Fact vs Opinion Resource

Decorative: "Fact" written above a carved stone with a check mark on it; "Opinion" written above a balloon with a question mark on it

 

"Difference Between Fact and Opinion" (post) is a useful handout (or lesson skeleton) to differentiate between "fact" and "opinion," to start a discussion about texts and/or assignments, and to explain to your students why simply asserting something does not make it so.

1. Basics

a. "Facts and opinions ... have a huge difference in their meanings."

  • "Whether a statement is a fact or an opinion depends on the validity of the statement."
  • "[A] fact refers to the something true or real, which is backed by evidence, documentation, etc."
  • "[An] opinion is what a person believes or thinks about something."

b. "In finer terms, a fact is a proven truth, whereas opinion is a personal view that represents the outlook of an individual, which may or may not be based on the fact." 

2. Content: Fact Vs Opinion

Comparison Chart: Fact = something that can be verified or proved to be true. Opinion = a judgement or belief about something. Fact based on observation or research. Opinion based on assumption or personal view. Fact = objective reality. Opinion = subjective statement. Fact can be verified; opinion cannot. Fact represents something that really happened. Opinion represents a perception about something. Fact is universal. Opinion differs from person to person. Facts shown with unbiased words. Opinions expressed with biased words. Fact is not debatable. Opinion is debatable. Fact has power to influence others; opinion does not.

3. Definition of Fact

a. "[A] fact is something, that has actually taken place or known to have existed, which can be validated with pieces of evidence."

  • "[Facts] are strictly defined and can be measured, observed, and proven."
  • "[A fact] refers to something that makes statements true and [is] used in connection with research and study."

b. "A fact can be an event or information, based on real occurrences which can be tested through verifiability, i.e. they are supported by proofs, statistics, documentation, etc."

4 Definition of Opinion

a. "‘[O]pinion’ is defined as the personal view or judgment about a subject, that may or may not be substantiated by the facts or positive knowledge."

  • "In other words, an opinion is an inconclusive statement, used in subjective matters, which cannot be proved true or false."
  • "It is what a person thinks or feels about something or someone."

b. "Opinion is highly influenced by a person’s feelings, thoughts, perspective, desires, attitude, experiences, understanding, beliefs, values, etc., which cannot be tested by concrete evidence."

  • "Therefore, due to individual differences, every person’s opinion on a particular matter [may] also [be] different."

5. Key Differences Between Fact and Opinion [#8 is over-stated ... but could spark useful debate]

Same information as in Fact vs Opinion chart above (1), but in full sentences.

 

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