Fact or Opinion? Do You Know The Difference?

What is a Fact?

A fact is an objective piece of information that can be verified. “Facts are usually expressed by precise numbers or quantities, in weights and measures, and in concrete language. The decisions of Congress, specific technological data, birth records, historical documents, all provide researchers with reliable facts,” (San Luis Obispo County Community College District).

Facts can be verified through reference books like dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Facts can be verified through Congressional records, historical documents, and even newspaper reports. There are a variety of sources available to verify whether or not something is a fact.

It does not matter how many people believe a particular thing. Lots of people believing something does not make it a fact. It simply means a lot of people share a particular opinion, or that a lot of people are poorly informed.


Source

What is an Opinion?

An opinion is a subjective piece of information that cannot be verified. It is a belief that someone holds, usually based on a particular individual’s values and perspectives. Opinions may or may not be based on fact, and often include a strong emotional component.

A writer may express an opinion with what are sometimes referred to as weasel words. She may have done this. It is believed that this happened. She seems to be conscious. He appears to be the perpetrator. The words I have written in italics are the weasel words. They are not concrete. “She seems to be conscious,” is an opinion, but “She is conscious,” is a concrete statement based on fact.

Whose Opinion Matters?

Some people’s opinions have more weight or credibility than other people’s opinions. That is because some people have more knowledge and experience on the subject they are opining about. The opinions of people who are experts or authorities in their respective fields are generally given more weight and considered more reliable and credible than the opinions of people who have little or no verifiable knowledge and experience on the subject of focus.

For example, most people (most means 51% or more, not 100%) give more weight to a statement or opinion on our economy by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, or Paul Volcker, Chairman of the Federal Reserve during the Carter and Reagan Administrations, than they do to Billy Ray Cyrus, American Country Music Artist, or Cher, star of music, films, and more. That is because Reich and Volcker have knowledge and direct experience on the subject of the U.S. economy.

Someone who may be successful in the entertainment business probably has limited knowledge, or no knowledge, of how to run an economy the size of the United States. They may be geniuses in the entertainment world, but when it comes to the United States economy, their opinion has no substantive relevance. Just because someone holds a lofty position as a celebrity or a politician does not mean everything they say is accurate and true.

Just because someone is a rock star in the world of science, mathematics, philosophy, or medicine, does not mean they are knowledgeable about investment, history, art, or anything else outside of their specific field of study. Someone may be an expert in a field outside their main field of study as a result of extensive experience in that particular area, but it is still a good idea to always verify their statements before accepting them as fact.

Knowing the Difference Between Fact and Opinion is Essential

Knowing the difference between fact and opinion is essential for good reading comprehension. If a person cannot tell the difference between fact and opinion, they cannot judge whether the information being presented has value and credibility.

Sometimes people will say or write things in a manner to suggest they are presenting facts when they are not. There are a lot of different reasons why people sometimes do this, but it is usually a simple matter to check the validity of their statement and verify if what they have said or written is accurate and true.

I have written a hub explaining how to evaluate the credibility and dependability of websites, writers, television commentators, and others. My hub will help you determine if a source is credible and reliable for using as a reference in research papers, as support for your position in a discussion, or just simply knowing if someone’s statement is truthful and straightforward. You can access my hub on Evaluating Information Sources here.

Examples of Fact and Opinion

Here are some examples of factual statements and expressions of opinion. See if you can tell the difference. The ‘answers’ are given below the list of statements.

1. Stephanie walked to the store yesterday. (Fact or Opinion?)

2. I assume Adam is gay since he’s 45 years old and never been married. (Fact or Opinion?)

3. Yesterday’s high temperature was 98 degrees Fahrenheit. (Fact of Opinion?)

4. I think Joshua probably knew he was going to be promoted several weeks before it actually happened. (Fact or Opinion?)

5. Jennifer is a feminist and everyone knows all feminists hate men. (Fact or Opinion?)

6. Six plus four equals ten. (Fact or Opinion?)

7. No one ever uses algebra once they graduate from college. (Fact or Opinion?)

8. Marianne is a selfish person, because she doesn’t want to have children. (Fact or Opinion?)

Answers: Numbers 1, 3, and 6, are factual statements. All the other statements are opinion.

