Chapter 19. E-Prime: Distinguishing Facts from Opinions

Gilles L. Talbot


  • To foster the participants' awareness of how they speak about others and how they interpret comments about others.

  • To assist the participants in distinguishing definitive from associative attributes (facts from opinions) used in conversation.

Group Size

Up to ten pairs.

Time Required

Approximately one hour and five minutes.


  • A copy of the E-Prime Theory Sheet for each participant.

  • A copy of the E-Prime Discussion Sheet for each participant.

  • Blank paper and a pencil for each participant.

  • A clipboard or other portable writing surface for each participant.

Physical Setting

A large room in which the participants can work in pairs as well as in subgroups of three or four without disturbing one another.


  1. The facilitator announces that the participants are to engage in an activity that focuses on communication.

  2. The participants are assembled into pairs and are given blank paper, pencils, and clipboards or other portable writing surfaces.

  3. The facilitator explains that within each pair each member is to spend a few minutes describing someone that he or she knows. During the description the member who is listening is to take notes about particular phrases that are used in the description.

  4. The facilitator tells the pairs to begin. After a couple of minutes or so the members of each pair are instructed to exchange roles and to repeat the description process. After a couple of minutes more, the pairs are instructed to ...

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