Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Fact and Truth

Fact vs. Truth

What is the clear difference between a fact and a truth? Well, if you look into most dictionaries, you will be amazed to find that the two words are actually very close in terms of their definitions. This is because the two terms are very much related. That’s why you really can’t blame people for recognizing both as similar terms.

Fact is basically something that exists, or is present in reality. Hence, these are things that can be seen visually, and these are the things that can actually be verified. Facts are objective matters rather than subjective ones. It is not just something that you believe, but rather these are more or less the things that can be observed empirically, or by the senses. So, facts can be seen and heard, as well as proven by the other senses.

Truth can be described as the true state of a certain matter, may it be a person, a place, a thing or an event. It is what a person has come to believe. If he believes that something is true, then it is true. It also answers the questions of what’s really happening. In the technical sense, facts can answer certain ‘why’ questions, like ‘where’ or ‘when’, and even ‘how’, while truth answers the question ‘why’. The question of ‘how’, and even ‘what’, are said to be answerable by either of the two.

In terms of permanence, a fact happens to be more permanent, and almost always seems to have no changes. It is more constant than truths. For example, when you say that the sun will always rise from the east and set in the west, you are telling a fact, but when you say that you are in Los Angeles, then that is a truth, at least for that exact moment. Several hours from that time you may have gone somewhere else, making your previous statement a fallacy. Thus, a truth is something that is not universal, it is more subjective, and depends on the current situation. That’s why the truth’s existence is said to be more temporary than that of facts.

1. Facts are more objective when compared to the more subjective truths.
2. Facts are more permanent when compared to the more temporary truths.
3. Facts exist in reality, whereas truths are usually the things that one believes to be true, or the things that are true in the current situation.
4. Facts can also answer the ‘where,’ ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions, whereas truths answer the ‘why’ question.

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  1. truth–noun.(1)
    1. Conformity to fact or actuality.
    2. A statement proven to be or accepted as true.
    3. Sincerity; integrity.
    4. Fidelity to an original or standard.
    a. Reality; actuality.
    b. often Truth That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.

    (1) “truth” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 23 Apr. 2010. .

    My understanding of the truth, is that it is NOT arbitrary or ambiguous (as by subjecting it to a particular belief, relation, or other attribute), but rather IS grounded in deference to ALL of the facts (or, as many as possible to recognize). In this sense, the truth is more absolute and objective than a fact, or several facts, and the truth stands the test of time, as more facts are revealed through reality and hindsight.

    It is perhaps a fact that a common perception of the truth is that which is believed to be true. However, while something may be true based on someone’s belief, perception, or perspective, it is only true for that individual, and not necessarily The Truth, corroborated by extraneous, extenuating, or mitigating facts.

    “What you perceive, your observations, feelings, interpretations, are all your truth. Your truth is important. Yet it is not The Truth.” – Linda Ellinor, Author

    “The right to search for the truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be the truth” – Albert Einstein, Physicist

    “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” – Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister

  2. “Truth can be described as the true state of a certain matter, may it be a person, a place, a thing or an event. It is what a person has come to believe. If he believes that something is true, then it is true.”

    In that case, if I have come to believe that the moon is made of cheese, then it is true that the moon is made of cheese. That’s because if I believe that something is true, then it is true.

    So nobody ever has false beliefs.

    • That’s true, but because Facts support the Truth and Truth is more temporary than that of facts, then Truths can change. In this case it is True that the Moon is made of cheese, unless and until, someone alters that state of truth by visiting the moon and providing objective factual evidence that it is not made of cheese, then the Truth is altered to a new position – a factually supported Truth. Therefore people do have false beliefs – but they are honestly held beliefs.

      • In logic the conclusion is true, e.g. the moon is made of cheese, if it follows from the antecedent premises (those that made me believe that the moon is made of cheese). But if subsequent proof renders one or more of my antecedent premises false, then the conclusion is false.

      • I fail to understand the gross ignorance of this site. All truths are absolute, bar none; whether supported by facts or not. Was the Law of Gravity any less true before it was postulated or proven? Conversely, anything that is proven to be untruthful, never was true; no matter how many may have believed it to be so. The main subtle difference between facts and truths is that by definition facts are observable, ergo subject to one’s perceptions; and perceptions are not always reality. To reiterate my previous point, a truth need not be witnessed to be true. To wit, a tree that falls in the forest still makes a sound, even if no one is around to hear it.

