Objective vs Subjective Writing: What’s the Difference?

Even in the era marked by the emergence of AI writing assistants like ChatGPT and Bard, the act of writing retains its critical role as an indispensable human skill, crucial for nurturing creativity, critical thinking, and personal expression.

This significance extends into the realm of choosing between objective and subjective writing styles, which profoundly influences how messages are received and interpreted.

Whether you’re a student, journalist, or content creator, mastering these unique styles is crucial. Moreover, learning how to excel as a writer will undoubtedly provide a competitive edge.

In this blog, we will explore the nuances of objective and subjective writing, offering insights on how they can be artfully utilized to enhance your content. Additionally, we highlight a selection of online language courses designed to bolster your writing skills, ensuring your ability to communicate effectively in any context.

What Is Subjective Writing?

Subjective writing is the language of perspective that is influenced by personal feelings. It aims to let the listener or reader know how the writer or speaker feels, thinks, or believes. Because it is subjective, it focuses mainly on feelings, attitudes, impressions, values, thoughts, and beliefs. 

Subjective writing is not an accurate representation of what truly is, but rather an impression made by the speaker or writer. Therefore, it can be hard to prove the point or message of subjective writing. You may need to combine it with persuasive speech in order to convince your listener or reader to believe in your point of view.

Qualities of subjective writing

Subjective writing has one or more of the following tell-tale characteristics:

1. Contains personal language

With subjective writing, your reader will feel as if someone is personally speaking to them. You can find the best example of the use of personal language in love letters. The words “I,” “you,” we,” and ”us” are often peppered throughout each line.

2. Passes judgment

Describing things with the use of adjectives counts as passing judgment. Calling someone fat, skinny, sickly, or even beautiful is a form of judgment. Therefore, judgmental writings such as these are considered subjective writing.

3. Makes assumptions

Saying that your little sister hates Math because she always gets low grades in that subject is a form of assumption. While it may be true, there is no direct indicator that solidifies your claim. She may still love Math despite failing at it because it challenges her.

4. Emotive and dramatic

Another quality of subjective writing is its affinity to emotion. For example, people who are opposed to vaccinating children may say that children are highly vulnerable and fragile creatures who cannot tolerate foreign chemicals injected into their bodies. While scientific data show negligible risk to vaccinating, they subjectively believe that it is harmful.

5. Exaggerated

Because subjective writing only translates what the speaker or writer feels, it sometimes becomes exaggerated. What is mildly disturbing for other people may be wildly inappropriate for others.

6. Uses exclamation marks

Some subjective pieces make use of exclamation marks to convey strong emotions such as anger or joy.

7. Uses capitalization

Capitalized words are also a technique accepted in subjective and informal pieces of writing. You may find some capitalization in blogs or social media posts as an attempt to create emphasis on that word and what it is trying to convey.

Where you can find subjective writing

Subjective writing is not at all formal and may even seem inappropriate. However, it is totally acceptable and even expected to see subjective writing in these instances:

  • Literary work such as poems and stories
  • Personal journals
  • Blogs
  • Speeches during informal events
  • Social media posts

Learn creative writing using subjective writing with the help of this creative writing course.

Practicing subjective writing skills has its own benefits. Here’s what Nanie Batac, a seasoned writer, has to share. 

Practicing subjective writing nurtures a unique personal voice and emotional expressiveness, fostering deeper connections with readers through relatable and engaging content. It encourages critical thinking and creative exploration, enabling writers to articulate their perspectives with clarity and conviction. This practice not only enhances storytelling but also strengthens the writer's ability to persuade and resonate with diverse audiences.

Nanie Batac, Professional Writer

What Is Objective Writing?

Objective writing, by definition, is the direct opposite of subjective writing. You can say that it is devoid of any emotion, opinion, or assumption and makes very little use of adjectives unless they are supported by data.

Facts and figures speak for themselves in objective writing. This makes them more reliable, although they are not always the most compelling pieces.

