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The book contains techniques that some people may find useful.

Can anyone give me some explanation on this sentence whether it's a fact or opinion.

Seems like a very basic question, but it really makes my head spin. For me, this is definitely a opinion. I understand that statement like "Tina Goodman said that music helped improve her health." is a fact if she did say it, despite what she said is opinion. But this sentence isn't something like "He believes the book contains techniques that some people may find useful". In addition, the "some people may find useful" modifier signify that a sentence refered to such techniques isn't always true; they may or may not be useful to people. However, one stated otherwise. So I'm confused.

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    This hinges on the boundaries, the stipulative definitions of 'fact' and 'opinion' chosen, if only subconsciously (and philosophical arguments). Also note that the book testably contains [details of] techniques. But when it gets to 'techniques that some may find useful', it gets deep. What if all the techniques involve faster-than-light travel? Mar 14, 2021 at 16:32
  • 1
    Being useful, or true, are not the same thing and neither is exclusive of the other. A statement may be untrue, yet still be useful in some way. But if the passage contains the first highlighted statement then it is a fact; Tina did say that. The second highlighted statement seems to be an opinion, but without seeing the text, I can't be as certain as someone like yourself who has read the text. Mar 14, 2021 at 16:32
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    There's a trick question, as anyone can look at anything and may find it useful, or you could decide that no one could ever do that, so it's opinion (bad opinion). Either way, the question mentions a bood review we do not see. Mar 14, 2021 at 16:45
  • The answer will depend on what kind of usefulness is referred to. In any event, it is not clear what is the purpose of classifying the sentence one way or the other. It could be very important in a court of law, but there one would rely on an elaborate body of law to make the decision. If one is not in a court of law, why does it matter?
    – jsw29
    Mar 14, 2021 at 17:36
  • We would have to have access to book to determine whether this is true or not. Because we don't have access, we cannot answer this question. Mar 14, 2021 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


Given that the passage is about music therapy, and the writer is the director of music therapy, we can say that his statements on that subject should be taken seriously.

The book contains techniques that some people may find useful.

We assume that there are “techniques” in the book – that much can be take as a fact.

The question is whether “some people may find some of those techniques useful” is a fact or not.

The statement “The book contains techniques that some people may find useful.” Addresses the entire population of the world.

The “some people” would only require there to be three people out of 7.5 billion who may find any one technique to be useful. Of that population, there is bound to be 3 people who “may” find a technique useful as we are including the stupid, the genius, the writer, the writer’s friends and the downright gullible. (It is possible that all the techniques are very good.)

The sentence is a fact. That the sentence expresses an uncertainty, i.e. “may find”, is irrelevant. A fact can be uncertain: “That wall might fall down” and "You might guess the number I am thinking of" are facts.

If the writer had said “The book contains techniques that some people will find useful.” That would be pretty close to a “fact” but just falls short as there is no certainty that it is true, yet it purports to be.

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