Objective Description: Definition & Examples (2024)

Objectively speaking, healthy orchids have green leaves. This is objective because it is largely confirmed and therefore not an opinion. An objective description is the use of facts to create an image in your mind. Sometimes, however, descriptions blur the line between the subjective and the objective. Studying examples of each can help you identify the difference.

Definition and purpose of objective descriptions

An objective description is a classification of description. A description is the use of words to create an image in your mind. What makes an objective description different from other kinds of description is that it is factual.

The purpose of objective description is to create an accurate mental representation of the subject in the reader’s mind. If you want a reader to know the rubber duck is green, you describe it as green. Then, the reader will imagine a green rubber duck, instead of the yellow rubber duck most people imagine.

Objective Description: Definition & Examples (1)Bit of an odd fella, flaticon

Objective descriptions thrive when they act as clarification, and contrast with the expectations of readers. You might not need to describe springtime grass as green, since most people imagine it that way, but if the springtime grass of an alien planet is purple, you will likely describe that in order to clarify its appearance.

You will find objective descriptions everywhere you read. In nonfiction passages, objective descriptions will clarify real-world objects, characters, and settings in order to contextualize the place and time. In fiction passages, objective description will help you to understand foreign and fictional worlds. In action scenes, objective descriptions will help you understand the movement of the characters and their results. Wherever you find an objective description, the goal is always accurate. The question is, how accurate can you get?

The difference between objective description and subjective description

An orchid has wide leaves. Is this an objective description? Not strictly, because what does “wide” really mean? The term “wide” is subjective because there is no quantifiable measurement or classification that correlates to "wide".

Yet intuitively, calling “wide” subjective in this context seems fussy. If terms like big, small, wide, and bumpy are subjective, then objective descriptions would consist purely of verifiable measurements. For example, you would have to describe an orchid leaf as being 2.4 inches wide, instead of just "wide," in order for it to be an "objective" description. This seems silly when the purpose of an objective description is to create an accurate mental representation of the subject in the reader’s mind.

To give another example, you would probably be better served calling a pea pod “bumpy” than laboriously charting out its curvature using math. The former would give the reader an idea of what it looks like; the latter would mean nothing to most readers.

So, how objective should you be?

The key is your audience. If you are writing a scientific paper for biology class, you should probably use highly objective descriptions. If you are writing a creative story for composition class, you should probably use modestly objective descriptions.

A highly objective description creates a quantifiably accurate mental representation of the subject in the reader’s mind.

A modestly objective description creates a casually accurate mental representation of the subject in the reader’s mind.

So what’s the difference between a modestly objective description and a subjective description, then? The answer lies in the intent. A modestly objective description is intended to be simple. It is lightly interpretable.

The tree is filled with flowers.

On the other hand, a subjective description is intended to be complex. It is interpretable.

The tree is gorgeous.

It is much easier to draw a tree that “objectively” has many flowers than a tree that is “objectively” gorgeous. At least "many" is a counting term! A modestly objective description isn’t really intended to be open-ended, the way a subjective description often is. A modestly objective description is just a simple, good enough way to describe something in a casual or artistic context.

The lines blur: Poets often use modestly objective descriptions to create highly open-ended poems. Consider a poem like this: "In red and gold / A soldier staggers forever onward." This could be interpreted in a definitive, objective way, that the soldier is wearing a red and gold uniform. However, these simple words could also be a metaphor for blood and false glory. At the end of the day, when a description is left vague, the reader will complete the image and create their own interpretation. Once the words are in the hands of the reader, the writer’s job is over.

Using facts and evidence to create objective descriptions

If you are writing an argumentative essay or a scientific paper, you will get a lot of use out of highly objective descriptions. To determine if your description is highly objective, consider its specificity. Let’s start with an example of a non-specific description, and then develop it into a specific description.

Redwood National Park has big trees.

What kind of big trees? Cedar trees? No, redwood trees. Let’s specify that.

The redwood trees of Redwood National Park are big.

Cedar trees are big, too. That big? No, redwood trees are much bigger than cedar trees. To be more specific, let’s include a height.

The redwood trees of Redwood National Park stand as tall as 325 feet when fully grown.