        • Is all truth knowable then?
          If 61 degree feels cold to me but is not too my sister, does that make any of our position less valid, is it not then subjective to observer?

    • A belief is always correct. You may believe there is a dog outside because you hear barking but the fact is that someone is playing a recording of a dog barking. Beliefs and facts are separate so in the barking dog sound scenario, your belief is correct to you and anyone else who believes you but the fact is that a recording is playing.

      • Hi Rufus:
        When we introduce belief into the Fact-Truth equation, we exclusively (and erroneously) reference a single observer as a source of Fact.

        Belief is not necessarily a Fact.
        A set of beliefs does not help lead you to the Truth.

        In this instance, it is only when you learn the Fact that what you heard was a recorded barking, then you can start working your way to the the Truth – which may be that “Recorded barking is usually used to fend off intruders by some who don’t want to live with dogs”. [Also, recorded barking (a fact because we know it to exist in our world) may lead me to a different Truth if enough people in my world claim to use it for soporific effect.]

        Belief is correct only to the believer, but is irrelevant in the Fact-Truth equation.

        • So facts and beliefs;

          A man says he has three kids, that’s a belief; a woman says she has three children, that’s a fact! Inspire of the fact that one of her kids could have been swapped at birth, th fact still remains that she conceived and went under the knife thrice!

          So where is the place of truth in the statement above?

    • If I believe that something is true,without proof by definition that is an opinion. Your statement sounds like that to me but I stand to be corrected. Hence some define truth as an opposite to opinion. Vuyani Pop

  3. I am incline to consider that the truth is a down right rotten lie.

  4. This distinction rules out the logical possibility of false beliefs. According to the author, truth just is what a person believes. So “false belief” is a contradiction in terms.

    It also rules out the possibility of discovering a truth, since nothing is a truth until it is believed.

    Does the author think that anything is false? If so, how does ‘false’ relate to these terms? In logic, math, and computer science classes, I was told that ‘false’ was the opposite of ‘true.’ Does that mean that a falsehood is just anything that one does not believe? That can’t be right. Suppose that my wife is home, but I believe she’s not. (Maybe she’s in the backyard with the kids). According to the author, it is true that my wife is not home, since I believe it. Does that make it false that she is home, even though she is home? Does the author think that it is false that she is home and just ‘non-factual’ that she is away from home?

  5. i wont pretend to fully understand, if it seems otherwise please call me on it.

    to me it seems that which can be considered “false belief” can be put “in other words” like hypocrisy, to say one thing yet act another way or ignorance, the willfully so because if you are pressed on an issue which you have not really explored much you may come to find you don’t really believe (or hold true) what you claim to believe (or hold true). You may return to seeing that belief as truth upon further investigation however (personal note: in my case when it comes to Christianity, i doubt it) (or you can hold it as true but not factual).

    & @ Chris Shrock
    I guess it boils down to how one would interpret the reality.
    if i am confronted by my wife’s visage & proceed to walk through her as if she was a ghost or hallucination then i think that my consideration or belief of her as such is my truth till the facts have weighed on or convinced me other wise “in other words” come to my senses.

  6. Read the difference between fact & opinion, I’m still confused in it’s relation to this article.
    Got to make sure I comprehend.

  7. I agree that facts is more absolute than truths.
    Although sometimes the meaning of the two words can be confusing.
    They are similar though not exactly the same. The one thing that relates them are that both are not Ħ lie.
    Truth is actually Ħ factual fact after after it had beed proved.
    What I don’t understand though, why do people po to prison based on the truth, the whole n nothing but…
    Shouldn’t they be punished based on the facts. Just like what the author wrote?…
    Because it is wrong for us ti send someone to prison without proved of truths… Heck it is confusing!…

    • just my opinion: in order to get to the truth you need facts!? facts can be what is presented tangibly (circumstantial) to ‘try’ and prove truth which, in my opinion, cant be changed whereas facts can be changed: what ‘you’ are presenting can be something that was ‘planted’ ….truth is something that you KNOW have actual knowledge of , or may have witnessed whether the person choose to change the information it still doesnt, cant and wont change the truth… Just my opinion and I have no problem w/corrections when/if i’m proven otherwise