References for this hub:

Kmartin90. Fact or Opinion. April 4, 2011. You Tube. Online. Internet 18 November, 2011. Available http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROJnQuq1hpc

San Luis Obispo Country Community College District. Academic Support, November 6, 2003. Online. Internet 13 November 2011. Available http://academic.cuesta.edu/acasupp/as/310.HTM

Wikipedia. Robert Reich, November 5, 2011. Online. Internet 13 November 2011. Available http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Reich

Wikipedia. Paul Volcker, November 2, 2011. Online. Internet 13 November 2011. Available http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Volcker

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Comments 96 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 months ago from North Texas Author

Kathleen, thank you for reading and for your compliment and sharing!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Great work! Definitely sharing.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 14 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W., thank you for commenting on this article. Yes, indeed some candidates are stretching the truth a bit to get noticed, and it always pays to fact check.

I positively love the cooler temps and the cloudy mornings. I love when neither the heat or the a/c are required. Wish it could be like this all the time! Hope all is going great for you!!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 14 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W., thank you for commenting on this article. Yes, indeed some candidates are stretching the truth a bit to get noticed, and it always pays to fact check.

I positively love the cooler temps and the cloudy mornings. I love when neither the heat or the a/c are required. Wish it could be like this all the time! Hope all is going great for you!!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 14 months ago from Houston, Texas

Now that we are gearing up for the next elections and the political debates are televised and written up with the meaning of what they said spun this way and that...it is good to keep facts in mind when evaluating candidates. Sharing this again.

Enjoy those cooler temps in north Texas. We certainly are down here in Houston!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Jerry Lip, thank you for stopping by and sharing your opinion.

Most dictionaries agree that truth and fact are the same thing. If something has not been proven or cannot be proven, how can one be rock solid certain it is fact or true?

Just because one person or thousands of people, or a group of people somewhere between 1 and a million believe something is true or fact does not make it so. No matter how many times someone or many someones repeat something verbally, it does not become a fact if it cannot be, or has not been proven (verified). Believe I covered this in the above article.

If in FACT 'these are indeed the 'cold hard facts of the case,' then they have been proven or verified. If they cannot be proven or verified then they are not 'cold hard facts.' They are someone trying to convince you of their own beliefs and opinions by using certain words and phrases.

Fact is not an issue of being 'potentially' verifiable. It is an issue of being rock solid proven and verified. Nothing potential about it.

Attorneys often use certain words and phrases that are anything but accurate in order to persuade a judge or jury, especially in television dramas. I wouldn't take anything I see on a 'lawyer' TV program overly seriously. You might want to verify what happens and what is said in those programs to make sure they are accurate (facts) when it comes to laws and statutes in the real world.

It sounds like you have your own definition of 'fact' Mr. Lip. There were, and sadly still are, people who believe it is a fact that certain people in this world are subhuman and inferior because of their color and/or sex, but that is a 'fact' in their own imaginations. Not all of us share their so-called facts about that, nor does science, and that is equally true of anything else that cannot be proven or 'verified.' In fact, the opposite has been proven (verified) -- neither skin color nor the biological sex one happens to be indicates intelligence or level of humanness.

I don't know what arguments you are talking about since facts are facts and there can be no argument that they are facts. It is a fact that all humans require oxygen. Where is the argument in that? I could write a book listing a gazillion facts and there could be no argument about any of them. If there is argument about a so-called fact it is usually because somebody is uninformed, uneducated, or the issue in question really isn't a fact at all -- just someone wanting to hang onto a belief they have that really is not a fact. Perhaps it is wishful thinking on their parts.

If it is not verified or verifiable, then it is neither truth or fact because truth and fact are the same thing.


Jerry Lip 2 years ago

The lesson highlights the inherent difficulty in trying to teach fact versus opinion if fact is take only to mean "can be verified". The dictionary says fact also means "true"; consider the dictionary example "These are the cold hard facts of the case". Few people will say the speaker means "potentially verifiable". Yet lessons tend to awkwardly posture that that meaning of "facts" is not valid or relevant. Items 5 and 7 above are *potentially verifiable, so they are "facts" by that standard, but they are not facts by the other meaning of "facts".

http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/fact

I've seen several lesson plans try to claim that certain statements are not facts when they are "facts" according to the terms of the lesson. I'm surprised to see so many sample lessons (and the text in my school) neglect that strong arguments need to be credible and reasonable, not merely "potentially verifiable".


