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A fact is something that has really happened or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is whether it can be seen to be true. Standard reference works are often used to check facts. Scientific facts are verified by careful observation or measurement (by experiments or other means).
Facts as statements
A fact is a "statement" (what a person says) about something that is true. A fact can answer questions like, "what color is it?" or "who made that?"
An opinion is different from a fact. But you can say facts about a person's opinion. For example, someone can ask a question like "What is Alice's opinion about the book?" You can answer this question with a fact, for example "Alice said she likes the book." Then it is a fact that Alice says she likes the book. But maybe Alice does not like the book. So it not a fact that Alice likes the book, but it is a fact that Alice says she likes the book.
It is sometimes hard to know if something a person said is a fact or is an opinion. If you want to learn a fact, is important to ask many different people the same question. Every person will have a different story. But the parts of the story that are the same are possibly facts. The parts of the story that are different are possibly opinions.
One very good way to learn a fact is if a person can help you see it. For example, if you ask, "do you have my book?" To answer this question, a person can let you see your book. Then you can know it is a fact that this person has your book.
Examples of fact statements
- Your heart pumps blood through your body.
- The leaves of growing plants are usually green.
- People use their legs to walk.
- Some people keep dogs as pets.
- 1 liter of water weighs 1 kilogram.
- There are 50 states in the United States.
- Water always comes from the sky.
- Dogs are made of cheese.
- All people read books.
- Cows live under water.
- There are horses alive on the moon.
- The moon is made out of cheese.
A scientific theory is knowledge of important facts about a natural thing. The facts in a scientific theory always have evidence that shows that the fact is not false.
A person who understands the scientific method can test to see if the facts of a scientific theory are correct. When statements have been tested and shown to be not false, they are said to be "true". The facts of each scientific theory have usually been questioned and tested for a very long time by many people. However, the critical point is that an agreed method has been used to show that the statement is not false. Because of this, we know that the knowledge of a scientific theory is fact and not opinion. Examples of scientific theories include the theory of relativity and the theory of evolution.