  8. Hi,

    Fact is out of reach or you are not able to change it is absolutely static , such as universe

    real is reachable but you don’t make it , you can touch it similar water , if you change it .it will be another thing.

    truth is reachable that you make it similar fire

  9. i believe that its the other way around personally.

    i see the fact as something that relies on a set of observations, perhaps even an experiment in order to concur what is, and what is not…. but the thing about the fact is they can very well be untrue. like, think about it guys. many years ago, it was commonly accepted fact that the earth was flat. or a more popular one thats always open for debate: the fact that man has been on the moon. could be, and couldnt be…. just as easily as the other.

    the truth on the other hand, is something far more obscure. something that even words can not begin to describe. it does not rely on a set of observations, and it can not even be replicated within a laboratory. its just always there, regardless of whether we “see” it or not.

    at any rate. there is a huge difference between the two. how someone may chose to define the difference is entirely up to them. however, i strongly believe that it should be common knowledge that the two are not interchangeable like that.

    also. capital letters are overrated. that is all.

  10. Fact is synonymous with objective reality, which is something that is outside there, you can see it, feel it and know it to be constant and unchangeable. It is a fact that one day man must die. It has been established and nothing can change it. But truth on the other hand is synonymous with subjective reality, which is what you think and believe to be true concerning any phenomenon. Your belief can change depending on the circumstances prevailing at that point of your belief. For instance, one can believe that the earth is spherical and the other also believe that the earth is round. The two beliefs are true to both believers at this particular time until it is proven otherwise by an empirical investigation into the real shape of the earth. Hence the report of the empirical investigation stands as an evidence that confirms either of the above beliefs. This evidence automatically changes what they believed to be true. Hence the two people are likely to change what they held as truth based on the evidence before them thereby changing their truth to fact.

  11. I understand what you are saying, however, I find it difficult to plainly see what you are stating. To be be honest, you seem to be (By my understanding in any case) inconsistent in your statements. Are you claiming that the two are mutually exclusive, or not? While each statement you’ve made is clear when read separately, as a whole this information seems to contradict itself, that is, each piece of evidence may be factual, as well as true in every meaning of the word, but it is very confusing to see what you are trying to point out.

  12. A fact becomes a truth through induction. A truth becomes a fact through deduction.

    Fact: Plant a seed, harvest an ear of corn. Truth: You reap what you sow.

    As a result, I believe the Bible is not altogether factual, but I do believe that it is altogether truthful, just as is a book of Aesop’s fables.

    An X can be both a fact and a truth; fact relative to a higher inductate and truth relative to a lower deductate. Neither fact nor truth have an absolute basis in reality; it’s all relative to our mindsets.

  13. From here, I perceived both are interwoven it needs no scholar to clarify but individual mindset. Even a teenager can best interprete the difference between fact and truth. But my opinion is fact is more real to mankind but only God has a vivid clue to the truth why? Because he’s the originator. Thanks

  14. Opinion and belief cannot be truth because truth cannot be false. Opinion and belief can be false. So can matters of fact. A matter of fact can be logically opposite of what it truly is. So it can be true that an answer is false and it can be false that an answer is true. The dichotomy of true/false is the matter of fact.

    Truth, is another matter entirely. Truth cannot be false, thus is a tautology. In other words a tautology is always true. However it cannot be true that 2 plus 2 sums to five. It also cannot be true that 2 plus 2 does not sum to four. Thus logic and math are about truth and belief and opinion are about matters of fact. Intuitive logic is built into the human mind and computers. Truly intuitive is always true, but if one claims that 2 plus 2 does not sum to four, it is a fact that he is mistaken. The basis of the mistake is a failure to apply the test of truth vs. fact. Ignorance is not a proof of truth or a disproof. One can ignore facts and get by with it, but not truth. As the Senator said, “You are entitled to your opinion even if false, but you are not entitled to your own truth.”

