Discerning Fact From Opinion

Contributor: Allison Crews. Lesson ID: 13490

Reading and understanding informational texts is crucial for academic success. Learn more about telling fact from opinion in this lesson, which is the foundation of understanding informational texts.

categories

Comprehension, Practical Life Skills

subject
Reading
learning style
Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

Cheeseburgers are better than chicken nuggets. This is a fact.

...or is it?

girl with a burger and chicken

  • How do you know when a statement is a fact or an opinion?

Dig into this lesson to find out.

First, we need to know how fact and opinion are defined. You can't identify facts and opinions without first knowing what those terms mean.

 

fact

statements that are known and can be proven true

 

opinion

a view or statement that cannot be proven right or wrong

 

Using these definitions, let's look at the statement from above again:

Cheeseburgers are better than chicken nuggets.

  • Is this a fact or an opinion?

opinion box

  • But why is it an opinion?

Food preferences are different for every person, and there is no true or false expression of this preference.

Some people love a good burger. Some prefer chicken nuggets. And some are vegetarian! This is just an individual judgment based on what the speaker likes.

Watch FACTS VS. OPINIONS VS. ROBOTS by Michael Rex | Official Book Trailer, from Penguin Kids, for a quick review:

Signal Words

Statements often give us clues to determine if they are facts or opinions. These clues are called signal words, and when you see them in the sentence, they can indicate what kind of statement it is.

  Fact Signal Words   Opinion Signal Words
 
  • report
 
  • good / bad
 
  • confirm
 
  • view
 
  • verify
 
  • think
 
  • prove
 
  • feel
 
  • corroborate
 
  • believe
 
  • record
 
  • prefer
 
  • document
 
  • might
 
  • substantiate
 
  • should
 
  • numbers
 
  • always / never
 
  • statistics
 
  • interpretation
 
  • dates
 
  • point of view
 
  • times
 
  • usually
 
  • sources
 
  • probably

 

Keep in mind, signal words are not enough to take a fact at face value!

Many people can make errors in the way they write or speak about supposed facts. It is necessary to follow up on facts you encounter to verify that they are accurate and true.

This is why factual information also has a source where it was found. If you are interested in the fact or plan to repeat it somewhere, you have a responsibility to fact-check the information to make sure it is correct before you share it.

dominoes

  • Ready to test your fact-from-opinion know-how?

Move on to Got It? to find out!

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