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Objective vs Subjective Writing: What’s the Difference?

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Writing can either be subjective or objective. There are, therefore, two main types of writing:  objective and subjective. Depending on the situation, either one can be appropriate to use. Below, you will find objective vs subjective writing definitions and their correct application in everyday communication.

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:

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.

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, judgemental writings such as these are considered subjective writing.

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.

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.

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.

Uses exclamation marks

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

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.

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.

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Qualities of objective writing

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

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.”

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.

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.

Non-Judgemental

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.

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:

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. You can even improve your outputs with classes like this paragraph writing course to polish your work.

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.

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