Objective vs. Subjective Writing: Understanding the Difference

objective vs subjectiveWhen it comes to writing a paper, or even just crafting an argument, you have to be highly aware of the difference between an objective and a subjective argument. The different nature of each is important to understand because you will need to be able to identify when it is proper to use one or the other. Each type of writing has a unique use. Knowing when to use one or the other will help you increase your clarity as a writer, and can even make you a more persuasive writer. Whether you are a college student or a professional who writes on a regular basis, you will want to be prepared with an understanding of these two viewpoints and the know-how to make them work for you.

To learn more about other factors that come into play in college writing, consider college writing course on Udemy. Remember that objective and subjective viewpoints are only one tool in your overall writing arsenal.

The Definitions And Differences

The main difference between objectivity and subjectivity is in the way that these arguments are presented. Subjective information – whether it is in written or spoken form – is generally considered to be a single person’s opinion. It has a viewpoint, or possibly a bias, regardless of the information it provides. Objective information on the other hand is meant to be completely unbiased. There is a feeling of the writer or speaker being outside of the information, and when they present it they do so without taking a stance or expressing their feelings in relation to that information.

Generally speaking, it comes down to the difference between fact (objective) and opinion (subjective). Objective information has the ability to be counted or described. Subjective information on the other hand can consist of statements of judgment, assumption, belief, suspicion, or rumor.

Objective information does not vary, whereas subjective information can vary greatly from person to person or day to day. Subjectivity can actually be wrong, or far from the truth, whereas objectivity means being as close to the truth as possible. Often objectivity is used in a decision making process, whereas subjectivity should be considered, but less strongly so.

Uses In The Real World

A prime example of where to find subjective and objective styles right next to each other is in the newspaper. Reporters most generally hold themselves and their writing to a high level of objectivity. They present the facts and do not offer their own opinions when it comes to their presentation. However, the editorial section of a newspaper is where one can find subjectivity. These articles can present the facts, in some cases the same as the objective ones, but will also include the writer’s viewpoint and opinion.

Encyclopedias and other guides, manuals, and textbooks are more often than not homes for objective writing. They include hard facts without offering an opinion on the material. Think about it – have you ever read an encyclopedia entry about a bug that finished by saying “and they are very disgusting to look at?” You have not. This is because such a statement is not an objective fact; it is instead a subjective viewpoint and therefore has no place in the writing.

Because objective writing is so factual it is often not as full of flourishes as subjective writing. This does not mean that it cannot be well written. Objective writing is much more difficult to master for most writers. Learning the art of plain writing, which you can do in this Udemy course, can help give you in a number of different ways. The ability to communicate what you mean in clear and direct English is an essential tool when it comes to using an objective perspective. This could serve you in the field of grant writing as well, where the facts need to be presented plainly in order to ensure the grant proposal is understood and approved. Check out Udemy’s federal grant writing course if you would like more information.

Objective And Subjective Use In Language

When it comes to writing about subjective or objective information, you need to familiarize yourself with the kind of language used to communicate it. Often times these phrases can be used as clues to understand what you are reading and whether it is subjective or objective.

Objective language includes phrases such as: “I saw,” or “I counted,” or “I observed.” Detailing what a person “did” is another clue that writing is objective rather than subjective. If something has actually happened and the writer or speaker is simply relaying that information, they are making simple statements of fact. In subjective writing, words are often added to these phrases to make them more than just fact – and in doing so, they become inferences. By starting a sentence with “she did not want to,” you suppose the feelings of the person. The same goes for “she thought,” “he feels,” or “they were trying to.”

Each one of those statements presents an opinion on the action as opposed to just stating the action itself. That turns it into a subjective observation because it is your opinion as to the deeper meaning of why something happened or was done. (If a person has relayed how they felt, remember that relaying this information as a statement they made will make it clear they are the source of that information and will help it to be more objective.)

One last thing to keep in mind is that you may hear about subjective and objective cases of nouns. While important to know, this information is different than the objective/subjective that we are learning about here, so be sure to brush up on your grammar if you are in need of a fuller understanding of his aspect of grammar.

The Gray Area 

There are many situations in which objective and subjective information can be more challenging to tell apart. For example, in science some individuals may feel that the facts are proof positive of objectivity, while others believe that unexplainable elements – which are subjective – outweigh any other information and turn science into a subjective study.

Regardless of your beliefs or feelings you will need to have a strong grasp on the two concepts if you plan to be writing quality paragraphs and essays – be sure to sign up for this course if you want to enhance your academic writing skills. Once you are better at identifying and using objective and subjective language, you will instantly boost your ability to make more sound arguments in your papers.