Objective writing is impartial, fair, and accurate. You can’t find an inch of exaggeration with objective vs subjective writing, and so it is mostly saved for more formal communication. Everyday language is often not factual.

Qualities of objective writing

These are some of the things that you will notice in an objective piece or statement:

1. Clear topic statements

Objective writing likes to say things as they are. Therefore, you can expect there to be clear and concise topic statements with no partiality. Instead of saying things such as “you have so many wonderful varieties to choose from,” an objective approach would be to say, “there are a number of options available.”

2. Facts and evidence

One glaring thing you might notice in objective pieces is the presence of data and numbers. There are no accusatory statements in objective writing, but rather it lets the facts and evidence speak for their own.

3. Fair and accurate

Nothing can be more accurate than a number. One is one. There are no variations, deviations, or other versions of it. Since objective writing makes use of numbers, it is safe to say that it is accurate.

It is also fair because there is no judgment or opinion made. All sides of an issue have a chance to present their own facts, and there are no biases.

4. Non-Judgmental

While the subjective language may say, “You have too many bags!” objective language will simply state that “You have fifty bags.” As you can see, there is no trace of judgment on the second statement. It merely says how many bags you have. Whether or not you think it’s too many is entirely up to you.

5. Impersonal recommendations

You will often see recommendations in scientific studies and publications. These bodies of work thoroughly assess an issue with the use of data to come up with the recommendations that they publish at the end. 

For example, suppose the efficacy profile of a drug shows that it is 99 percent effective for treating migraine. In that case, the journal may recommend it for the use of treatment for migraine, given its data-supported efficacy.

Where you can find objective writing

You can find objective writing in the following:

  • History books
  • Scientific publications
  • News
  • Encyclopedias
  • Atlases
  • Maps

Even if you’re not a scientist or a doctor, you might still find objective writing useful. Academic writing, such as essays, favors the use of objective writing, even if it allows a bit of subjective expression. 

The difference between objective vs subjective writing is so stark that it is impossible to mistake one from the other. Just keep in mind that objective writing is more factual and subjective writing is more emotive and influenced by personal feelings or opinions.

a woman writing happily

Writing Courses You Should Take

Four Writing Styles For Professional Content Writing

This course teaches you the four basic writing styles: expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive. It also covers the five-sensory descriptions (visual, aural, gustatory, olfactory, and tactile) in descriptive content writing, and the three elements of persuasive content writing (ethos, pathos, and logos). The course is suitable for all skill levels and will help you improve your content writing and creative writing skills.

You should take this course if you want to:

  • Improve your content writing skills
  • Learn the four basic writing styles
  • Understand the five-sensory descriptions in descriptive content writing
  • Learn the three elements of persuasive content writing
  • Improve your creative writing skills

Turn Words To Passive Income With Copywriting 101

This course teaches you how to write effective copy that sells. You will learn how to write copy that speaks to customers’ emotions and moves them to take action. The course also covers what copywriting is and why it’s important for every business.

You should take this course if you want to:

  • Learn how to write copy that sells
  • Write copy that speaks to customers’ emotions
  • Understand what copywriting is and why it’s important
  • Learn how to avoid common copywriting mistakes

Creative Writing For Beginners: Unlock Your Creativity

This online course is designed for beginners who want to learn the fundamentals of creative writing. It will teach you how to develop characters, create compelling narratives, craft personal essays, and write engaging fiction. You will also learn about different forms of writing, such as short stories, poetry, and creative nonfiction. The course is taught by experienced writers who will share their tips and techniques to help you improve your writing skills.

You should take this course if you want to:

  • Learn the basics of creative writing
  • Develop essential writing skills
  • Explore different forms of writing
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Uncover your creativity
  • Learn from experienced writers

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why is it important to distinguish between objective and subjective writing?

Distinguishing between objective and subjective writing is important because it helps readers understand the purpose and reliability of the information being presented. 

