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Separating Fact from Opinion


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Separating Fact from Opinion

  1. 1. 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. - Bernard M Baruch American Financier 1870-1965
  2. 2. <ul><li>Unless you are writing an editorial or review, the stories you write are not about you or your opinion. Therefore, it's generally best to write your stories in the third person. </li></ul><ul><li>Good stories do include both fact and opinion. Opinions must be attributed to sources. Facts do not need to be attributed, unless they are contested or controversial. </li></ul><ul><li>Know the difference? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Let’s Get The Facts Straight! <ul><li>There is a difference between </li></ul><ul><li>FACT and OPINION. </li></ul><ul><li>Facts are statements that can be proven . </li></ul><ul><li>Opinions can not be proven . They are based on someone's thoughts, their feelings and their understanding. </li></ul><ul><li>Though you may be able to use facts to add credibility to an opinion, it is still an opinion! </li></ul><ul><li>Though an opinion may be widely accepted, that does not make it a fact. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Let’s Get The Facts Straight! A fact is something that can be proven by a reliable authority such as: Note : None of these authorities are fool proof, but information that they provide is considered to be fact. A history book An observation Governmental law Proven scientific law Statistics Mathematics Measurements
  5. 5. Lets Look at Some Examples of Facts Facts must have a reliable authority John F. Kennedy was President 1961-1963 History Book The adult human body has 206 bones Science 56% of US gun Deaths are suicides Statistic 21 is the legal drinking age in Cincinnati, OH Governmental Law
  6. 6. 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. You can bring in flowers of various sizes The shirt is green. You can bring in the shirt so that the color can be seen
  7. 7. Getting the Facts on Facts Some facts change over time. For example: <ul><ul><li>It was once considered to be a fact that the world was flat. </li></ul></ul>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 considered to be facts.
  8. 8. 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? excellent Apparently, John F. Kennedy was an President. the adult human body has more bones than necessary It is likely that the US suicide rate will decrease soon. It is unfair for the legal drinking age to be 21.
  9. 9. Types of Opinions <ul><li>There are Several Types of Opinions: </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis Statements </li></ul><ul><li>Theory Statements </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptive Statements </li></ul><ul><li>Value Statements </li></ul><ul><li>Exaggerated Statements </li></ul>Lets Take a Quick Look at all of them.
  10. 10. 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. For example, if I were to elaborate on a previous observation and say:
  11. 11. <ul><ul><li>The Theory of Relativity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Evolutionary Theory. </li></ul></ul>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: 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.
  12. 12. <ul><li>If Bill Clinton ran for NYC mayor he would definitely win. </li></ul><ul><li>The war in Iraq will eventually cost the US all of its allies. </li></ul><ul><li>When the new Matt Damon movie comes out it will definitely be at the top of the charts! </li></ul>Types of Opinions: Statements of Assumption An assumptive statement is an opinion that is an improvable prediction. Here are three examples Though these are stated as though they are true, they are only assumptive opinions.
  13. 13. <ul><li>Colin Powell is an excellent candidate for president. </li></ul><ul><li>The use of animals in lab testing is cruel and must be stopped. </li></ul><ul><li>The Bahamas is the most beautiful place on Earth. </li></ul>Types of Opinions: Statements of Value A value statement is any claim that is based on someone's beliefs. Here are three examples Value Statements are often opinions attempting to sway the reader to a certain belief.
  14. 14. <ul><li>There were millions of people rioting on the streets of down town Cincinnati. </li></ul><ul><li>The president has not made one good decision since he has been in office! </li></ul>Types of Opinions: Statements of Exaggeration An exaggerated statement is one that embellishes the facts, often to sway the reader. Here are two examples Writers often use exaggeration to make their point more clear. They are still opinions.
  15. 15. 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! Perhaps Apparently Experts Agree Necessary Best / Worst Successful Maybe Probably
  16. 16. Getting the Facts About Opinions <ul><li>An opinion is not necessarily wrong, it is merely not a provable fact. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Bridgett is a very beautiful young lady.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Even if everyone agreed with this statement, it is still an opinion because it is not provable. Beauty is relative. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Keeping Your Facts Straight Do you think that you can separate facts from opinions? The next slide will have five statements. Decide whether each statement is a fact , or an opinion . Write down you answers on a separate sheet of paper.
  18. 18. <ul><li>The best way to choose a spouse is based on brains, not beauty. </li></ul><ul><li>The car probably stopped running because it ran out of gas. </li></ul><ul><li>The Mac computer lab is in Blodgett Hall. </li></ul><ul><li>If I were to go on to receive my Bachelors, I would not be successful. </li></ul><ul><li>There are 121 prescription drugs that come from plants. </li></ul>Keeping Your Facts Straight Separate the facts from the opinions.
  19. 19. Keeping Your Facts Straight How well did you do? The best way to choose a spouse is based on brains, not beauty. - Opinion: value statement The car probably stopped running because it ran out of gas. - Opinion: hypothesis The Mac lab is in Blodgett Hall. - Fact If I were to go on to receive my Bachelors, I would not be successful. - Opinion: Assumption There are 121 prescription drugs that come from plants. - Fact
  20. 20. The End