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Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas
for Semester 2 Reading Lessons...
Reading: Fact or Opinion?
Lesson Objectives: To
distinguish fact from opinion when reading.
How Do You Separate Fact from Opinion?
According to Webster's Dictionary a fact is "anything that is done or
happens; anything actually existent; any statement strictly true; truth;
Three examples of facts
that are concrete and that could be documented include:
1.The house was
painted on November 18, 1999.
2.Today is Saturday.
3.My son had a temperature of one hundred and two degrees this morning.
Whereas an opinion is
defined as "indicating a belief, view, sentiment, conception."
Obvious indicators of
opinion are when sentences include words such as:
"Generally, it is
thought" , "I believe that", "It is a sad day
For example, how the
three facts above can be changed to opinions would be to add a belief or
view. For example:
1. The house was
painted recently on November 18, 1999, so it looks as good as new.
2. Today is Saturday and Mark always sleeps in on Saturdays, so that is
why he is late for the game.
3. There was no way for me to go to school because my son had a
temperature of one hundred and two degrees this morning.
Sometimes it is
challenging to tell the facts and opinions apart. For example, is the
following a fact or an opinion?
was the most eloquent writer of all the U.S. Presidents."
This is an opinion, but
you have to know that eloquent is a descriptive word to for this to become
clear. Descriptive words are subjective, or state someone's opinion. It can
become unclear how to separate fact and opinion when many people hold the
same opinion. This is when it becomes important to understand what the word
A bias is an opinion or an attitude we have for or against something. A bias
usually stems from our feelings rather than from rational thought. What is
very important to realize is that ALL of us are biased. We are biased for or
against certain people, activities, and ideas. We become biased because
certain people, activities, or ideas do not appeal to us at some level. Of
equal importance to realize is that we have "good biases" as well,
that is we favor certain people, activities, or ideas. In these cases, our
biases are still irrational, just like our negative ones.
Most of the time we keep
our biases inside and use them to decide who to vote for, what to study in
school, and how we want to appear in public. Other times, however, people
can let their bias or opinions guide them to do dangerous acts. Issues such
as racism, gun control, abortion, and patriotism provoke many people to act
on their biases and do things that harm others. As long as biases are
peacefully shared, there is little harm. But, when they are uncontrolled,
strong biases can bring out anger and create hatred toward those who
disagree. That is when facts and opinions become very challenging to
Activity - Below is a list of incomplete sentences:
Complete each one with the first word that comes to mind. Don't stop to
evaluate what you write or change your first response. If you can't think of
a word or phrase, skip it and go on to the next sentence.
Mothers are _____________________________________________.
Babies are ______________________________________________.
Poor people are _________________________________________.
Elderly people are _______________________________________.
My neighbors are ________________________________________.
Lawyers are _____________________________________________.
Girls are ________________________________________________.
Football players are ______________________________________.
Reread what your
answers. How many are based on facts and which are based on opinions?