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0001 Meaning of Words and Phrases
0002 Main Idea and Supporting Details
0003 Analyze Relationship Among Ideas
0004 Critical-Reasoning Skills
Opinion, Point of View, or Position
Assumptions on Validity of an Argument
Logical Arguments and Faulty Reasoning
Fact and Opinion
0005 Apply Skills for Summarizing, Outlining, and Interpreting
Practice Reading Tests

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0004 Use Critical-Reasoning Skills to Evaluate Written Material

Distinguish Between Fact and Opinion in Written Material

This skill is one that you probably have practiced before in school. Facts should be objective and provable; opinions are statements of belief, feeling or judgment. In college textbooks, however, you may have to give considerable thought to statements because one sentence may combine fact and opinion.

Always look for “judgment words” like too in the following sentence to identify an opinion:

“The recent appointment of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court made the court too conservative.”

It is a fact that Samuel Alito is a recent appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court; it may also be a fact, if the writer uses Alito’s decisions on lower court cases as examples, that Justice Alito is a conservative, but it is the writer’s opinion that Alito’s appointment makes the court too conservative. Just that one word would make the statement above an opinion rather than a fact.