This is a highly objective description, although it could be better, depending on your audience. If your audience is not very familiar with trees, something like this would strengthen your description of the redwood tree:

Where a typical cedar tree rarely grows over 150 feet tall, the redwood trees of Redwood National Park stand as tall as 325 feet when fully grown.

Using multiple quantifiable details, you have now objectively described how big a redwood tree is. Well done!

Objective Description: Definition & Examples (2)Big and beautiful, almost objectively, flaticon.


Whether highly or modestly objective, no objective descriptions are completely a matter of personal opinion, unlike some subjective descriptions. When writing an objective description of any kind, avoid polarizing claims. Avoid anything you recognize as personal preference or personal opinion. Stick to what is more or less obvious!

How many objective descriptions to include

Because our audience wasn’t familiar with the heights of trees, remember how we used the common cedar tree to help contextualize the awesome size of the redwood tree? This is using objective description to describe a foreign concept.

A foreign concept is a subject not well-understood by your reader.

The more foreign your concept, the more you will need to describe it. Say you are a science fiction or fantasy writer. You will need to use a lot more description to bring your setting to life than a general fiction writer whose story takes place on Earth in the modern-day. Because your fantasy world is very foreign, it will take more effort to create an accurate representation of it in your reader’s mind.

In fact, it will probably take too much effort. This is why many writers rely on modestly objective, vague, and subjective descriptions to get their images across. Although more is left up to the reader, it takes less time to write. Besides, leaving more up to the reader is a good habit to develop as a story writer:

The pockywood tree of Bratpatch stood as tall as a mountain giant.

As far as objective description, only use an amount that suits your pacing, your medium, and your audience. Too much description of any kind can slow down a story and even an essay.

When to include objective descriptions in your essay

When writing an essay, use descriptions only when necessary. While it is important to keep your reader well-informed, you don’t want to slow down the exploration of your thesis. When contextualizing the height of a redwood tree, it is helpful to describe the height of a common tree, but it is not helpful to describe the height of the ten tallest trees in North America. One takes part in a sentence. The other could take a paragraph.

When using objective descriptions to contextualize your argument, always consider what your audience stands to gain. Consider, will the sheer extent of your contextualization benefit or distract your reader? Are you keeping them on track with regard to your thesis, or are you going down a rabbit hole? Is this something you need to include, or is this something you would like to include?

Examples of objective descriptions

If you need examples of objective descriptions, here is a variety of them across multiple genres. In each example, the objective description is underlined.

Twenty-six angry emotes danced through the Twitch chat of ClabeSpade42.

The cyclist cruised through the yellowed valley at high speeds.

Tall and square, the porch acted like a waterfall for the falling rain.

At a staggering eight feet tall, the partially scaled half-dragon warrior hefted her huge two-ton hammer.

No one dared to enter the burning hot hole in the earth, which rapidly reached a temperature of 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use these to help you identify objective descriptions in your own passages!

Objective Description - Key takeaways

  • An objective description is the use of facts to create an image in someone's mind.
  • A highly objective description creates a quantifiably accurate mental representation of the subject in the reader’s mind.
  • A modestly objective description creates a casually accurate mental representation of the subject in the reader’s mind. A modestly objective description is intended to be simple.
  • The more foreign your concept, the more you will need to describe it.
  • When writing an essay, use descriptions only when necessary.
Objective Description: Definition & Examples (2024)

FAQs

What is an objective description example? ›

An objective sample:

The kitchen table is rectangular, seventy-two inches long and thirty inches wide. Made of a two-inch-thick piece of oak, its top is covered with a waxy oilcloth patterned in dark red and blue squares against a white background.

What is objective description and subjective description? ›

Anything objective sticks to the facts, but anything subjective has feelings. Objective and subjective are opposites. Objective: It is raining. Subjective: I love the rain!

What is an example of objective and subjective? ›

Comparison chart
ObjectiveSubjective
Commonly found inEncyclopedias, textbooks, news reportingNewspaper editorials, blogs, biographies, comments on the Internet
Suitable for decision making?Yes (usually)No (usually)
Suitable for news reporting?YesNo
1 more row

What is an example of objective language? ›

For example, consider this statement from a politician seeking reelection: "I have served two terms in the United States Senate, and I am endorsed by twenty-five of my fellow senators." It is clear that this statement contains objective language, because checking the facts will prove that the candidate did serve two ...

