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Fact versus Opinion

What is a fact?

A fact is an objective statement that is supported with evidence and can be proven to be true or false. It is a statement that everyone agrees is true. There is no argument. Facts may contain words like discover, demonstrate, confirm, evidence, data and statistics. An example: Most mathematical symbols were not invented until the 16th century. Before that, equations were written in words.

What is an opinion?

An opinion is a subjective statement that expresses a person’s feelings, attitudes or beliefs. These cannot be proven to be true or false. A viewpoint other people may not share. There could be argument and disagreement. Opinions contain descriptive words like always, never, possibly, probably, claim and argue. An example: Studying mathematics at school never fully prepares you for studying mathematics at university.

Fact vs Opinion Video

A basic overview of fact versus opinion.

Video Worksheet click here

Language Focus

Academic writing needs to illustrate both facts and opinions. This can be done in two ways: 1) Use facts to support opinions. 2 ) Use evidence to substantiate unknown factsYou can do this by:

fact vs opinion academic writing

PDF Lesson Download

 

 Fact versus Opinion [new 2022]

This lesson helps to improve students’ critical reading and academic writing skills by being able to identify and use fact and opinion. It includes a reflection exercise, a language review sheet and many guided and freer practice activities at sentence and paragraph level (worksheet example) Time: 120mins.  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

 

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Practice Exercises

Exercise 1: Fact versus Opinion Questions

Answer the questions about fact and opinion:

  1. When reading, how can you tell whether a statement is a fact or an opinion?
  2. What makes distinguishing between facts and opinions so difficult?
  3. If you are unsure if a statement is a fact, what could you do to find out?
  4. Why is it important to be able to distinguish between facts and opinions?
  5. How will your understanding of fact and opinion be assessed on the course you’re currently on?

1. When reading, how can you tell whether a statement is a fact or an opinion?

Facts can be proven easily and will be unchanged wherever you look. Opinions may differ across different sources and will contain descriptive words.

2. What makes distinguishing between facts and opinions so difficult?

Opinions are sometimes written as facts especially when the writer wants to be persuasive.

3. If you are unsure if a statement is a fact, what could you do to find out?

Check other sources of information. The fact is a fact and will be the same fact wherever you look.

4. Why is it important to be able to distinguish between facts and opinions?

It helps students to develop their critical thinking skills and helps them understand truth from belief.

5. How will your understanding of fact and opinion be assessed on the course you’re currently on?

Check your writing criteria under ‘use of sources’ or ‘development of ideas’, and will it be assessed in your reading test?

Exercise 2: Fact versus Opinion

Read the following sentences and identify which of the following sentences are facts and which are opinions.

 

1. Dave Asprey’s ‘upgrade labs’ help you to achieve peak performance, improve cognition and enhance longevity. Fact or Opinion
2. The Romans didn’t consider 0 to be a number. That’s why there are no zeros in Roman numerals. Fact or Opinion

3. Knowledge of Newtonian physics is completely irrelevant for people who wish to study quantum mechanics. Fact or Opinion

1. Dave Asprey’s ‘upgrade labs’ help you to achieve peak performance, improve cognition and enhance longevity. Opinion
2. The Romans didn’t consider 0 to be a number. That’s why there are no zeros in Roman numerals. Fact
3. Knowledge of Newtonian physics is completely irrelevant for people who wish to study quantum mechanics. Opinion

Exercise 3: Paragraph analysis

Read the paragraph on paleo diet and decide if each statement is a fact or an opinion. What helped you decide?

The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet first gained popularity approximately 10 years ago after research undertaken by Dr Cordain to discover the optimal human dieti. The diet mainly centres on consuming meat and fish, fruit and vegetables, and nuts and seedsii. Health experts consider it to be high in protein and fibre and low in carbohydrates and sugars, and it is often referred to in the field of nutrition as the ‘Stone Age’ diet as it aims to mimic what was eaten during the Paleolithic eraiii (The Nutrition Source, 2019).

The Paleo Diet

  Fact or Opinion How did you know?
i. Opinion No evidence to show how much popularity it has gained.
ii. Fact Simple description of the content of the diet.
iii. Fact Refers to an expert opinion.

Fact vs Opinion download

 

 Fact versus Opinion [new 2022]

This lesson helps to improve students’ critical reading and academic writing skills by being able to identify and use fact and opinion. It includes a reflection exercise, a language review sheet and many guided and freer practice activities at sentence and paragraph level (worksheet example) Time: 120mins.  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

 

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Academic description, analysis & evaluation download

 Academic description, analysis & evaluation [new 2021]

This lesson helps to improve students’ awareness and understanding of the difference between description, analysis and evaluation. It includes paragraph analysis, a detailed language review reference sheet and graph and sentence level quotation analysis. – see worksheet example. Time: 120mins.  Level ***** [[B2/C1]  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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