IELTS Reading Fact vs Opinion


While reading a text, you should always differentiate the information into two categories: fact and opinion.

This difference between fact and opinion comes handy in many types of questions you get in the IELTS Reading test, where you have to judge the validity of statements based on textual evidence. In IELTS Reading Fact vs Opinion difference will help in some question types such as True, False, Not Given.

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Fact

A statement is a fact if there is evidence to prove the claim.

Mangoes grow on trees.

Nobody would contest this statement because it is plain to see that the fruit “mango” indeed grows on mango plants. There is plenty of evidence all around.

Other examples:

The sun sets in the west.

London is the capital of the United Kingdom.

The Nile is the longest river in the world.

Nikola Tesla died in 1943.

Even in the absence of immediate evidence, some statements can still be considered to be facts provided that evidence could possibly be gathered to prove them.

I was born in July.

Although providing a valid identity card, which mentions my date of birth, is the only way to prove whether I was really born in the month of July, this statement can still be considered as a fact because evidence could be gathered to prove or disprove the claim.

If disproved, then I am guilty of lying. The statement becomes false. But at face value, it is a fact, since my testimony is the only reliable evidence here.

Opinion

A statement is an opinion if it reflects a personal view, belief, or desire.

Oranges are tastier than bananas.

Chelsea is the best football team in the world.

The government should reduce the rate of Value Added Tax.

There is no way to disprove an opinion because it does not depend on evidence at all; it is a preference based on personal experience.

Alternatively, there may be no proper method to gather any evidence to disprove an opinion.

For example, let us look at this sentence:

Life is more difficult in London than in New York.

Whether something is “difficult” or not is highly subjective. The same task could be difficult to one person but easy to another. Similarly, “life” entails a plethora of things all of which cannot possibly be accounted, so this statement is practically impossible to prove or disprove as a fact.

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