ParaPro Reading Study Guide: Facts & Opinions

The questions in this format will provide you with a passage and ask whether the writer is presenting actual information backed by statistics and evidence, or are they just stating their personal beliefs.

Keep in mind that an opinion is a statement that can be neither proven as true or false. Therefore, when reading the passage, ask yourself which of the answer options provides actual evidence that can be verified or if the statement is someone’s own feelings.

Examples of language we may use to express facts include:

  • The research has demonstrated
  • According to the most recent study…
  • The discovery confirmed that…
  • Statistics verify that…

Examples of language we may use to express opinion include:

  • My teacher claims that…
  • I would argue that…
  • In my view, the game was…
  • Therefore, we should all take action…

Look at the following example:

The atomic bomb dropped on Japan killed more than 70,000 people instantly, according to the Japanese government. (this is a fact. It provides real and factual information). The Japanese immediately surrendered following this event and the Americans began the occupation of Japan during Reconstruction. (this is a fact of an event that officially happened). Testimonies verify that this event was so horrific that it scarred many Japanese people’s lives forever. (this is a fact because it says testimonies verify this). I would argue that we should have tried to further negotiate with Japan to avoid this horrific event and save thousands of lives. (This is an opinion. It is one person’s belief, not something that is backed up by information or facts).

Here’s another passage with answer choices:

Example 1

Passing a bill in Congress takes many steps. It is nearly impossible to get a bill to be passed. First, someone must create a petition that has to be picked up by a local or state representative. That representative must then present the bill to their Congressional body for consideration. The bill then moves to a committee which must approve whether to move it to the floor for a vote. If approved, it goes to the full House for a final vote. But even if it passes the House, it has to go to the Senate and then either the governor or President before it can officially be passed. It’s also important to note that a bill can be first passed in the Senate and then moved to the House before making its way to the Governor or President.

Which of the following statements in the passage is an opinion?

  1. Passing a bill in Congress takes many steps
  2. It is nearly impossible to get a bill passed
  3. The representative must present the bill to the committee for a vote
  4. The bill must also be passed by the Senate and President or Governor

Here, ask yourself, “What is something that can’t be proven? What is something that some people might not agree with, thus making it an opinion?” The best option here is B. Not everyone would agree it’s an impossible process. In fact, many bills get passed every year. Just because it has a series of steps doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Thus, this choice is an opinion. The other choices are just steps in the process, making them facts.

Important note: Persuasive passages are more opinion-based while informative pieces are based more on facts. Persuasive pieces can include facts, though, when trying to prove a point.

For example, a persuasive article titled “Why You Should Move to Hawaii” is one where the author clearly has the opinion that Hawaii is a great place to live. However, he can include a fact within this opinion by saying “Hawaii has the warmest average temperature during the winter time at 81.2 degrees.” This is actual evidence and is a fact.

Facts and Opinions Review Test

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