When was the last time you wondered if something is a fact or an opinion? If you listen, read or watch a piece of sensational news, it’s possible to question whether it’s a fact or an opinion. But many times we do not even realise that we consume content or read something without questioning whether it’s a fact or an opinion!
What is fact or opinion and why should we know the difference?
Even a toddler believes whatever is said to them, such as, ”you are a bad boy”. Does the toddler know if that statement was a fact or opinion? It is likely the toddler could believe it is true and assume they are bad. This has to be taught at a young age, to question whether something said, written, printed, heard or watched in media, is a fact or an opinion.
What is a Fact?
When you have to do some research for academics or related projects, you have to consult various resources online and offline. Do you question whether the information you derive is a fact or the opinion of the author?
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A fact is a statement that can be proven true or false. Methods like observation, research, and experimentation are used for verification. It can be confirmed by research and checking the evidence. Even then, there can be exceptions when the opinions of experts can be considered informed facts as they are based on research, reflection and years of experience. The source of information must be reliable in order to check whether the facts are based on research and evidence.
Continue reading after watching this video on Fact and Opinion Critical thinking for Reading Comprehension.
Example of Fact
- Young Readers Week is celebrated in the US in the second week of November every year, while the second Tuesday is celebrated as Young Readers Day.
- There are twelve months in a year.
- The square table has four legs.
- Saturday is our weekly off.
What is an opinion?
An opinion is a statement that is based on feelings, judgement, and beliefs. Besides, it cannot be proven as true or false. A person’s opinion is a personal choice and may or may not be true for everyone or may not be based on research and evidence. Opinions cannot be verified because they are subjective and could be different from someone else.
The way opinions are put across, usually have words such as, ”I think”, “I feel”, and “In my opinion”. There is a belief, intuition, gut feeling, doubt, like, dislike, comfort, discomfort, and other personal judgment attached to opinion.
Example of Opinion
- The weather is too hot and cloudy since morning, so there will be rain in the evening.
- This white shirt is lucky for me.
- That news program is the best.
- Pesto pasta is yummy.
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If statements cannot be verified then they are not facts, they are opinions. So, if you want to know how reliable a piece of information is, you need to know the difference between fact and opinion. Why is it necessary to learn to distinguish between fact and opinion? It’s necessary for reading comprehension and thinking critically about the information you consume.
This will help you judge things and come to conclusions. When reading, it can be hard to tell if a statement is a fact or an opinion. Authors and content creators often mix the two. Facts are almost always more reliable than opinions. That’s because you can prove a fact is accurate, but you can’t prove that an opinion is an absolute truth.