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Rebeccamealey, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. Some people might be surprised at how few people the difference between fact and opinion, but after being out in the general population nothing surprises me.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for Google+ing and sharing this article!!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Well explained, Au Fait. I'll bet we would be surprised by the number of people that really can't distinguish between fact and opinion.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

Sharing this good article again and will G+ it as well.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W, for tweeting this article!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

I am going to share this hub of yours further by tweeting it. Perhaps it will make people think! :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Sam, sounds like a blizzard to me. Hope all is well and that the blizzard is over and you're all shoveled out. There's always a big clean up after a blizzard.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 2 years ago

Thank you Au Fait. There is a snowstorm up here where I live right now and it may count as a blizzard. If it is a blizzard its the first one I have ever experienced and my mom says that the last time there was a blizzard up here was 30 years ago. So far we are getting tons of snow and we have to keep taking turns shoveling it. Its not supposed to stop for another 9 hours.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Agree with you Sam. From my PSYC studies I know that however difficult it may be, we can control our emotions (unless we're mentally challenged). If we don't control our tempers and our hate, we can end up in prison, sometimes for life, or even on death row. I think the person you're talking about has trouble accepting responsibility for anything, not just his actions when under the influence of emotions.

Have a good day!


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 2 years ago

There was this guy who commented on an article. He said that emotions are not necessarily something to de proud of because although they do help us they also sometimes get us into dangerous situations. I don't really think that can be blamed on emotions I think that is more of the fault of the person who failed to control their emotions and also had bad judgment. Emotions are something for humans to be proud of for a number of reasons one of which being because they are part of what make us what we are and who we are.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

There is no end to the many subjects on science that you could write about. Looking forward to your next article . . . Happy New Year!


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 2 years ago

Thank you Au Fait. I am going to get back to writing more articles but I need to think of some ideas first.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by, Sam.

The bill that was passed in October that removed so many veterans and children from the Food Stamp program also took away some of the rights farm animals, particularly corporate livestock had slowly been given over time.

However, in general, animals already have more rights and requirements for fair treatment than humans do. If animals had been treated as I and my coworkers were treated on some of the jobs I've held, the people who treated them as they treated us would have been fined and possibly even jailed.

Since some animals are able to communicate with us mainly through their own efforts, not our ability to communicate with them, I think some of them should be looked upon in a different light than they currently are.

Lots of people abuse animals because they believe they have no emotions and seem to think they have no ability to feel physical pain either. Sadly, there are some truly mean people in this world who love to mistreat and abuse animals.

Have a Happy New year Sam!


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 2 years ago

Speaking of speciesism and animal rights I recently read something interesting on the internet called biological uplifting. Biological uplifting is a process where scientists biologically uplift animals to give them human-like or near human-like intelligence. This has never been done before though it has been talked about in science fiction and it might require methods of science that are not yet developed. The reason why some people want to do this is because they want to make animals intellectual and social equals to humans they figure why should we humans keep science, technology, culture, art etc when we can share all of these things with other intelligent animals.

This wouldn't be done to all animals however it would only be done to the most intelligent animals such as apes, dolphins, whales and elephants. Of course they are not sure if animals would want this or not so to see if animals would want to be uplifted or not they would take a few individual animals and uplift them to be spokespersons for the rest of their species. If the rest of their species wants to be uplifted than they will be uplifted but if the rest of their species does not want to be uplifted than they will remain wild. It is still unknown if this can be done or not and if it can be done is it legal and ethical. If this were done than humans would have to start taking speciesism and animal rights a lot more seriously.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Sam (samowhamo), thank you for stopping by. I have responded to your above comments on one or your hubs. Hope you're ready for Christmas because it's almost here! Merry Christmas!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Jainismus for reading and commenting on this article. I did my best to help people know the difference between opinion and fact because in truth, a lot of people do not seem to know that difference.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 2 years ago

Thank you Au Fait. Yes in a sense your coworker may practice speciesism and yes human life is important I don't deny that but I also believe that animal life is important because they do feel pain and fear like humans do and some animals like apes feel very human-like emotions.

Thank you Au Fait Merry Christmas and I hope you got the Christmas card that I sent you through E-Mail. :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Interesting thoughts Sam (Samowhamo). In fact, animals and children have the rights adults in charge give them. Those are their only rights and they can be taken away just as they were given in the first place. It's even worse than that. Adults with power make the rules so that even adults from less powerful levels of society may not be given much consideration.

