Monday, June 18, 2012

MUET MOMENTS: Lesson 13: Distinguishing facts from opinions


Distinguishing facts from opinions
Opinions can be influenced by the stories that you hear, the ethics that you hold or the perceptions that you have. When you feel strongly about an issue, you form an opinion about it. You can identify an opinion when you see words  such as presumably, maybe, could have been, believe and feel.

Facts, however, are true, proven and can be verified by authoritative sources or statistics.

Below are some of the ways we can express opinions or facts.

1. I feel that…………….                                                       
2. I think that…………….
3. It could be true that…………… 
4. You may argue that……………….
5. In my opinion………..
6. From your point of view………..

Example of a report based on facts:

Singer and actress Whitney Houston, winner of six Grammy Awards including record of the year for I Will Always Love You and album of the year for The Bodyguard, has died at age 48. Houston was found dead in the bathtub of her hotel room, ABC news reported, citing paramedics who had rushed to the singer’s aid but found her “lifeless”.

She died hours before she was expected to perform at record producer Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party, which is held at the Beverly Hilton. Houston became one of the most celebrated female singers of all time,  winning multiple Emmy and Billboard Music awards.

Her popularity soared in the 1980s and 1990s with hits including the smash single I Will Always Love You from the soundtrack of the The Bodyguard, in which she starred.

Houston was inspired to sing as a child by soul singers in her New Jersey family, including mother Cissy and cousins Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick. By the early 1990s, Houston reigned as the queen of pop, but her critical and commercial success on stage was accompanied by an increasingly troubled personal life. — Source:

Example of a response to the report based on a person’s opinion:

“It’s really, really horrible,” Simon Cowell said in an interview with Heart FM. “She was a delight to work with.” Speaking of her infamous appearance on the British X Factor in 2009, he said: “She probably wasn’t altogether there but it was still Whitney Houston and you knew you were in the presence of a legend. I’ll never forget that day.”

Next week: Deriving meanings of words from contextual clues

Below are some statements about Justin Timberlake. Identify which are facts (F) and which are opinions (O).

1. Justin Randall Timberlake is a singer who came to fame as a vocalist in the pop band N’Sync.
2. Timberlake is the most successful singer in America.
3. In 2002, Timberlake released his first solo album, Justified, to widespread critical acclaim and impressive sales.
4. Timberlake later gained attention for his relationship with Britney Spears.
5. Some people feel that Timberlake is notorious for his onstage antics.
6. He also appeared in the films Alpha Dog, Black Snake Moan, Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, and voiced Prince Artie Pendragon in the animated film Shrek the Third, released on May 18, 2007. 

Source: Learning Curve - New Straits Times

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