Subjective and Objective Language

Subjective Language

When we use subjective language, we are expressing an opinion or personal preference:

Italy is the best place to go for a holiday.
Zoe's hair is beautiful.

While I may think that Italy is the best place to go for a holiday, other people might choose Sweden or Hong Kong.

Subjective sentences are not factual.

Murder is a disgusting crime.

While most people would certainly agree with the sentence, it is still not a statement of fact due to the word disgusting which describes how we feel about the crime.

Objective Language

On the other hand, when we use objective language, we are making a statement of fact.

Thirteen people died in the fire.
The stadium has a capacity of 30,000.

However, not every sentence that describes numbers and figures is objective.

The room can hold 30 people comfortably.

Here, the word comfortably makes this a subjective sentence. Whether you would be comfortable in the room with 29 other people is your own opinion or personal preference.

How about this sentence?

According to our survey, customers found the food disgusting.

Although the subjective word disgusting is used, this is an objective sentence. It is a fact that people told me that the food was disgusting.

Subjective and Objective Sentences in Writing and Speech

There are times in writing when we should use objective, factual sentences; for example, when writing an analytical or formal essay.

We should use objective language when writing formal assignments for college. Subjective sentences will make our papers seem biased.

On the other hand, when giving a persuasive speech, we can feel free to use emotional language to help persuade the audience. If we only use factual information, our presentation will seem boring.

Practice Activity

Can you differentiate subjective and objective sentences? Click below to try an activity.