A: I would argue with you, but what you are saying is completely subjective.
B: Well, objective assessment makes no sense where I am describing my feelings!
We have all heard arguments like this. So what is subjective and objective anyway?
What are the subjective statements?
Subjective is something individual. It is more about the person, the subject, and therefore is it subject-oriented. According to Oxford Learner's Dictionary, subjective information is "based on your own ideas or opinions rather than facts, and therefore sometimes unfair".
A subjective statement is made from personal feelings, views, and opinions. It may not reflect actual facts or real-life information. A subjective statement will sound like this:
This locality is full of annoying birds.
Well, we do understand from this statement that there are birds in the locality, but whether they are annoying or not is something 'subjective', or a personal preference.
What are objective statements?
Objective definition in Oxford Learner's Dictionary is something that is "not influenced by personal feelings or opinions; considering only facts".
An objective statement does not take into consideration personal feelings, points of views, and individual perceptions. It draws from verifiable facts, actual proven data, and scientifically sound knowledge.
The same above statement can be expressed objectively as follows:
This locality is full of birds.
This is an objective statement and tells only facts and not feelings. Whether the birds are annoying or pretty is very much a personal opinion.
Identifying Objective and Subjective Statements
When we come to pitch objective vs subjective, it is easy to identify which is which. A statement that shares feelings or opinions is subjective, and a sentence that gives only information without interpretation is objective.
Let us look at a few examples.
"The field of mycorrhizal networks has been sort of plagued by having to keep going back and redoing these experiments", says Dr. Simard, a Canadian scientist.
She also says, "None of these studies can do everything all at once, especially when you’re working with graduate students". (The New York Times)
While the first statement makes an objective observation of scientific experiments, the second statement is an observation made from personal experience.
"47% of Americans pay no federal income tax. These people believe they are victims and would never vote for a Republican candidate". (Mitt Rommey)
What is subjective writing?
Subjective writing is the kind of writng that involves personal opinions, subjective information and views. These are generally in first person or through a fictional character but not always. One will find subjective writing in blogs, internet, everyday life and conversations, news editorials, speeches and so on. Subjective writing can be biased and unsuitable for decision making.
If you are starting a blog, or writing opinion-based articles, it is very natural to be subjective. They should but may or may not be based on research or hard facts. But it is advised to do the due diligence and build credibility of your opinions.
What is objective writing?
Objective writing is writing based in objective information, unbiased data and analysis. Objective data is quantitative in nature, verifiable facts, and can be observed through various measures. There is no place for assumptions in objective analysis. It is as ruthless as it seems.
Objective opinion is a comment based on objective data and not own thoughts. It can be seen in hard news reporting, news articles, scientific research papers and statistical analyses. It is given that writing that involves objective perspective is preceded by correct research and backed by proven data. The word objective itself shows that is object-oriented, which is away from the bias of subjectivity.
When to use objective and subjective in writing?
If you are writing something with an objective aim, which wants to prove something by presenting conflict and resolution, or simply record a chain of events that happened then objective writing should be the best choice.
On the other hand if you are writing a personal essay with your own thoughts and subjective views then subjective writing would be the medium of writing. Blogs, social media posts, fictional novels and short stories can use subjective opinion and writing.
Book chapters, research papers, statistical reports, survey records, news reporting should be without personal biases and subjective observation. To become a better writer you can mix the two to prove a point in advanced field of research and for innovative ideas.
The key differences of objective vs subjective lies in the validity of the content in relation to hard facts verifiable truths. Objective writing of fact-oriented, while subjective writing is opinion-oriented.
Examples of Objective Writing
- It is sunny and windy outside.
- 12% of the students have signed up for the school carnival.
- The stock market has gone down by a hundred points.
- The book has 11 chapters.
- I have brought sandwich for lunch.
- The pen is blue in colour.
- That is a L sized dress.
- The phone can run only two applications at one time.
- Only 75% of the people casted the vote.
- The sun sets in the west.
- The cell phone is now at a 12% charge.
- Twenty of my friends will be joining the event tomorrow.
- The car crashed in under the gate of Willow Building.
- Universities will be closed tomorrow due to the strike.
- The shipment will be delivered in 3-5 business days.
- Objective and subjective are types of statements.
- The bus leaves at 2 p.m.
Examples of Subjective Writing
- I believe an angel is always protecting me.
- The bag is in a shade I do not like.
- The weather is very pleasant.
- I think they might arrive late.
- I do not like a subjective point of view.
- Agatha Christie is a better writer than O' Henry.
- The cake is delicious.
- The view from the eighth floor is amazing.
- Few people turned up for the seminar.
- David is a good boy.
- Its turtles all the way down.
There are a third type of sentences that misleads us into thinking it something which is not. These are subjective statements disguised as objective. This means that these sentences look objective in nature but are actually subjective in reality. Let us look at some examples.
This muffin is five times better than the last one.
In this sentence, though it involes an objective information, it is actually a subjective statement. This is because one cannot numerically measure quantity, which in this case, is taste.
Let us take another example.
Research shows that countryside is 80% more beautiful than city.
This also has a similar explanation. While it gives us an objective number, that i s '80%', one cannot measure intangible qualities like beauty, goodness, taste, or happiness. If something cannot be measured, it cannot be called factual therefore it cannot be verified. These are misleading sentences. They give a few objective information about something that is either a subjective perception or a unmeasurable quality.
You can identify such sentences by looking at what the objective data is about. If the data is about a subjective area then the sentence is misleading.
- The food does not taste half as good as mine.
- What I am saying are very objective personal views.
- Pink bags are twenty times better than orange bags.
We have by now understood the words subjective, objective, their difference, their aim and their use. Subjective information is a personal interpretation of a factual event. Objective information on the other hand is exactly what happened.
Subjective statement can be used in expressing emotions, in conversing with a friend, writing own experiences in personal diary, or fictional writing like short story and novels. Objective statement should be used in official documents like government records, news articles, and legal documents.
There are sentences which may appear objective but is actually subjective in hiding. To identify those sentences find out what the objective value is targeted at.
Objective vs subjective is a common debate in the English language, and can be summed up just a few words: fact-oriented and opinion-oriented, respectively.