Sometimes it seems like animals have more rights than humans and other times when animals are horribly abused the punishment is dependent on who the abuser was -- just like with any other crime. Originally it was intended that every human in our democratic society would be equal under the law, but we have been deviating from that idea more and more as time goes on. Now wealthy people often receive more leniency than ordinary or poor people. There are now laws in many cities making it a crime to be poor (homeless). Do you know any laws against being rich regardless of how someone got that way?

The farm bill that recently passed (October) cutting food stamps is rumored to have also undone many of the laws passed over the years against animal cruelty on farms and in processing plants. I haven't researched that so I don't know if it is true, but it may be. Money is the bottom line and if treating animals humanely is going to cost money, well . . .

Man has always been the 'alpha predator.' Only in recent times has anyone concerned themselves to any extent with treating animals humanely. Some animals are protected species, but enforcing that law 100% is often difficult, and if it is broken by a wealthy person, chances are they will get a light slap on the hand, if anything at all.

Wealthy people believe that the law doesn't apply to them the same as it does to people of ordinary means, and for the most part, that would seem to be true.

I have a coworker who believes animals should be treated better than humans. She has told me that if she were in an accident while transporting one or more of her 5 dogs, she would direct emergency workers to take care of her dogs before bothering with herself or any human passengers that might be in her vehicle. I know she would be very frustrated because directed to do so or not, emergency workers will follow their usual ways of doing things unless they see a good reason to do otherwise.

Wouldn't you say that my coworker practices speciesism? She is the opposite extreme. The needs of people will usually be put ahead of animals. Even the Bible does that. Yes, a person's life is more important than the life of a mouse. To my knowledge mice have no rights in our society at all, nor do most vermin or insects, etc. Maybe in a laboratory mice have protections, but I doubt a lot of resources will be expended to enforce those protections.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 2 years ago from Pune, India

Interesting, well described and eye opening Hub.

Most people get confused with facts and opinions. You have pointed the difference.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 2 years ago

Hi Au Fat. I wanted to ask you (I didn't know where else to ask this) what are your views on speciesism. Speciesism is the discrimination of animals on the belief that humans matter more than animals. I do of course believe that human life is special but I also believe that animal life is special. There was this guy who said and I quote (Speciesism is laughable. My life is far more important than that of a mouse. Animals have the right not to be tortured but other than that they are just prey. Man has become the alpha predator and heck if it were something else I wouldn't expect mercy.) I disagree with him I don't think it is laughable I do agree that animals may not have the same rights as humans but they do at least have basic rights such as the right to exist and not to wiped out.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Dee aka Nonna, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. Very much appreciate your comments. I know a lot of people who do not know the difference between facts and opinions, and indeed believe they can make up facts to suit themselves as they go.

I hope you will send the URL of this article to the person you mentioned and then we will both hope that it has a positive effect -- but don't hold your breath . . . ;)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Kathleen Cochran for your very astute comments and for sharing this article. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Moonlake, thank you for reading, sharing your thoughts on this subject, and for voting on and sharing this article! Someone (not a hubber) let me know I had a wrong photo in my article about mesquite trees and I took the photo off. I thought it didn't seem quite right, but despite having researched and written about that tree, I've never actually seen one up close. I think nowadays a lot of people are sure they have all the answers so what other people think doesn't matter to them.

Thanks again, and hope this holiday weekend is filled with family and peace for you.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 3 years ago

Really enjoyed reading this article. Had to laugh because I know someone who does not know the difference, everything that comes out of their month is a "fact". Maybe I should give this to them....?


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

What a wonderful hub that every writer on HubPages should read! In fact, most folks should read this article and sear the difference between the two into their brains. It's all well and good to have your own opinions. But facts are facts, no matter how much you don't like them. SHARING


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

No one listens to my opinion at all. Facts are important there are a few things I know for fact and when I see something I know is not a fact but an opinion I hate keeping my mouth closed but I do.

I saw someone put up a picture of a maple tree she said she took a picture of this beautiful maple tree. Our yard is full of maples and I knew her photo was not a maple but a gumball tree. I didn't correct her I just kept it to myself. It was a gumball and that is a fact. Voted up and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for sharing this article!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Sam, I hope you get your computer working again soon. I really enjoy your hubs! Thanks for letting me know.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Denise Handlon, for reading, commenting, and voting on this article. It seems to me that an awful lot of people are confused about the two, and as stated in some of the comments on this page, some people even imagine that if enough people believe something it becomes a fact. It doesn't matter how many people believe a lie, it will never become the truth.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

