Suppose the context is people giving their opinions in a discussion.

How are "view" and "viewpoint" different? Some dictionaries seem to say they are the same. What do native speakers think?

  • I'm not a native speaker, but when I use the word view, I subconsciously focus on the way I view that sth., and when I use the word viewpoint, I subconsciously focus on where I view that sth. from. Kind of when I watch TV, the screen is my view, and where I sit is my viewpoint. – Damkerng T. Nov 23 '13 at 4:23
  • Which are the dictionaries that say they are the same? – Kris Nov 23 '13 at 7:38

I think this is a case where most natives don't think that hard about these words and use them almost interchangeably.

Having said that, if I were to draw a distinction, I'd say that a view expresses what is seen and that a viewpoint expresses the position from which the viewing occurs. Quite often though, what is seen is tightly coupled to where you're looking from.

Therefore somebody's view on a subject lays out their observations and conclusions. Their viewpoint (in the vernacular- where they're coming from) informs those observations and conclusions.

For example:

Somebody's views on pit bulls might be that they should be made illegal. They might think this because their viewpoint is one of having had a child mauled by a pit bull.

Someone else might have the view that pit bulls are not inherently dangerous and that they can be as sweet or as ill-tempered as any other dog based on how it was raised. They might think this because they're coming at it from the point of view of having grown up with a pit bull as a family pet that was the "sweetest most well-behaved dog ever".

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