2. Distinguishing Fact from Opinion

Distinguishing Fact from Opinion

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

 

A. Fact

  • A fact is a statement of actuality or occurrence which is based on direct evidence, actual experience, or observation.
  • A statement of fact describes the world without interpreting it.
  • To test whether a fact is accurate or not, you can observe or make an experiment.

Examples:

  1. The Nile is the longest river in the world.
  2. Jakarta has 7.500.000 population.
  3. UKI is an Indonesian private university.
  4. Pollution can kill fish and plants that live in rivers.
  5. English is the most interesting language in the world.

B. Opinion

  • An opinion is a statement that expresses an attitude, a belief, or a point of view.
  • It reveals an author’s personal feelings, beliefs, attitudes, or judgments on a particular subject.  It tells you not only what was seen but how it was seen by the author as well.
  • Since opinions depend on the personal experience, history, culture, and training of the people who hold them, though they are sometimes supported by facts, they cannot be judged true or false, right or wrong.

Examples:

  1. The Nile is the most beautiful river in the world.
  2. Teenagers are too moody to be trusted.
  3. Young people think they’ll live forever and can’t be hurt.
  4. Monas is the most wonderful tower in Asia.

Facts vs. Opinions

Facts Opinions
o  Objective 

o  States reality

o  Can be verified

o  Presented with unbiased words

 

o   Subjective 

o   Interprets reality

o   Can NOT be verified

o   Presented with value words

 

C. Blend of Fact & Opinion

Many statement use words or phrases that belong to both concrete and abstract language. Such statement is a blend of fact and opinion.

Example:

  1. An extraordinary and imaginative film, Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” earned several million dollars in the first weekend of its American debut.
  2. Because of a newly formed and largely incompetent national weather service, Mentawai island, West Sumatra was practically destroyed in a horrifying tsunami that left thousands dead.

Explanation:

The italicized phrase/clause are opinions, while the rests are facts.

D. Justified Opinion

  • A justified opinion is the one supported by a number of convincing and relevant facts. It is worthy of one’s serious consideration and could be take to enrich his knowledge.
  • Unjustified opinions lack of factual support. To take them seriously, one needs to do further reading on the subject.

Look at the following paragraph!

People in Southeast Asia are living in both traditional and modern culture. In this region, cities of more than one million people—such as Bangkok, manila, Singapore, and Jakarta with Western-style high rise buildings and automobile-clogged streets—spread into rise-growing countryside where peasants still plow with water buffaloes and live in little wooden house on stilts. Jet airliners take off from big municipal airports and in a few minutes are flying over mountains inhabited by tribesmen who wear almost no clothes and still hunt with poisoned darts. The king of Laos lives in a French-style palace with western décor, but for official ceremonies he dons the baggy panung, the pantaloons worn by his ancestors for a thousand years. On the Indonesian island of Bali, barefoot men and girls perform elegant traditional dances in dusty village squares and then go see an American movie at the local theater.

Explanation:

The idea expressed in the topic sentence, that “People in Southeast Asia are living in both traditional and modern culture” is supported by a number of convincing and relevant facts. Thus it is justified.

What about following paragraph?

People of different ethnic backgrounds just can’t live harmoniously in the same neighborhood. A mass chaos can easily occur due to ethnic difference. The disputes between ethnic differences are common in the world history. In addition,   almost everyone I’ve talked to thinks the same way. So we must always be cautious when living with people of different ethnic backgrounds in a neighborhood.
Explanation:

The idea expressed in the topic sentence, that “People of different ethnic backgrounds just can’t live harmoniously in the same neighborhood” is truly supported by some supporting details. However, they are not convincing facts. Thus the idea is unjustified.

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13 thoughts on “2. Distinguishing Fact from Opinion

  1. Hi sir this is my assignment

    In paragraph one, its just point of view the writer
    In our culture that’s nice to talking about marriage, but the fact too much divorce

  2. Dear Mr. Parlin,

    Sorry, I late give respond for this. I would like to determine your statements.

    For statement # 1: To read critically is interesting and enjoyable. In my opinion it is an opinion because every people has theIr own styles to read.
    For statement # 2: More and more young married couples got divorced today. So, marriage is no more interesting in Indonesian society. In my opinion it is a blend because it can be a fack if we have already known the datas of it but marriage is no more interesting in Indonesian society is an opinion because it depends on personal opinion, So we can’t be judged true or false.

    Thank you.

  3. Dear Ema,
    Your answers are contextually correct. But, in the future, please write using effective and grammatical sentences.
    For example, instead of writing “oc i would try …”, you should have written “OK, I would …

  4. Dear mr.parlin
    sorry sir i late to comment for this
    oc i would try to answer this question for no.1 i think this opinion because interesting and enjoyable to read it’s just a personal opinion
    and for no.2 ,maybe it’s blend because we can say it fact if we have to survey on it, and after that it’s just opinion

  5. Dear Ms. Netti,
    Please see Mr. Gea’s response above.
    n the first sentence, interesting and enjoyable are the matter of personal opinion.
    so It’s an opinion(O).

    I copy it for you as follow:
    More and more young married couples got divorced today in the second sentence can be easily checked by doing survey and it can be seen on the news on television news infotainment, that’s a fact. But just marriage is no more interesting in Indonesian society is personal opinion, that’s an opinion. So the second sentence is a blend (B).

  6. Dear Mr.Parlin Pardede

    I’ll try to determine your statements.
    1st statement : From critically, we can get more informations how to give our opinion for kind of book that already read. Cause there are many steps that we have to know when we want to give some criticalls well. But there’re not many people like to read. So i think it’s an OPINION.
    2nd statement : Married is more interesting for me. If more and more young married couples got divorced today, not only young married but for old married, it could happend, so it’s depend on their vision in marriage. For me it’s only an OPINION..

    Netti

  7. Heiya … I’m here. sorry for the trouble since I was in Singapore and went back and forth to hospital for my mom.
    Anyway…. for statement #1 : To read critically is interesting and enjoyable. I think it’s an OPINION because not all people are fond of reading and only people who likes reading will say that.
    For statement #2: More and more young married couples got divorced today. So, marriage is no more interesting in Indonesian society. It’s an OPINION, too because there is no data followed the statement to show that it is true marriage is no more interesting in Indonesian society because of the higher of divorcee rate nowadays. And I think the opinion have come up for quite some time because media have exposed it more than before. So, I say it’s opinion.

    Juella

  8. Here are responses from two of you:

    1. Lapang Ari Nazara

    Dear Mr. Parlin Pardede
    I would like to determine whether a statement 1 and 2 above are fact or opinion
    1). I think that a statement 1 is OPINION because not everybody feel comfortable to read critically but depend on someone who sense that’s interesting.
    2). Automatically It is not fact a statement 2,but it is OPINION.

    2. Gea

    Hello Sir! How are you doing? I hope you are having a good day.

    Let me try giving response to both statements.
    In the first sentence, interesting and enjoyable are the matter of personal opinion.
    so It’s an opinion(O).

    More and more young married couples got divorced today in the second sentence can be easily checked by doing survey and it can be seen on the news on television news infotainment, that’s a fact. But just marriage is no more interesting in Indonesian society is personal opinion, that’s an opinion. So the second sentence is a blend(B)

    That’s all from me.
    Thank you.

    What about others? Please respond soon!

  9. Dear all,
    Please determine whether each of the followings is a statement of fact (F), or opinion (O), or a blend (B) of fact and opinion. Give reason why you think so.

    1) To read critically is interesting and enjoyable.
    2) More and more young married couples got divorced today. So, marriage is no more interesting in Indonesian society.

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