Bryanna has received both her BA in English and MFA in Creative Writing. She has been a writing tutor for over six years.
Definition of Objective Writing
Objective writing is writing that you can verify through evidence and facts. If you are writing objectively, you must remain as neutral as possible through the use of facts, statistics, and research. This type of writing is best used when you as a writer need to present unbiased information to an audience and then let them determine their own opinion. News reports and school textbooks often use objective writing.
It's important to differentiate objective writing from subjective writing, which is writing that you cannot evaluate, calculate, or verify. Subjective writing might express feelings, opinions, and judgments. This would come in handy for writing a personal essay or an opinion column for a paper, but should not be used when the goal is to simply inform the audience.
How to Write Objectively
To keep your writing objective, try to follow these tips:
- Be specific instead of vague or general. Rather than writing: 'almost everyone voted for him,' write: '82% of the company voted for him.'
- Do not use opinionated, prejudiced, or exclusive language. Rather than writing: 'men and girls,' write: 'men and women.' Keep both equal, and keep both genders listening to you.
- Avoid using first person to keep it more professional and less about you. Rather than writing: 'I believe…' try using a fact or credible source to prove your point like: 'According to Smith (1999).'
- Try not to over exaggerate your writing. It can help to never use words such as 'really,' 'always,' 'never,' or 'very.' These words can make your writing appear falsified or weak. Rather than writing: 'the race was really close,' be more informational by writing: 'the race was close enough to demand two recounts.'
Because it's important to understand the difference, and because some writers often use both subjective and objective writing styles, you should be able to distinguish which type of writing is which. To make it easy, let's simplify it to:
- Objective writing is fact-driven
- Subjective writing is opinion-driven
For objective writing, you should be wondering: Can you prove it? Has the writer proven it? Is this the writer's opinion, or is it factual information? Consider these questions for the following example: 'The company's president is an idiot. Anyone can see that.'
This example is subjective because the writer is not providing any information that can be supported. 'Anyone' can't see it because the writer didn't provide evidence. The statement is based on the writer's opinion of the president and, if anything, can be argued in the same manner by someone who favors the president.
It's important to understand the strength in writing objectively. When leading with facts and information, it makes it hard for your audience to disagree. Why claim the president is an idiot if you can't prove it? People will be less inclined to listen to you, and you will lose your credibility. Since credibility is essential for any writer trying to present a point, let's consider how we could show the company president is an idiot through evidence.
'In one year, the company's president has fired 60% of his leading executives, received 25 sexual harassment complaints from female staff members, and lost the company's number one ranking in the state.' This sentence is now objective because it gets the same idea across, that the president is an idiot, but rather than making the claim and calling him the name, the rewrite lets the facts speak for the writer. An audience will be more inclined to support and believe the writer because the writer has used evidence instead of making the word 'idiot' do all of the work.
Here are a few more examples of how to make a subjective statement more objective:
- 'She hurt her leg really bad' - subjective because it is not supported or proven, and the use of 'really' makes it sound exaggerated. It can be changed to: 'She broke her leg in three places' - objective because it provides facts, and the audience can deduce she must be in a lot of pain.
- 'I think the world will end soon' - subjective because it speaks in first person and is vague. It can be changed to: 'According to Dr. Frank Stein, the world will end within the next 20 years' - objective because it gets across the same idea, but uses a credible source rather than 'I' and gives a specific time reference, making it seem more truthful.
Objective writing is writing that you can verify through evidence and facts. If you're writing objectively, you must remain as neutral as possible through the use of facts, statistics, and research. It's important to differentiate objective writing from subjective writing, which is writing that you cannot evaluate, calculate, or verify.
To write objectively, avoid being vague, prejudiced, and over exaggerated. Avoid using first person and try to include credible sources. Following those tips will make your writing more difficult to be argued against and will therefore assist in your credibility as a writer. Your audience will be more inclined to listen to what you're writing!
How To Write Objectively
- Write specific instead of vague facts
- Do not use opinionated or prejudiced language
- Write in the third person
- Do not use words to exaggerate what you are writing
Once you have finished, you should be able to:
- Explain what it means to write objectively
- State the characteristics of objective writing
- Recall how to avoid prejudice in your writing
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