Thank you Au Fait. I wanted to let you know that for a while (I don't know how long) I can't write more articles because my computer is having problems and I need to get it looked at (I would tell you this through Email but my Email is down to and I can't access and I am typing this on my moms computer). I will leave comments every few days and respond to them when if there are any on my articles but until I get my computer fixed I can't write more articles I don't know how long it will take but as I said I will leave comments every few days so you will know I am still here. Good night Au Fait. :)


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

Useful information for those still confused by the two: fact and opinion. Well written, and I especially love your examples at the end. UP/U and I


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

This is a great hub Au fait and I am sharing it again.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Sam (samowhamo). Often people believe opinion is fact because they hear something and don't bother to check it for validity. Sometimes people imagine that they can turn opinion into fact if enough people believe it. For example, if they believe that if enough people believe the sky is not blue at all, but really orange, then eventually all those people will have turned their opinions into fact. What does that tell you about these people?

Sometimes people use the expression "I know this" simply because it is a common expression and using it has become a habit for them. Like saying to their child, "If you do that I'm going to kill you!" In most cases (hopefully all cases) they aren't going to kill anybody, it's just a habitual expression some people use without thinking.

Facts can be proven as stated in this article. Opinions that are nothing more than opinions cannot be proven.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

Something else I wanted to ask. Do people sometimes say I know this or I know that just to make their opinion sound like fact because I have noticed quite a few people do that before where some people have said I know this or I know that to make their opinion sound more like fact I don't know how many of them were opinion and how many were fact though but I am pretty sure that some of them definitely were just opinion.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Shyron, for the votes, the pin and the share! A lot of people do seem to get fact and opinion confused with each other for some reason . . .


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Au fait, this is a great hub, with things that needed to be said or explained.

Voted-up UABI, shared and pinned.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Sam (samowhamo), for reading and commenting on this article! A lot of people do seem to be confused as to exactly what is fact what is only opinion.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

This reminds me of a personal quote of mine it goes (Just because someone says something is true or false or thinks something is true or false that doesn't necessarily mean it is true or false.) People very often make that mistake however they sometimes even write things down in complete capital letters like YES THEY DO THIS or NO IT WAS NOT just to make it look more true honestly who are they trying to convince others or themselves.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you DDE for reading, commenting, voting on, sharing on FB, and Tweeting this article! Also, for your kind praise.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

jainismus, thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing this article!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thanks for such a useful, interesting and most helpful hub on the fact and opinion. An superb write up on this topic so much one can relearn and always come back to read voted up and tweeted, facebook shared, and LIKED.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 3 years ago from Pune, India

Thanks, this is useful. You have described well the difference between fact and opinion.

Shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Deborah-Diane, for stopping in and commenting. As an educated person I'm sure you know that not all sources are created equal.

Accepting anything simply because a person heard it on TV, radio, or saw it in print somewhere -- especially in a forwarded email, is just plain, well, not wise.

Sometimes I have checked accusations or statements made in some of the forwarded emails I receive and it took me at least 30 SECONDS to prove them wrong. Instead of wasting their precious 30 seconds to discover the truth, many people just send the email on, and by doing that they are helping to spread the misinformation and sometimes out and out lies. It's often as bad or worse than gossip.

For some reason a lot of people seem to believe that if enough people think a certain thing it becomes a fact. Not so. That is not how facts are born. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for commenting Sam (samowhamo). Yes, lots of people do get fact and opinion confused with each other, which is why I wrote this hub. For some reason some people think anything announced on television or radio is fact. They think anything in print (email forwards) is fact. They even think gossip and rumor are fact. I don't argue with those people . . .


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

This is an article everyone should read ... and I will post it on my Interesting Articles board. One of the disadvantages of all the "forwarded emails" and "shared Facebook" posts I see is that people are constantly posting things or emailing things that have not been fact-checked or have been taken out of context or distorted or are completely misleading. While I have taken issue at times with political candidates of both parties, I get my back up when I get emails and see Facebook posts that completely distort the truth. I think they harm the side sending them out, rather than help them.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

Interesting article I think that in this day and age we often confuse fact for opinion and vice versa I could give a lot of examples of opinions that people believe are fact and truth so of which believe in it so strongly it gets to where it makes the person delusional or even sociopathic.