    Mankind has identified a deity that determines possible and impossible, but not factually true or factually false. Anselm said, “God is that than which nothing higher is possible.” Truth fills that need. Nothing is true without Truth, God; and nothing is false without Truth, God. God rules the possible and the impossible, nature rules matters of fact. Even nature is ruled by Truth and influenced by the impossible. You can create facts on the ground, but you cannot overrule Truth, God. You can assign a different name to any factual reality or belief, but you cannot change what something is or its possibility. You can ignore Truth, but you cannot overrule Truth. Even an atheist believes in a higher power, the power of truth, for he believes that it is true that there is no God. But, if it were true, then Truth would be “…that than which nothing higher is possible.” Even God requires Truth, because Truth is required if there is God and if God is not. So God, as most believe, is a matter of fact (or matters of fact that are not true), but as Truth, God is certain and it is not possible that God is not. Truth is always true and never false. God is, always was, and will always be everywhere and in all time.

    • For me, subjectively, this article is true because I believe in every single detail that it has. But for someone out there, this article is not true because they disagree so some points of it. So what is true to me can be false to others.

      On the other hand, considering some basis wherein everyone concurs, then that’s a Fact.

      We can say that Muslims do not believe in the practices of Catholics and vice versa. Because, both religions have their own “TRUTH” – way of believing/perceiving. But the FACT among those religions is “GOD” – both of them believe that there is “Someone” existing “the Perfect Being” – “GOD”

    • I had asked a question to Siri, which I needed a way to (give) discernment to the difference between: the bible facts of a theological student or a more learn’ed theologian & the meaning of truth, ” as heard ” by the Spirit of truth. I was looking for a way, to explain our angst of misunderstanding the sovereign difference between the 2. I’m not speaking of the faith~fact as different from tha faith~truth, but I’m speaking of the communication which may not have all the facts right: but, has the experiential truth manifest right. And there isn’t any way for the finite fact to own the infinite truth~ only come to an agreement with the infinite as much as endowed by it, thru their relationship with the sovereignty of absolute truth. And that explains to me~ why the disparity of belief, is; simply because the finite nature in a real relationship with infinite eternal truth, is what makes the frailty of all knowledge able to reach its understanding extemporaneously revelatory by spiritual~endowment alone. And that is where, when, what & how, faith~facts create our hope to reach thru its impossibilities, for the
      miraculously bequest to manifests the authority of truths evidence, thru the opposite’s attraction that only the absolute truth’s sovereignty…gives the key of knowledge to…in the temporary opening of its gate dimensional reception & conception’s advance.

  15. I fully disagree with this author for the same reason as many people above. Belief does not a truth make!

    The way I see it is that facts are individual units of truth. Like a few trillion drops of water make up an ocean, facts make up the truth.

    A truth will always be harder to get your head around and it will probably be impossible to verify directly. It’s almost like Truth is a summary of a bunch of facts.

    You can appreciate the facts without being able to handle the truth. Facts are independently verifiable; truth not so much.

    For instance, and this isn’t supposed to be political… just an example… but let’s say you say America is a plutocracy. This is not a fact-claim; it’s a truth-claim. You’d point out a series of facts that support the truth-claim. “Because of Facts A, and B, and C, and D, we can say it’s TRUE that the US is a plutocracy.”

    Saying that “the US is a plutocracy” is a FACT is going to get you weird looks. Saying “the US is a plutocracy” is TRUE, however, is different.

    Make any sense?

    • Hi Nate:
      I like your model of the relationship between Fact and Truth.

      It stands the test as to why “Truth” answers to the question “Why?” (from observation of Facts).

      Moreover, the TRUTH that anyone can filter from a sea of “Facts” to arrive at different “Truths” may be what makes the Truth often elusive.

  16. hello

    actually, the TRUTH is a proper subset of FACT.for example a pen in you hand is a fact but is not truth.when you write with pen,now it is a truth!

  17. Seems they simply mislabel “perception” as truth. Someone that perceives the moon to be made of cheese is simply misperceiving it. So no it is not the truth. It’s a perception.

    When that person testifies about the cheesy moon… he speaks honestly. But it is still not the truth.

    Or the fact.

    Writers make money on semantics.

    • If all you knew is that one perception than that would be true. It is when the greater majority knows this to be true that it becomes a fact. The inch is not an inch it is just agreed by a majority known to be true.

