Even though I have a degree in English, there are still some grammatical intricacies that I need to remind myself of. My areas are creative writing, proper spelling, and critical reading, so proper grammar is sometimes lost on me. One such trouble I have is the use of “objective” versus “subjective.” There is a shortcut to remembering the use of these terms, and I wanted to outline them here for anyone’s future reference.
“Objective” is a term describing the concrete state of a thing, such as a math problem. To look at something objectively is to state the facts, without being affected by bias.
“Subjective” is a term describing abstract notions as they relate to the thing in question. To look at something subjectively is to see it through varying perspectives, such as studying literature through feminist theory.
Are you talking about something objectively? Then you are using concrete facts based on the external world around you. Are you talking about something subjectively? Then you are using abstract notions to define something through theory. Use the handy chart below to remember the difference.
Objective = object = concrete
Subjective = subject = abstract