You are on page 1of 16

Fact and Opinion: Is There Really a Difference

Every man has a right to be wrong in his opinions But no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
-Baruch, Bernard M 1870-1965 American Financier

Lets Get The Facts Straight!


There is a difference between FACT and OPINION. Facts are statements that can be proven. Opinions can not be proven. They are based on someone's thoughts, their feelings and their understanding. Though you may be able to use facts to add credibility to an opinion, it is still an opinion! Though an opinion may be widely accepted, that does not make it a fact.

Lets Get The Facts Straight! A fact is something that can be proven by a reliable authority such as:
A history book Measurements Proven Statistics scientific law Governmental law

Mathematics

An observation
provide is considered to be fact.

Note : None of these authorities are fool proof, but information that they

Lets Look at Some Examples of Facts


Must Have a
Reliable Authority

John F. Kennedy was President 1961-1963

History Book

The adult human body Science has 206 bones 56% of US gun Deaths Statistic are suicides 21 is the legal drinking Governmental age in Cincinnati, OH Law

More Examples of Facts


What About Observations? Observations are facts because they can be proven by the senses.

Fact

How it is Provable

Some flowers are larger than others. The shirt is green.

You can bring in flowers of various sizes You can bring in the shirt so that the color can be seen

Getting the Facts on Facts


Some facts change over time.

For example:
It was once considered to be a fact that the world was flat.

We believed that those traveling too far in either direction could literally fall off!
Because new things are being discovered everyday, reliable authorities are sometimes forced to alter what we all once conside red to be facts.

Lets Look at Some Examples of Opinions


Here are some of the same topics that we saw as facts. Can you figure out how they were changed to opinions?

John F. Kennedy was an excellent President. Apparently, the adult human body has more bones than necessary. It is likely that the US suicide rate will decrease soon. All of be 21. It is unfair for the legal drinking age tothese words
are hints that there is an opinion present.

Types of Opinions

There are Several Types of Opinions:

Hypothesis Statements Theory Statements Assumptive Statements Value Statements

Types of Opinions: Statements of Hypothesis


A Hypothesis is an assumption made in an attempt to explain an observation. Though an Observation is a Fact, a Hypothesis is an Opinion.

Some flowers are larger than others because they are in more fertile soil. This hypothesis would have to be further investigated and scientifically proven to be considered a fact.

Types of Opinions: Statements of Theory


A theory is an opinion that is a widely believed explanation for a group of observations. Here are two well known examples:

The Theory of Relativity. The Evolutionary Theory.

Though many scientists believe that these theories are true, we still consider them to be opinions rather than facts because they have not been proven.

Types of Opinions: Statements of Assumption


An assumptive statement is an opinion that is an improvable prediction. Here are three examples If Hillary Clinton ran for President she would definitely win. The war in Iraq will eventually cost the US all of its allies. When that new movie comes out it will definitely be at the top of the charts!
Though these are stated as though they are true, they are only assumptive opinions.

Types of Opinions: Statements of Value


A value statement is any claim that is based on someone's beliefs. Here are three examples

Colin Powell is an excellent candidate for president. The use of animals in lab testing is cruel and must be stopped. The Bahamas is the most beautiful place on Earth.

Opinions: Words To Look Out For


There are Certain Words that will Warn You that You are Being Given an Opinion and Not a Fact!
Maybe Perhaps Best / Worst Experts Agree Successful Necessary Apparently Probably

Getting the Facts About Opinions


An opinion is not necessarily wrong, it is merely not a provable fact.
For example:

Bridgett is a very beautiful young lady. Even if everyone agreed with this statement, it is still an opinion because it is not provable. Beauty is relative.

Keeping Your Facts Straight


Separate the facts from the opinions.
The best way to choose a spouse is based on brains, not beauty. The car probably stopped running because it ran out of gas. The Learning Center is in the Educational Services Building. If I were to go on to receive my Bachelors, I would not be successful. There are 121 prescription drugs that come from plants.

Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.

Keeping Your Facts Straight


How well did you do?
The car probably stopped running because it ran out of gas.

-Opinion: hypothesis

The Learning Center is in the Educational Services Building.

-Fact

If I were to go on to receive my Bachelors, I would not be successful.

-Opinion: Assumption

The best way to choose a spouse is based on brains, not beauty. -

Opinion: value statement

There are 121 prescription drugs that come from plants.

-Fact