Objective writing is crucial when facts and an unbiased perspective are necessary, such as in scientific research or news reporting, to make informed decisions or understandings. 

Subjective writing, while offering depth and personal insight, may not always provide a complete or balanced view and can influence the reader’s perception through the author’s personal bias. Knowing the difference allows readers to critically assess the information’s credibility and how it fits into their own understanding or research.

Can a piece of writing be both objective and subjective?

Yes, a piece of writing can blend both objective and subjective elements. For example, an article may start with an objective overview of a topic, presenting facts and evidence, and then move into a subjective section where the author provides their personal opinion or analysis based on those facts. 

This approach allows the writer to present a well-rounded view by grounding their personal insights in objective reality. However, maintaining a clear distinction between the two within the piece is crucial for ensuring the reader can differentiate between factual information and the author’s personal perspective.

How does audience expectation influence the choice between objective and subjective writing?

Audience expectation plays a crucial role in determining whether objective or subjective writing is more appropriate. 

In contexts where the audience expects factual, unbiased information, such as academic research, news reporting, or technical documentation, objective writing is preferred. Conversely, in settings where personal insight, creativity, or opinion is valued, such as blogs, personal essays, or literary critiques, subjective writing is more suitable. 

Understanding the audience’s expectations helps the writer choose the right style to effectively communicate their message and meet the audience’s needs.

What are the challenges of objective writing?

One of the main challenges of objective writing is ensuring complete neutrality and avoiding any bias, which requires thorough research, fact-checking, and sometimes a detachment from personal beliefs. 

Writers must carefully select their words to avoid inadvertently implying opinions or judgments. Another challenge is presenting complex information in an accessible way without oversimplifying or distorting the facts. Objective writing demands a high level of rigor and discipline to accurately convey information without influencing the reader’s perception with personal bias.

Are there specific genres where subjective writing is more prevalent than objective writing?

Yes, there are specific genres where subjective writing is more prevalent. These include the following: 

  • Personal blogs
  • Memoirs
  • Autobiographies
  • Opinion columns, and 
  • Literary criticism

Subjective writing is also common in arts and entertainment reviews, such as books, movies, and music, where personal interpretation and emotional response are valued. 

These genres thrive on the unique perspectives and insights of the writer, making subjective writing not only appropriate but often the expected norm.

Skill Success Expert Insights on Objective vs Subjective Writing

Researchers at MIT have identified a trend where misinformation on Twitter travels more swiftly than factual information, primarily propelled by human activity rather than automated bots. 

Their findings indicate that tweets with inaccurate content are retweeted 70% more frequently than those with accurate information. 

BA Isla, a writer with over 15 years in the field, has noticed significant changes in the industry, especially an increasing lean towards subjective writing. She underscores that while the freedom to express personal views is crucial, it introduces unique challenges, particularly in the context of distinguishing between truth and falsehood in the digital age.

The rise of social media has provided a platform for individuals to openly share their thoughts. In this landscape, it's crucial to strike a balance between objective and subjective writing. Supporting opinions with data and facts is essential to prevent the spread of misinformation or exaggerated claims. Unfortunately, dramatic posts and articles often gain undue credibility. Now more than ever, it's imperative for responsible writers to step forward.

BA Isla, Content Writer, Skill Success

Key Takeaways

Objective and subjective writing represent two distinct approaches to conveying information and expressing opinions. Objective writing focuses on presenting verifiable facts and unbiased perspectives, while subjective writing delves into the realm of personal experiences, emotions, and interpretations.

As writers, the key lies in recognizing the appropriate context for each style. When striving to inform and educate, objective writing is the ideal tool. When aiming to evoke emotions, inspire action, or share personal experiences, subjective writing takes center stage.

To embark on a journey of continuous learning and unlock your full writing potential, we invite you to subscribe to Skill Success All Access Pass. This pass grants you access to our entire library of courses, empowering you to master a wide range of writing techniques, from crafting captivating blog posts to penning impactful business proposals.

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