What are the example of subjective description? ›

We use the word subjective to describe things that have a personal interpretation or when the factual nature of a statement can be debated: Examples: No matter what you say, doctors' opinions are always subjective. I feel your analysis on the issue has become subjective, because you know the people involved.

What are the two types of description? ›

Two Types of Description: Objective and Impressionistic.

What is an objective statement? ›

An objective statement is a concise, position-centered statement describing the value you can add and the needs you can fulfill. An objective may include a brief statement of skills and qualifications you will bring to a position. A professional summary is longer and provides more detail than an objective statement.

What is an example of a subjective claim? ›

Subjective claims & opinions

They are outside the realm of what is verifiable. For example, consider the following subjective claims: Trout tastes better than catfish. Touching a spider is scary.

What is the difference subjective and objective? ›

Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. Objective: (of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Which of the following are examples of objective sources? ›

Example Objective Resources: Books, Journal Articles, Newspapers, Library Databases including Opposing Viewpoints and Facts on File.

Which sentence is an example of a subjective statement? ›

Subjective truth might be different for different people, depending on their own tastes, preferences, or experiences. The sentence “It's very cold outside” is a subjective statement, because how true this sentence is depends on personal opinions and experiences.

What is objective statement and subjective statement? ›

An objective statements based on the factual matter can be proved, but subjective statements clearly outline opinion, an expression of belief or personal preferences that can't be proved at any cost. It is often suited in news reporting or bringing decision making for the business.

How do you write a main objective? ›

When writing your objectives try to use strong positive statements. Achievable – Don't attempt too much – a less ambitious but completed objective is better than an over-ambitious one that you cannot possible achieve. Realistic – do you have the necessary resources to achieve the objective – time, money, skills, etc.

What is objective language in a sentence? ›

Objective language is a way of talking about things in a way that does not express opinion, feelings, personal biases etc. Being objective means talking in a way that is measurable, quantifiable and is based on data and scientific fact. It also means not exaggerating or distorting the data.

How do you write more objective in a sentence? ›

Our top tips include:
  1. Try to avoid unnecessary use of the first person and first-person pronouns.
  2. Focus on facts and cite sources clearly to back up your claims.
  3. Aim for balance and consider multiple perspectives.
  4. Beware of emotive language that betrays a subjective opinion.
  5. Use a formal writing style throughout.
11 Jul 2021

What is an objective paragraph? ›

Objective means “not influenced by personal feelings or interpretation.” A summary is a short statement that gives the main points or ideas of something. So an objective summary is a short statement or paragraph that tells what something is about but does not include irrelevant details or your opinions.

What is objective in English grammar? ›

In English grammar, objective case is the case of a pronoun when it functions as one of the following: the direct or indirect object of a verb or verbal. the object of a preposition. the subject of an infinitive. an appositive to an object.

When should you use subjective description? ›

Generally speaking, subjective is used to describe something that exists in the mind of a person or that pertains to viewpoints of an individual person.

What is a description example? ›

The definition of a description is a statement that gives details about someone or something. An example of description is a story about the places visited on a family trip.

What are the 3 types of definition? ›

All definitions attempt to explain or clarify a term. This lesson will introduce you to the three different types of definitions: formal, informal, and extended.

What is the example of description sentence? ›

“Drops of rain exit the pillowcases, drowsily float like feathers, soar in many directions.” “It is raining today; the crystal clear raindrops hit the ground silently.” “It's a dim, gluey, rainy day that feels like dark green, sticky frogs are on my skin.”

How do you answer an objective for a job application? ›

Be Specific. If you choose to include an objective, make it detailed. For instance, a statement like “Seeking a position where I can use my skills to benefit the company” won't do because it's too vague. Instead, name the position you want, the skills you have to offer and how they would benefit the company.

What is an objective statement in a report? ›

They are short statements that describe exactly what you want. While your overarching goal, for example, may be to get a job, your resume statement may state that you want a job as a nurse. In a business context, objective statements provide precise details about how you plan to achieve a business goal.