Voted up and interesting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W, for pinning this hub! It is indeed one of my most popular hubs through Google.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

You are certainly getting lots of comments on this hub! Going to pin this!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, Cat, appreciate your understanding. During the week there is hardly time to do anything except grab something to eat, shower, and jump into bed so I can get a little sleep before my 4:30 AM alarm goes off to start the whole thing over again. If I take time to answer comments, it comes out of my sleep. If I can't sleep, sometimes I'll work on comments. No point in wasting time trying to sleep if I can't because then nothing at all gets done.

I feel bad because with so little time I can't get to things as quickly as I would like. I really appreciate the interest people show by taking their own time to leave comments. Everyone's time is precious and I'm honored when anyone shares some of theirs with me.

Hope you're having a great weekend. You deserve it!


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

Thank you; each of your comments only spurs more thoughts of my own:D

And please, never feel the need to apologize for timing of responses, though I can certainly understand. My notifications get buried so deep in my email, I feel guilty how long I take to get back to a comment myself.

With all you do, I'm sure you are extremely busy and yet, you manage to have a strong presence here too!

Cat


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, you make valid points also, and your comments add useful points to this hub. I appreciate that.

So many people do not listen and therefore never learn anything new. They live their life by assumptions rather than facts. Instead of hearing or reading what someone has said, they make their own assumptions and replace the words with their own and often feel quite proud of themselves for their great logic -- when in fact they have no logic because they have not addressed the words that were written, but made up their own.

Very much appreciate your insights, Cat. I apologize for taking so long to respond, but during the week there is hardly ever a minute to call my own. Sometimes I pop in here for a minute or 5, and then I'm off to somewhere and something else.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

Do you know how hard I had to look to find the notification for this in my email? Otherwise, I would've been here at least 8 days ago.

Anyway, I laughed a couple of times. You're thoughts on wasted talking reminded me of elementary school. I remember flailing my hand around in the air, desperately waiting for the teacher to inquire what I wanted. I remember her looking at me and I thought, finally! She said "Catherine, put your hand down! You can't possibly be listening to what I'm saying if you're thinking about what you're wanting to say!" I was embarrassed, enough so that I have thought about that much of the rest of my life. Do you ever notice the glazed look on someone's face when you just know they aren't listening but waiting their turn to talk? As far as I'm concerned, at that point, they may as well just cut me off because I'd just assume not waste my breath talking to deaf ears.

The handle thing; that's tooooo funny. I just started to think about this myself. Just because you're screaming doesn't mean anyone's listening... it's like a day at my house :D

Thanks for the laughs and valid points!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cat, (Cantuhearmescream), it's never hard for me to walk away. I try not to get started in the first place because I know some of these people will simply not get it. Often because their minds are closed, and instead of listening they are merely waiting for the end of my sentences so they can start talking again. A very smart friend told me a long time ago, "You can't learn anything when your jaws are flapping." ;) I've always remembered that sage advice.

I learned in psychology that trying to change someone's mind once they've made it up is extremely difficult and likely to be a waste of time.

I don't find your handle difficult to type. Even though it is longer than most, it's easier to remember long enough to type than some of the combinations of letters/names/numbers etc., that some people have. I actually like it because it says a lot. Of course as we have already determined, the answer to Cantuhearmescream is, in most cases, no.

Thank you for your continued interest in this subject . . .


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

You're absolutely right, it is not worth the time to argue with those who will fight only in opinion and deny fact. Sometimes it is hard to walk away because you have a hope that you might be able to show them the err of their ways, but even after I stubbornly walk away, I'm always amazed to see how long others will continue to go back and forth. After a while, it all just sounds like a broken record because everyone just continues repeating the same thing.

Cat


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, I understand your frustration. You are correct in that many people do not understand 'an open mind' and they also want everyone to believe what they believe, value what they value, and if anyone does not agree with them, then they are simply wrong. I am talking opinion here, which cannot be proven one way or the other, but some people imagine that it can.

Faced with facts, these same people will deny them and cling instead to their opinions, which may have little or no relevance when challenged by facts.

Once most people have made up their minds they are no longer listening or using any kind of critical thinking skills. Trying to change someone's mind is one of the most difficult things anyone can attempt and is usually a waste of time. Sadly, some people can't even understand certain concepts. When I find myself in conversation with one of these, I try to find a way to move on because time is precious. Anyone who can look at facts and deny them is not worth arguing with.

Thank you for your continued interest in this subject. :)


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

I think you're a step ahead of me; I'm just learning how to "give up".

