The difference between facts and opinions is huge. A statement can be a fact if it is supported by documentary evidence. An opinion is what you think or suppose about this fact. Therefore, a fact stands for the truth that can be proven, and an opinion refers to an individual view of something. The latter is not necessarily based on fact. So, to write a good argumentative essay, you should differentiate these two notions.
Here, you will see how much facts and opinions differ, explained in a simple and understandable way.
Comparison of a Fact and an Opinion
If we compare the meaning and essence of these two notions, we will observe that they are different in many aspects. Let’s consider some of them.
A fact refers to something that can be checked and proven. An opinion is someone’s belief or judgment about a certain thing or phenomenon.
Facts are usually based on research or observation. Opinions are personal judgements, views, or assumptions.
A fact refers to something objective, a reality that exists independently from someone’s attitude to it. An opinion is primarily subjective, referring to someone’s view of the reality that may have nothing in common with the factual state of affairs.
In the case of facts, it is possible to check or verify their truth. Opinions cannot be verified in any way.
Facts stand for something that really happened or has already existed. Opinions express someone’s perception of something.
Facts are based on a universal nature. They cannot change from person to person. Opinions are different depending on the background and individual attitudes of different people.
A fact is expressed in straightforward and unbiased words. Since it is individual and not supported by evidence, an opinion can be entirely biased.
8. Attitudes and Effects
Facts cannot be debatable because they are obvious to everybody. Opinions can be debated. Their meaning may not be clear to all members of the community. That results in a more powerful effect of facts on people. Opinions, if they are not expressed by leaders of thought, cannot influence others at all.
Definitions of a Fact and an Opinion
The different nature of fact and opinion described above results in differences in definitions of these two terms.
The definition of a fact is straightforward. A fact is some event or phenomenon that has actually appeared, is known to people, and can be validated with certain evidence. The fact means something that makes a statement sound true, based on thorough study and research.
The fact can be represented by an event or piece of real information and can be tested. It means that we support facts with documentation, reports, statistics, or proofs. Therefore, we can say that the fact is the verifiable truth or indisputable reality. It exists beyond anyone’s personal judgment but is accepted by most people via consensus. So, you can use the facts as a foundation for your essay.
The definition of the term ‘opinion’ is rather multi-sided. First of all, an opinion is a personal judgment about something. It is an individual view of some subject, not necessarily supported by facts. It may refer to reality and common knowledge, but it does not correspond to it in many cases. The subjective statement is often inconclusive and cannot be supported by evidence. It mostly refers to personal feelings and emotions. So it can produce biased information or assumptions.
Opinions are affected by individual desires, experiences, emotions, thoughts, values, and beliefs. That is why it is difficult to verify them by certain evidence. A particular object or matter can be regarded in a different way by different people due to their personal attitudes to it. So, opinion cannot be always used in your essay.
Main Differences Between Facts and Opinions
Therefore, we can highlight the main differences between fact and opinion. They are the following:
- The fact can be verified, but the opinion cannot.
- Facts rely on research and observations, but opinions deal only with assumptions.
- The fact is objective, but the opinion is mostly subjective.
- Facts are supported by statistics or evidence, but opinions are not.
- Facts are used to explain something that takes place, while opinions represent the individual perception of something.
- Facts cannot differ depending on personal attitudes – they are universal. Opinions are personal, and they can differ a lot even if we speak about the same subject.
- To describe the fact, we use unbiased and unemotional language. Opinions are commonly described in a biased way, full of emotional expression.
- Straightforward and obvious facts can change individual opinions. Different opinions about the same thing cannot change the facts about it or its characteristics.
- The factual information included in facts cannot be debated or doubted if it is proven. We usually debate or doubt the opinions because they are not supported by evidence.
Understanding the differences between facts and opinions can help draw conclusions or make reliable evaluations in your paper. So always check the reliability and usability of any information if you know these differences. All in all, every fact can be proven, so they are mostly right and accurate.
If you use a book or article for your paper, you need to comprehend what its authors meant. Most authors use certain information juxtaposed with their personal attitudes. Hence, it is sometimes difficult for a reader to distinguish between true facts and author’s opinions. These opinions may also be right and viable, but they are never supported by proof. That’s their main difference from facts, so readers and essay writers need to understand this.