An opinion is a view or judgment about something or someone that isn’t necessarily based on something factual. An idea is a personal judgment, thought, or belief.

What is the definition of and difference between ‘fact’ and ‘opinion’?

Someone’s opinion is a viewpoint they hold, based on evidence but which cannot be proved. Children often learn about opinions in contrast to facts and beliefs.

Opinions can also be called a judgment or an attitude towards the matter – a stance and conclusion reached given the person’s existing knowledge.

Facts can be proven true or false, but our opinions can be swayed and changed due to new information.

Facts are objectively true and have supporting evidence, while a belief is something that someone accepts as accurate without evidence – such as religious beliefs.

It’s essential to distinguish facts, opinions, and beliefs you come across and to understand whether our feelings about something have evidence.

Opinions in the digital age

To comprehend text, speech, and the media that saturates our lives, people need to be able to distinguish facts and opinions.

It is especially critical for children to learn about facts and opinions at school in a world with more fake news, conspiracy theories, and social media influencers/channels, which have given an open platform to many different people to promote their beliefs and opinions.

We must be discerning in the views we choose to listen to, as beliefs can sometimes lead to discrimination and misinformation spreading. Historically, we have seen this in the case of anti-Semitism during WW2. Prejudice is a preconceived opinion not based on knowledge.

Nowadays, many people online with inflammatory or uninformed opinions are just a click away, and some unscrupulous companies will take advantage of trusting individuals – we can empower children with a critical approach to statements.

The language of opinions and facts

We need strategies for telling facts and opinions apart. You can spot facts and views through the language signals and extract the truth from the speculation. Let’s explore a few examples of little words:

  • Claims that
  • They say
  • Suspect that
  • Argues that

In contrast, some words indicate factual statements:

  • Proven;
  • Confirmed;
  • Evidence;
  • According to.
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