Here's that sentence - 彼女は一般の先生と比べればよい先生だ.

So, I do not understand what the nuance is. Why is 世間 used in the first sentence? If I'm mistaken about something, please correct me.

  • 1
    世間一般 appears to be a word/expression in its own right: weblio.jp/content/%E4%B8%96%E9%96%93%E4%B8%80%E8%88%AC Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 10:32
  • @user3856370 Thank you :) Can I trouble you to also explain where would I use this word/expression? As I mentioned in my question, the second sentence doesn't use this but the first sentence does. How do I decide when and where to use it? Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 10:45
  • Afraid that's beyond my skill level. Best wait for someone else to help. Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


一般 is general as opposed to special, and can also be a translation of ordinary, average (in the sense of non-special). 世間 originally meant secular world (as opposed to the world of Buddhist monks), and 世間一般 can be translated as worldly, ordinary, average.

A short answer is, in the sense of average, ordinary, you can most probably use always 一般 without changing the meaning (much).


一般 can be attached to other nouns without の, 世間一般 can't. 一般[人]{じん}、一般の[人]{ひと}, 世間一般の[人]{ひと} are fine, but not 世間一般人.

世間一般 sounds more collective. Since both of your examples refer to a group of ordinary students/teachers, I don't see much difference 一般の学生/世間一般の学生 or 一般の先生/世間一般の先生. But

  • その芸能人は一般の人と結婚した The TV celebrity married a person who is not in the show business.

Here 世間一般の人 wouldn't fit because it refers to a single person.

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