  18. real is true and reply for question why
    fact will reply for why
    for example: sun rise from east it is true , we ask why ? fact replies: because earth has rotating statue around the sun

  19. I have read the summary article and, in fact, all of the responses; and I find the entire discussion rather troubling. The “truth” and “fact” of the matter is that there is no meaningful distinction between “truth” and “fact,” as anything that is true is independently so, and anything that is a fact, is equally independently so. “I am sitting in a chair” is both true and a fact. “1 + 1 = 2” is both true and a fact. “I am responding to this discussion” is both true and a fact. Anything that is true is also a fact, and anything a fact is also true. And even if you could create a distinction, which would be likely be meaningless, “the truth and fact” is that society uses these terms to mean the same. Hence, your distinction will likely become non-existent over time. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fact?s=t something that actually exists; reality; truth: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/truth?s=t the true or actual state of a matter:
    “Something that actually exists, reality, truth” also means “true or actual state of a matter.” Moreover, truth is not something “you believe” as the dictionary clearly proves. The mere truth and fact that I believe the moon is green does not make it true (or a fact) that the moon is green.

    Geesh. Stop the merry-go-round! I want to get off!

    • There is no absolute distinction between fact and truth, just distinctions based on gentlemanly agreements (i.e. conventions). A common agreement is that facts exists within the context of time and space, whereas truth transcends both. I am sitting in my chair in my living room at such a time and date is a fact. Humans for the most part can sit in chairs is a truth. I planted a tomato plant in my backyard this past spring and pick ripe tomatoes later in August is a fact. “You reap what you sow” is a truth. Such a distinction allows us to say that a book of fables is not factual but conveys many truths. (This distinction allows me to say that I believe that the Bible is not altogether factual but it is altogether truthful.) Of course all mathematical equations are truths by definition. In the end the difference between fact a truth depends on subtlety of thinking and whether you wish to engage in such.

  20. Truth and fact are tow very different things example it was three o clock today that is a fact. facts are based on what one can touch feel
    and see however Truth goes beyond what one can Touch Feel and
    see Example just because one can’t see something does not mean it does not exist. Truth is That Jesus Christ Is The Same Today Tomorrow Now and Forever

    • The Jesus Christ you believe in, isn’t the same as the J.C. the pre-conversion of Constantine Christians believed in, that’s a fact.
      Your “truth” (same as he ever was,is, will be) is defeated by that fact.

  21. I Have received an email from your office, using IP adress tracker and Mac adress I can prove to you that the email message can from your home and the Mac Adress belong to (matches) your Dell laptop abd it unique to it. THIS is FACT (There is sufficient evidence to prove beyond any doubt that the email message came from you!)

    The TRUTH is, a hacker hacked my router therefore gaining access to my devices and must have or could have remotely send that email message; however this is hard to prove.

    The simple act of proving a, circumstance through time and space than can be accessed using human five senses and human invented technological equipment can and will make it a FACT, but not the TRUTH

    By nature the truth is often hidden, therefore difficult to prove or demonstrate.

    In the crime scene we have found your finger print in the murder weapon (So you committed this crime), that is a FACT, its my finger print, it matches mine and it unique to me alone (Every CSI lab will demonstrate that fact in the courts of law using their equipments); however the TRUTH is its was planted by someone; So I am being framed.
    Now that hard to prove.

    Movies like:

    Law abiding citizen
    Face off
    Mission Impossible 2

    Are just few the film in the motion and picture industry that illustrate what is fact and what the truth.

    Fact can change, be updated, however the Truth remain unchange.

    So Nate is right.


  23. eC433o Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I ave been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

  24. If truth can answer the question of “why”, then the significance of elements required of truth is more profound and meaningful than the elements of facts which poses questions only of “what”, “where”, or “when”–being questions of facts.
    Further, facts can be so many, variable, and may not be conclusive. Whereas “truth” is only one, and indivisible and conclusive. You might see two suns, one that is in the sky, and the other that is in the mirror. These statements are factual. But the truth is, there is only one sun, and this truth is the foundation of knowledge and wisdom.

  25. Facts are the Truths of Physical World hence temporary.

    Truth is the fact of Metaphysical World.

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