How do you write an objective for a paper? ›

To keep your writing objective, try to follow these tips:
  1. Be specific instead of vague or general. ...
  2. Do not use opinionated, prejudiced, or exclusive language. ...
  3. Avoid using first person to keep it more professional and less about you. ...
  4. Try not to over exaggerate your writing.
22 Aug 2021

Which is an example of an objective statement quizlet? ›

Objective Example: "That car is very cool looking." A statement that expresses the belief, opinion, or personal preference of a person. Free from all prejudice, favoritism or opinions.

Does objective mean fact? ›

The word “objective” refers to factual, data-based information that is not informed by bias. Although feelings and personal opinions are not objective, objective data like facts or historical information can form the basis for an opinion or feeling.

Is truth an objective? ›

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, scientific truth is objective, confirmed by proof, and is — or at least, ideally should be — universally accepted.

What does it mean to be objective in writing? ›

The convention of 'objective' writing is that arguments use impartial language, which is not personal, judgmental, or emotive. Objective language, therefore, is considered fair and accurate. It avoids exaggeration and bias, and shows respect for the views of others. Introduction. Everyday language is 'subjective'.

What is an objective evidence? ›

Objective evidence means quantitative or qualitative information, records, or statements of fact pertaining to safety or to the existence and implementation of an SMS element, which is based on observation, measurement, or testing that can be verified.

Where are objective observations used? ›

Objective observations are used for child assessment and injury reports. Subjective observations are observations that are influenced by past events, opinions, background or personal experience often biased information.

Why are objective sources important? ›

Reliable publishers rarely involve themselves with unreliable information. A source is objective if it provides both sides of an argument or more than one viewpoint. Although you can use sources that do not provide more than one viewpoint, you need to balance them with sources that provide other viewpoints.

What are the objectives of writing skills? ›

What are the main objectives teaching of type-writing skill?
  • To Develop the Ability to Operate Type-writer efficiently. ...
  • To Have Correct Knowledge of English and to apply it. ...
  • Developing Ability to use the Machine. ...
  • Developing Habits of Corrections.

What is objective data in research? ›

By definition, objective data is data that is collected or obtained via established or verifiable facts and sources. It is collected to confirm your suspicions and assumptions – or merely to gather dependable information. It is something that can be felt, touched, smelled, seen, heard, and tasted.

Which sentence is an example of an objective summary? ›

"Malaria was common in marshy areas where mosquitoes bred" is an example of an objective summary. Explanation: Objective summary gives central idea and the supporting ideas that helps to understand the central idea. It does not include references from other texts.

Is the text objective or subjective? ›

An objective text is neutral. The author states facts but does not give opinions or try to persuade readers to believe his or her point of view. A subjective text is written from a particular point of view and the author uses many devices to try to persuade readers that his or her point of view is correct.

Which of the following is an objective claim? ›

Objective claim has this characteristic: whether it is true or false is independent of whether people think it is true or false. Example. "there is life on Mars" is thus an objective claim, because whether or not life exists there doesn't depend on whether people think it does.

What is objective summary? ›

An objective summary is a summary that does not include any opinions or judgments about what is written in the text. Instead, it only includes information that comes from the text. Writing objective summaries can help you understand texts that you read and identify the most important information in the text.

Is life objective or subjective? ›

Because objectively, there is no such thing as meaningless or meaningful. Things are simply 'there'. Objectively there would be no such thing as meaning or value or Meaninglessness or invaluable.

What are smart objectives examples? ›

SMART goal examples
  • Specific: Increase recurring revenue in 2019.
  • Measurable: Achieve a 25% increase versus one year ago.
  • Attainable: Improve upon 2018 performance with 15% increase through new customers and reduced churn.
  • Relevant: Revenue is the engine that drives our profitability.
18 Mar 2022

How do you start an objective paragraph? ›

Here's how to write an objective for a resume:

Start with a strong trait, add 2–3 key skills, describe your professional goals, and say what you hope to do for the company. State the position to which you're applying and use the name of the company. Keep it short: 2–3 sentences or 30–50 words is the sweet spot.

