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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:07

Fact or opinion | Worked example

Video transcript

- [Instructor] Okay, we've got one short question here with a little two paragraph passage. Normally in these situations I would recommend we read the question first and see if it's going to inform our reading of the passage, see if there's anything to look out for. All right, which of the following parts of the passage contain expressions of the author's opinions? We're looking for the author's opinion. This is one of those questions that asks us about facts and opinions. Real quick, before we get to the passage, the difference between opinions and facts is that while they are both assertions about the world, a fact requires evidence and logic, and opinion is pure assertion, usually about the way that somebody feels about something, so look for emotion words, strong emotions. That's a good way to identify things that are possibly opinions. However, some opinion looking assertions, some things that inspire strong emotion, can also be supported with evidence and logic, so it's not always a clear cut thing. For our purposes, just broadly identifying the difference between them, evidence and logic equals facts, opinion equals pure, sometimes emotional, assertions. So, the passage. More people are turning to audiobooks as a way to read texts they wouldn't otherwise have time to consume. Increasingly consumers of audiobooks listen to them while multi-tasking, finding in them the ideal accompaniment to routine tasks they might otherwise find intolerably tedious, there's a little opinion there, such as long commutes, chores, or even grocery shopping. Critics of audiobooks claim that listening to audiobooks doesn't qualify as real reading, however since audiobook listeners still absorb the same story as those who read it on a page, this form of literary consumption should be considered legitimate. Another way to define a difference between fact and opinion is that opinions drive an argument, facts serve an argument. So the idea that audiobooks should be considered legitimate literary consumption feels like an opinion of the author, and the evidence that they bring to that is that audiobook listeners are consuming the same story. All right, so let's go through the choices and see what we have and what contains expressions of opinion and what are facts. So choice A. More people are turning to audiobooks as a way to read texts. Well that's just sort of a fact-based assertion. Now they don't cite their sources in this little paragraph, but it is stating evidence that audiobook consumers are increasingly listening to them while doing errands or chores. So that's not really an opinion, that is a fact based on wherever this evidence comes from. It's something that the author writes, but it's not an expression of their opinion. Option B, critics claim that listening to audiobooks doesn't qualify as real reading. This is an opinion, but we're looking for the author's opinion, and this is something that critics of audiobooks are claiming, so that's not an expression of the author's opinion. That is a summary of other people's opinion, of critics of audiobooks. So this is pretty straight forward. We've eliminated A and B. That leaves C, this form of literary consumption should be considered legitimate, which is exactly what it says on the tin, right? This is an argument that's being advanced by the author, it's an assertion that they're making. They're trying to use facts to back up that assertion, but the assertion that audiobooks are a legitimate form of literary consumption is just the flip side of the critics that say that it's not one. So if that's an opinion, if choice B is an opinion, then choice C must also be an opinion. But choice C is located in the author's point of view, whereas choice B is located in the critics' point of view. So when you come across questions like these, make sure to slow down and ask yourself, okay, is that a fact or an opinion, and then if it is an opinion, whose opinion is it? Where does it come from? Is it someone else's argument being summarized, like these critics, or is it something that the author themselves purports to believe?