Yes, the faith thing, oh how that bothers me! I've gotten to the point where I'd just assume stay out of religious conversations all together, because it is inevitable that someone will be on the "other side" of the issue and when it comes to faith... there is nooooo reasoning. I simply refuse to fight about it and so that means I cannot even discuss it. I've ran into a couple of small arguments starting here about religion and I try to run away as fast as I can :-)

Honestly, and I almost fear saying it, but it is my "open mindedness" that seems to frustrate others with me. There is a difference between being indecisive and open minded. There are so many factors to consider when addressing almost anything and I'm the type of person that likes to get the best understanding about all versions before I commit to or fight for anything. I'm not even really referring to religion, but anything in general. It's almost as if people want you to not be open-minded and willing to learn about all sides, but rather firmly choose a side and stand there. I think I'd be losing out on learning a lot of things if I simply chose the first thing I hear about any subject each time. It is frustrating, that's for sure, now... if we could only get narrow minded people to read this!

Cat


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, I have reached a place where I no longer bother to discuss certain issues with people who are obviously uninformed.

I'm sure you know how much people want to share their own faith with you but want nothing to do with even hearing about yours. Pretty much the same thing. Closed minds who think they have all the answers -- certainly all the answers that matter and theirs are right.

Some people are just positive that they are superior. They already know everything worth knowing (including all about the weather) as per above.

Don't waste your time and energy on people who have no idea of what you're talking about anyway. Especially when they demonstrate that they don't want to learn. It upsets them. Thank you for your continued interest in this subject. :)


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

It's bad enough that you can't sway another person's opinion, but when they won't even listen to yours, especially after you've graciously allowed them to voice their opinion to you, that truly frustrates me. Arguing about the weather, ha... I think some people just like to hear themselves!

Yeah, tell that to the stubborn people who think their opinions are factual :-)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, you are so right in that trying to reason with some people is simply a waste of time. Generally once someone has made up their mind it's all but impossible to change it, and often just as impossible to even get them to listen much less consider a different viewpoint. I actually know people who will argue about the weather! ;)

Opinions can never be facts, they can only be viewpoints about facts or viewpoints about conjectures, but they can never be or become facts.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

There ignorance might be their bliss but it's our agony :-) I have actually debated with people that have nothing but opinions and they simply won't give up. They refuse to believe their opinions aren't some kind of unproven facts. That's when you need to give up and walk away because you just can't get through to those people.

It's true and too bad what you say about a difference of opinion becoming a personal attack. I am never offended by anyone's opinion, sure I might not agree with it, but I have comfort in knowing it's just opinions and fortunately not facts... others though, yes I've seen get so frustrated and try to turn your opinion into an incorrect "fact"; that's the differnce between a fact and an opinion.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject of opinion vs. facts. You are so right when you say people imagine they can turn their opinions into facts if they just repeat them often enough -- that is the ignorance part. The bliss part is that they do not realize their own ignorance or how obvious it is to some of us.

Most people rely on opinions because they do not know the facts. It has been my experience that a difference of opinion can go downhill very quickly and end up being a personal attack when opinions are exhausted and no facts are known.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

That's the problem ignorance and they say ignorance is bliss? These throwers of opinions don't even realize they don't have a leg to stand on but figure the more opinions they throw around, the more valuable they are. Anyone can debate opinions all day, but it is much harder to debate facts.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

You are correct Cantuhearmescream, most people do not have the facts. The sad part is they don't care about having the facts. Getting the facts might be work, and who wants more work? Easier to parrot what one has heard on TV or from a neighbor or friend.

If an opinion isn't based on facts it generally has no validity. People who have only opinions and no facts rarely ever realize that they have no credibility with people who do have facts. Most people don't care about being accurate, they only care about fitting in with their equally uninformed circle of friends and relatives.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

No, I don't think people will become comfortable with that assessment because the "fact" is that many people don't have the facts but everyone has an opinion. People want to jump into a conversation and if they don't have facts to support their claim then they'll just throw around as many opinions as they can... I see it all too often. It's a tragedy really :-)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub, and for the votes. Glad you like my handle.

Ideally opinions should be based on fact rather than gossip or hearsay, or what one wishes or thinks 'ought' to be as opposed to what is. Do you think people will ever become comfortable with that assessment? ;)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Paul Kuehn, for reading, commenting, voting on, and for sharing/pinning/tweeting this article! Greatly appreciate your kind compliments and agree that all students need instruction on this issue -- so do many adults. ;)


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

(Love the name by the way :-) Isn't it funny how some people fight and debate in opinions? Opinions can be useful, but not when they are all you have to go on and clearly if two people disagree, opinions aren't going to mean much of anything. Anyway, I'd like to make a memo of this!