What are the 3 learning objectives? ›

In summary, Cognitive objectives emphasize THINKING, Affective objectives emphasize FEELING and. Psychomotor objectives emphasize ACTING.

What is the objectively best language? ›

English came out on top, but not by much. Most of languages grouped pretty closely together, however, Japanese lagged behind the rest. Interestingly, the languages that conveyed the least amount of information per syllable, like Spanish, Japanese, and French, tended to be spoken at a faster rate.

How do you show objectivity? ›

Employees demonstrate objectivity by detaching and reflecting on their impulses and seeking the perspective of others. They can fully explain their decisions and keep an open mind about how biases can affect them.

What are the 3 types of objectives? ›

Within the organization there are three levels of objectives: strategic goals, tactical objectives, and operational objectives.

How do you write an objective? ›

Here are some key tips to keep in mind when you are writing down the Objectives:
  1. Objectives should be inspirational and easy to remember. ...
  2. Objectives should be qualitative. ...
  3. Objectives should be actionable and achievable in a quarter. ...
  4. Objectives should provide business value. ...
  5. Objectives should not be easy.

What is an objective paragraph? ›

Objective means “not influenced by personal feelings or interpretation.” A summary is a short statement that gives the main points or ideas of something. So an objective summary is a short statement or paragraph that tells what something is about but does not include irrelevant details or your opinions.

What are learning objectives examples? ›

Here is an example of how learning goals and learning outcomes relate to each other: Learning goal: “I want students to understand/learn/know the scientific method.” Learning objective: “Students will be able to describe the scientific methods and provide examples of its application.”

What are smart objectives examples? ›

SMART goal examples
  • Specific: Increase recurring revenue in 2019.
  • Measurable: Achieve a 25% increase versus one year ago.
  • Attainable: Improve upon 2018 performance with 15% increase through new customers and reduced churn.
  • Relevant: Revenue is the engine that drives our profitability.
18 Mar 2022

What are the importance of objectives? ›

Objectives help define goals, identify conflicting activities, guide elements of the decision-making process, and ensure accountability of personnel within an organization. Without clearly defined goals and supporting objectives, goal displacement often occurs.

How do you write a clear objective? ›

5 Steps to Writing Clear and Measurable Learning Objectives
  1. Identify the Level of Knowledge Necessary to Achieve Your Objective. ...
  2. Select an Action Verb. ...
  3. Create Your Very Own Objective. ...
  4. Check Your Objective. ...
  5. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
5 Jun 2022

What do we mean by objective? ›

1a : something toward which effort is directed : an aim, goal, or end of action. b : a strategic position to be attained or a purpose to be achieved by a military operation. 2 : a lens or system of lenses that forms an image of an object.

What is objective summary? ›

An objective summary is a summary that does not include any opinions or judgments about what is written in the text. Instead, it only includes information that comes from the text. Writing objective summaries can help you understand texts that you read and identify the most important information in the text.

How do you start an objective paragraph? ›

Here's how to write an objective for a resume:

Start with a strong trait, add 2–3 key skills, describe your professional goals, and say what you hope to do for the company. State the position to which you're applying and use the name of the company. Keep it short: 2–3 sentences or 30–50 words is the sweet spot.

What is an objective statement in a report? ›

They are short statements that describe exactly what you want. While your overarching goal, for example, may be to get a job, your resume statement may state that you want a job as a nurse. In a business context, objective statements provide precise details about how you plan to achieve a business goal.

How do you state objectives? ›

Each objective should begin with a verb that describes an observable behavior, such as "describe, summarize, demonstrate, compare, plan, score", etc. You can observe the participant and measure how well the objective was met. The columns below list great verbs to use for your objectives.

What are personal learning objectives? ›

Personal learning goals are the behaviours, knowledge or understandings that students identify as important to their own learning. They may relate to general work habits, specific subjects, domains of learning, or a combination of these.

How do you define learning objectives? ›

Learning objectives are statements that describe significant and essential learning that learners have achieved, and can reliably demonstrate at the end of a course or program. In other words, learning objectives identify what the learner will know and be able to do by the end of a course or program.

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