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Is a fact implied within fictional literature still a fact actually?

Imagine this real-life conversation:

Person 1: "Does Deadpool have better healing abilities than Wolverine?"

Person 2: "I don't know. I will have to fact-check that."

In this situation, is it proper to refer to this piece of information as fact?

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closed as off topic by Mitch, Kris, kiamlaluno, waiwai933 Aug 28 '12 at 20:39

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Yeah it's unusual for a fictional character to be aware of their own immateriality. – z7sg Ѫ Apr 19 '12 at 16:59
What do you mean by 'is it proper'? – Barrie England Apr 19 '12 at 17:32
Meaning, if I turn in a paper to a professor, am I going to get marked of for refering something in a fictional literature as fact. (not actually the case, just trying to put it in context) – hydroparadise Apr 19 '12 at 17:49
This seems to have little to do with English language. Maybe try this on writers.SE, literature.SE, or scifi.SE. – Mitch Apr 19 '12 at 20:23
The root here is usage of the word fact (which is English), and it's validity of in this context. Not sure how it has "little to with the English language", although the question still might be a fit for the other SE sites mentioned. – hydroparadise Apr 19 '12 at 20:33
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I don't see any real problem with using the word fact in this context. At the very least, it is logically valid. If Deadpool and Wolverine exist, then Deadpool can heal better than Wolverine. They certainly exist in the Marvel universe.

One may sometimes talk about facts in a fictional universe using the word canon. While in some sense it means official (as opposed to derivative), I believe it can also mean factual given the confines of the agreed-upon universe.

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+1 for canon revelation. – hydroparadise Apr 19 '12 at 18:52

Interesting question. Such a statement is a fact within the context of its fictional universe(s) -- I see your question as more of whether or not you should reference the context in which such a statement is fact. Since Deadpool and Wolverine are completely fictional characters that cannot be confused with reality, the fictional context is implicit within the statement. If it was a statement using real characters or things within a fictional context (was Abraham Lincoln's bear bigger than Benjamin Franklin's T-Rex?), then it would probably be appropriate to explicitly define your context.

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OP is taking pedantry to extremes here. In Lit. Crit. contexts (which we can assume are usually written by people competent in English), it's perfectly normal to come across...

"Faustus is in fact..." (171 hits in Google Books)

"Othello is in fact..." (867 hits)

"Macbeth is in fact..." (751 hits)

The term "in fact" usually introduces information the reader might either not be aware of, or be inclined to disagree with - but it's information in context. The context can be a fictional "world", just as much as the "real world".

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