We explain what a fact is in its general sense and what social, legal, economic, geographical facts and more are.

Amelia Earhart was the first aviator to fly solo across the ocean.
When you talk about facts It refers to things as they are or as they happened.

What is a fact?

One fact is, in general terms, an action, work or event, something that is taken for granted. It is a term used in many contexts, derived from the Latin verb facere (“do”).

Generally, when talking about facts Reference is made to things as they are or as they happened, without taking into account subjective interpretations. For example, in scientific discourse the events that science tries to describe and understand are called “natural facts”, that is, the phenomena of nature themselves. While we speak of “historical facts” to refer to relevant events or events in the past. In other areas, likewise, we speak of “journalistic fact” to refer to events that have occurred that are important to public opinion.

In other contexts, this word It is used as a participle, when you want to indicate what something is made or composed of. (“the glass is made of clay”) or that an action has finally been executed (“the order is made“). In these cases, it is a conjugation of the verb doso the term varies according to the sentence subject (that is: “fact”, “fact”, “facts” and “facts”).

It may help you: Truthfulness

Social facts

A crowd demonstrates against the tsarist police shortly before the Russian Revolution.
Social facts shape society and the individual that composes it.

In the context of sociology, it is called social facts at ideas, behaviors, points of view or ways of thinking that are manifested within a social group, whether they are respected and prestigious, or not. This is a concept formulated by the father of sociology, the French philosopher Émile Durkheim (1858-1917).

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Social facts can be classified into three categories:

  • Morphological social factswhich give shape to societies and are constitutive of them, that is, they are born with them.
  • Institutional social factswhich are imposed within a society based on tradition or authority, and that is why they tend to last.
  • Currents of opinionwhich arise within societies and have a limited life span within them, like fashions.

Durkheim proposed social facts as social characteristics that serve both to shape society and the individual who composes it, based on certain cultural elements received from previous generations.

See also: Social phenomena

A legal fact, in the context of civil law, is any event or occurrence that has the capacity to produce a legal effect, that is, the birth, extinction or modification of a right. Legal facts are determined by the legal system of each country.

Legal facts can be classified in different ways:

  • According to its content They may be: positiveif they directly propose the legal effect (such as a will or a sales contract), or negative, if they involve abstention (such as non-payment of a tax or failure to appear at a summons).
  • According to its composition They may be: simple, if they depend on a single event (such as birth or death); either complexif they depend on the fulfillment of different events or conditions (such as insurance cancellation clauses).
  • According to his agent They may be: natural either involuntary (like succession) or humans either volunteers (such as the granting of certain nationalities).

More in: Act and legal fact

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Economic facts

An economic event is any event or social or natural phenomenon that has an observable impact in economic terms. These are quantifiable events related to the productive activities of society, that is, to the satisfaction of human needs.

Economic facts can be of three types:

  • Economic facts linked to work, that is, with the productive tasks of society. For example, the opening of a factory.
  • Economic facts linked to change, that is, with the exchange or transportation of materials or merchandise to where they are required. For example, the transfer of raw materials from the field to a food factory.
  • Economic facts linked to consumption, that is, with the use of goods and services to satisfy the specific needs of people. For example, a shortage of a highly requested product.

Geographic facts

The rock formations stand out in the Arabian desert.
Mountain formations are geographical facts of physical origin.

A geographical fact is a stable and permanent phenomenon that takes place on the surface of the planet, in such a way that it produces a change or transformation in the geographical conditions of the region, such as topography, rivers, among others. For example, the eruption of a volcano or the formation of an estuary.

Geographic facts can be of three types, depending on their origin:

  • Of physical origin, that is, they are a consequence of the forces of nature. For example, the orogenesis or formation of mountains.
  • Of biological origin, that is, they are caused by the action of living beings (excluding humans). For example, the formation of coral reefs on the seabed.
  • Of anthropogenic origin, that is, they are the result of human activities, such as agriculture or mining. For example, the expansion of the urban sprawl of cities.
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Continue with: Objective and subjective


  • “Hecho, cha” in the Dictionary of the Language of the Royal Spanish Academy.
  • “Etymology of Fact” in the Online Spanish Etymological Dictionary.
  • “Fact” in Herder Encyclopedia.
  • “Legal fact” in Legal Encyclopedia.