I'm trying to think of a word that means something along these lines:

An open statement. Not a number. Not something absolute. Not something calculable. A free statement. A literary premise.

E.g. "cheese may be good for you" as opposed to "17.6"


The word needs to represent a collection of non-mathematical, non-technical sources. E.g. "non-mathematical" or "literary" (except those don't cut it.)

Used in a sentence: I calculated agreement between _ sources.

  • I'm not really sure what you mean by an "open statement." You say it's "a literary premise"; does that mean a premise for a work of fiction or something like that? "Cheese may be good for you" doesn't sound as if it would carry a literary work far.
    – user32047
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 10:40
  • I'm using the word 'literary' here to mean any written work, fiction or non-fiction (as opposed to a mathematical formula).
    – Alasdair
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 10:46
  • The only word I can think of offhand is "theoretical." Closely related, perhaps, is the term "propositional." Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 12:15
  • Fun question. I think that the term you want exists. I recall reading about a fitting term in an Intro to Stats class. Could you provide some more acceptable examples? They might jog my memory.
    – Hal
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 12:34
  • @gmcgath: doesn't sound as if it would carry a literary work far.? Speak for yourself! I can't wait to read the next sentence in that cheese-based potboiler! Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 14:32

3 Answers 3


I believe 'subjective' would work well.

From Wikipedia:

"Subjectivity [refers to] a subject's personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view"

I think that it nicely fits into your example sentence. "I calculated agreement between subjective sources"


You said that the term you will use must represent a collection of 'non-mathematical' sources.

The word needs to represent a collection of non-mathematical

In my view, 'calculated' is not well suited to describe work with 'non-mathematical' things.

I calculated agreement between _ sources

May I suggest that you consider using a verb such as 'evaluated' instead of 'calculated'. In my opinion, 'compare' might be the most effective verb: Compare represents an evaluation of the similarities among the objects of comparison. It could replace both 'calculated' and 'agreement' - I compared subjective sources.

Merriam-Webster's first definition for 'compare': to represent as similar

American Heritage's first definition for 'compare': To consider or describe as similar, equal, or analogous; liken

I hope that this was helpful. Good luck

  • Subjective does fit the best so far. Thanks! Regarding "calculated", that was only an example sentence but also I do actually calculate. The title of the paper is now: Determining statistical significance of agreement between multiple subjective sources
    – Alasdair
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 13:06
  • Ah, I understand. Good luck!
    – Hal
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 13:15
  • @Alasdair I came across 'intersubjectivity', that might be better. Wikipedia: "First, in its weakest sense intersubjectivity refers to agreement. There is intersubjectivity between people if they agree on a given set of meanings or a definition of the situation. For example, Thomas Scheff defines intersubjectivity as "the sharing of subjective states by two or more individuals."
    – Hal
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 3:00

Proposition, proposal, supposition, assumption, suggestion, assertion.

  • Thanks, but I'm looking for something that sums up a collection of sources in the manner I described. E.g. non-mathematical or literary (except those don't cut it.)
    – Alasdair
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 10:49
  • Well, I answered before you added your edit clarification. Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 6:15

The word you are looking for is qualitative (as opposed to quantitative). It relates to measuring the quality of something (e.g. the "goodness" of cheese for you) in a non-numeric way.

For example, in psychology, there is qualitative analysis of statements people make.

  • Hi Matt. Unfortunately I don't think I can use "qualitative" because the study is of the quantity of these statements, and so it would be extremely confusing in that context to refer to them as qualitative statements.
    – Alasdair
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 12:15
  • @Alasdair: It sounds as though you will be engaged in quantitative analysis of qualitative sources.
    – user11752
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 12:50
  • Hi Mark, you may be right, but I would prefer to avoid using that terminology because I foresee it causing confusion.
    – Alasdair
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 13:12

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