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Subjective v Objective

Don't say that: 

"Subjective" when it relates to something quantifiable or to a fact.
"Objective" when it relates to an opinion

Do say this: 

"Objective" when it relates to a fact or something quantifiable.
"Subjective" when it relates to an opinion.


It's the bane of the lives of law students everywhere: when to use "subjective" and when to use "objective."

Some people say something like "objective is what you see, subjective is what you feel."

But it's actually far more complex than that.

Objectivity means to look at something using only facts and draw a conclusion from it.

For example, objectively, a Ferrari is a car.

Subjectivity means to look at something and use your existing information, whether it is right or wrong, to form an opinion about what you see.

Subjectively, then, the Ferrari is a beautifully styled engineering masterpiece. Or it's a chunk of metal the price of which could fund an orphanage in Africa for several years. As the old saying goes, you pays your money and you takes your choice, which is of course terrible English.

Objectivity allows us to have certainty. Subjectivity is fluid.

Note: this has nothing to do with the use of word "objective" when it's used in the sense "I achieved my objective" or similar.


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