English Language
Opinion vs Fact

Opinion vs Fact

Shiken premium Upgrade Banner

The Distinction Between Opinions and Facts

When constructing essays, it is crucial to base arguments on facts rather than opinions. However, understanding the difference between the two can be challenging. Simply put, opinions are personal beliefs or speculations, while facts are proven through the search for truth and withstand testing. In this article, we will explore the definitions of opinions and facts, how they differ, and how they can evolve over time.

Defining Opinion and Fact

Let's begin by defining opinions and then delving into facts.


In essay writing, opinions should be avoided and not used as evidence to support a thesis. Opinions do not require verification, have failed to acquire verification, or cannot be verified. This is often seen on social media and perpetuated by tabloids, influencers, and celebrities.


A fact is not synonymous with the "truth" but is what has been proven through the search for truth. It can be arrived at logically or through experimentation. However, there are also potential facts that are in the process of being proven or disproven, and these should not be used as logical support in essays. Potential facts may be referenced in the conclusion, but solid facts should be used in body paragraphs.

It's important to note that both opinions and facts can evolve over time. Our understanding of a fact may change as we learn more, but opinions are unlikely to become facts. Instead, potential facts may become facts.

Similarities Between Opinion and Fact

While there are some similarities between opinions and facts, these should not be used to determine whether something is an opinion or fact.

Both opinions and facts can confidently be presented, but this does not guarantee their validity. Content should be the deciding factor, not the presentation. Additionally, both opinions and facts can evolve over time, but in different ways.

For example, a person saying "I like pizza" is a fact, but their favorite food may change in the future, showing how opinions can evolve while facts remain constant.

In essays, it is acceptable to use evidence that has not been personally verified or to draw conclusions about things not personally created as long as there is a logical method of verifying the information.

In conclusion, while opinions and facts share some similarities, it is crucial to understand the distinct difference between the two when making arguments in essays. Facts should be used as evidence, while opinions should be avoided. Remember that both opinions and facts can change over time, but in different ways. Therefore, the content should be carefully considered, rather than the presentation, when determining the difference between opinions and facts.

In literary analyses, the focus is often on the human aspect rather than objectivity, making it a common argument style. This is especially true in literature courses, where students excel at exploring different interpretations.

The Distinction Between Opinion and Fact

Opinions and facts have significant differences. An opinion does not require verification, while facts rely on it. Interestingly, this means that stating an opinion can be more conclusive than stating a fact. For example, a scientist may struggle to quickly prove a fact, while a conspiracy theorist or fear monger can swiftly "prove" their point using faulty logic. Testing hypotheses is a time-consuming process, while making assumptions is quicker.

It is not foolish to take the time to learn or teach something. However, someone may be considered foolish if they treat something as a fact simply because it is emotionally exciting.

Determining Opinions vs. Facts

Let's break down the differences between opinions and facts:

Identifying Opinions

There are certain signs that can help you determine whether something is an opinion:

  • An opinion is subjective, meaning it contains personal bias.
  • Example: "Apples are the best fruit." (Accompanied by an image of an apple with a heart.)
  • An opinion is inconclusive, meaning that the verification is uncertain.
  • Example: "Despite research showing no significant difference, medication X is probably better than medication Y for those over 65."
  • Something cannot be proven at present and is considered an opinion.
  • Examples of this include: future events not observed by scientific methods, past events without recorded evidence, and faith-based arguments.

Identifying Facts

There are certain signs that can help you determine whether something is a fact:

  • A fact is arrived at methodically and without bias.
  • Example: "Scientific measurements are a valid way to quantify data and draw conclusions."
  • A fact is witnessed by multiple unbiased individuals.
  • Example: "The temperature rose from -19 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit after 10 hours."
  • Verification from multiple sources is a common way to confirm something.
  • Example: "Although not televised, the football game was interrupted by a fan running onto the field. This was confirmed by my friends who were there and other witnesses who posted about it online." (Accompanied by an image of multiple people confirming an event.)
  • In certain situations, trusted sources and common knowledge can also be used to support facts.
  • Example: "According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, most birds are capable of flying." (Accompanied by an image of the dictionary.)

When writing an essay or analyzing a passage, it is important to rely on trusted sources and common knowledge in addition to personal opinions. By understanding the differences between opinions and facts, you can effectively support your arguments and strengthen your writing.

Tips for Avoiding Misleading Information

When it comes to information, it's crucial to ensure accuracy and reliability. Here are some ways to avoid being misled by false or misleading "facts".

  • Be cautious of unverified sources

Phrases like "studies show..." may sound convincing, but without citing the actual studies, they can be misleading. Even if a study is cited, it's important to consider the source and potential biases. Always question the reliability of the evidence being presented.

  • Pay attention to context

Generalizations can be misleading, especially when based on a single source or study. Don't rely on broad conclusions about a topic without sufficient evidence. Take the time to thoroughly analyze the context and sources of the information.

  • Don't blindly trust sets of information

Just because something is stated as a fact doesn't necessarily mean it supports a particular argument. For example, a statement about an AC unit working within manufacturer parameters may not necessarily mean it is energy efficient. Make sure to fully understand and verify all aspects of a set of information before using it as evidence.

It's also important to avoid using a large set of information to support a single argument. This can be misleading and weaken the overall credibility of your writing.

Tips for Evaluating Information for Your Argument

When conducting research for your argument, it's crucial to carefully evaluate the information you come across. Simply relying on all the information you find can lead to using false or biased information, weakening the strength of your argument. Instead, use these tips to ensure you are using accurate and reliable information to support your points.

  • Break down the information and use only what is relevant to your specific argument. This will help you avoid cluttering your argument with unnecessary information.
  • Beware of logical fallacies. These are flaws in reasoning that can lead to false conclusions. Some common fallacies to watch out for include arguments from authority, circular reasoning, and missing the point. Be aware of these fallacies and avoid using them in your own writing or when analyzing information.

The Difference Between Opinion and Fact

Understanding the difference between opinions and facts is key when evaluating information. Here are some key differences to keep in mind:

  • Verification: A fact is backed by evidence and can be verified, while an opinion is subjective and cannot be proven.
  • Example: "Many plants use sunlight to create nutrients from carbon dioxide and water" is a fact, while "Apples are the best fruit" is an opinion.
  • Opinions do not require verification and cannot be proven or disproven, while facts have been tested and proven through hypotheses.
  • Be sure to identify whether something is truly a fact before using it as evidence in your argument.

By being cautious of your sources, carefully evaluating context, and understanding the difference between fact and opinion, you can ensure that you are using accurate and reliable information to support your arguments.

Join Shiken For FREE

Gumbo Study Buddy

Explore More Subject Explanations

Try Shiken Premium
for Free

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime.
Get Started
Join 20,000+ learners worldwide.
The first 14 days are on us
96% of learners report x2 faster learning
Free hands-on onboarding & support
Cancel Anytime