I recently got into a heated debate with my girlfriend regarding the differences between what one considers judgement, opinion, and fact. Where do you draw the line?

The example I gave is-
Judgement: Judy always wears ugly dresses.
Opinion: I don't like the dresses Judy wears.
Fact: The dresses Judy wears are poorly rated online.

We started this debate because she felt that I was being judgmental when I said that there are more higher-ranked universities in Massachusetts than in Pennsylvania or New York. Is this truly a judgement, or more of an opinion bordering a fact (it's ranked online)?

  • No need to debate when there is an official source for universities ranking: timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2015/…. This is a fact and our opinions and biases cannot change that!
    – Eilia
    Aug 19, 2015 at 12:57
  • @Eilia: An official source that is making judgments about universities? Not sure what that tells us.
    – Robusto
    Aug 19, 2015 at 13:03
  • @Robusto, We don't want to argue about fact and reality, but such judgment is regarded as a fact in the community.
    – Eilia
    Aug 19, 2015 at 13:12
  • 3
    It seems to me the core sense of fact is a statement [almost] everyone believes to be true, and/or the veracity of which can be repeatedly confirmed by direct observation / experiment. But it's a racing cert that at some point in the past, everyone believed the earth was flat, so we have to accept that facts are not immutably true or false. Leading to the somewhat tautological definition that a "fact" is any statement that most people currently consider to be a fact. Aug 19, 2015 at 13:21
  • There is a great difference between saying 'You are making a judgment' and 'You are being judgmental', at least as the latter term is generally used in the UK. It seems to be less marked in the US, but the overtones must still be there (judgmental (adjective): condemnatory, self-righteous, censorious, pharisaic, critical {Collins Thesaurus of the English Language} Aug 19, 2015 at 13:53

3 Answers 3


Without getting into a long discussion about epistemology, your statement as phrased still has subjective aspects, especially in "online" (which source) and "more higher-ranked." Does the latter mean having more listings within the top 10? 100? 4000? Pennsylvania and New York have more accredited universities than Massachusetts and some of them are pretty highly ranked.

A more objective fact might state that "The Times Higher Education overall top 10 includes more universities in Massachusetts than in Pennsylvania or New York." The Times is expressing their judgment when they make those assertions about some universities being better than others.


We begin by saying FACT REMAINS that..............So this is Fact. Anyone's opinions or judgement cannot change it.(The fact is true--the often used error correction. OK. ; it is a fact)

Opinion is one's own discretion; others may accept/reject it if their judgement endorses as such. Hence, it would be pertinent to mention here that judgement is the stepping stone on the basis of which opinions are formulated and shaped. However, a judge mostly depends on circumstantial evidence to formulate his opinion and there after pronouncing judgement.

Your judgement shapes your opinion and with both of them you strive at the fact(TRUTH). BUT THE FACT REMAINS.

  • But saying 'The fact remains that' may be merely opinion on the part of the speaker. Apr 8, 2016 at 14:36
  • @ Edwin Ashworth you are right it is a set phrase, nothing more than an incipit. We may delve deeper as to how this incipit / wordings come into being. Apr 9, 2016 at 19:21

You're right!

Now you can be gracious and try to understand the really important thing, which is why she felt judgmentalism emanating from you.

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