Voted up and useful!

Cat


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Au Fait,

This is an awesome hub which everyone and especially students should read. In my 5th and 6th grade EFL reading classes I have explained the difference between fact and opinion using examples similar to what you have cited in this article. It is so important to know the facts when making decisions. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

gtygy, I have no idea what is meant by the comment you left, but thank you for stopping by.


gtygy 3 years ago

fnenthibq7k


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Sweetie1 for reading and commenting on this hub! You are correct in the difference between Fact & Opinion. ;)


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 3 years ago from India

Au fait, I see how different it can be and the examples you gave clearly put your point. For me Fact don't change with situation. If a girl came to school yesterday she came and it can not change but opinion changes like the girl who came to school yesterday I thought highly of her but today I feel she is not even worth my time thinking. Also Opinion can be given suiting your objectives just like political opinions are given.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for reading, commenting, voting, and especially sharing this hub! Yes, fact and opinion are 2 very different animals and it's unfortunate that so many people believe they can create one from the other. It doesn't work that way.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Jeff Berndt, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub and for the votes. Appreciate your compliments too.

Agree that people sometimes use what I call 'weasel words,' to express an opinion instead of a fact. I do myself, but mainly in an attempt to avoid an argument. Which is why I call them weasel words. Of course an argument is not always avoided because so many people do not understand the meaning (or even hear them in many cases) of those weasel words.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

RTalloni, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! Your statement is well known and true, unfortunately so many people do not understand the definition of opinion or how to identify it and therefore seem to believe they can manufacture their own facts.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan

An excellent and useful article, one that many people ought to read. But alas, I've found the people who most need to read things are often the people least likely to do so. (That's my opinion, supported by anecdotal evidence only, but there we are.)

I take issue, however, with your characterization of "Seems to" or "It appears that"or "may" as "weasel words." They often do get used as "weasel words," no doubt, but some folks use such words not to /disguise/ opinion as fact, but to /point out/ that they're expressing an opinion instead of a fact. I've done this myself.

Excellent work, though, and voted useful.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Reminds me of two things: Definitions are important, and the quote, "Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Au fait,

You have given people some room for thought here. Facts are very different from opinions as you have so well illustrated with your examples. When we do important things like casting our vote in elections, our decisions should be made using facts and we should not be swayed by opinions which can be far from the mark. Up, useful, interesting and will share.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

jeyaramd: This hub is not about gossip or what people think about other people per se. It is about judging the quality of information on the Internet especially, but also in periodicals and other places regarding news, blogs, and research papers.

Appreciate your comments. Realize you are probably a busy guy like we all are, and hopefully you will get an opportunity to read beyond the title of this hub next time. You take care too.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Trsmd: My opinion was not posted on this page. Everything I wrote was the 'opinion' of people far more informed about this subject than myself. I happen to agree with them, but this is not about me.

Even so, thank you for your comments.


jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 4 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

Opinions are what others say about you. Fact is what others can prove about you in the court room with factual evidence. I think its important to not be too worried about negative opinions of others. They are just opinions. Sometimes, we treat these opinions as if they were facts. I hope that answers your question. Take care.


Trsmd profile image

Trsmd 4 years ago from India

In fact, your opinion posted in this page was extraordinary. Thanks for SHARING :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you whoisbid for your comment. You do have an interesting and unusual way of looking at things!


whoisbid profile image

whoisbid 5 years ago

If enough people believe an opinion, it can become a fact for that group


Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub leroy64. It gets easier with time.


leroy64 profile image

leroy64 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

Thanks. This is issue I struggle with, both in my reading and my writing. I will bookmark this hub.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for taking time to read and comment on my hub Paladin -- you have a very interesting and unusual way of thinking.

Thank you Clippy34 for your comments.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 5 years ago from Michigan, USA

I'm not sure number 7 ("No one ever uses algebra once they graduate from college") qualifies strictly as "opinion." It is something that could actually be verified as either true or not true, given the proper survey methods.

Actually, the "no one" beginning of the statement makes it quite easily verifiable, for all one has to do is find ONE person who uses algebra after they graduate to prove it false. Thus, such a statement is not "factual" only because it is most likely not true.

Just thought you should know...


Clippy34 5 years ago

It would be nice if our politicians could tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Also to answer a straight question with a straight answer.

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