"It is important to know different perspectives to be reflective"

This sentence made me confused. I think it means that we must use the perspectives in our actions. Is it right?

  • 4
    Where did you find this? Its meaning is clear, but it's not entirely idiomatic. "Be reflective" in particular sounds awkward to me--the work of a writer not entirely comfortable with the terms they're using. Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 15:25
  • @StoneyB This sentence is the answer to one of the toefl test in TPO software. The whole sentence is : I totally agree with this statement because we can learn different perspectives form other cultures. it's important to know different perspectives to be reflective, Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 15:35
  • @BaharJafariZadeh Do not spoil it !
    – Cardinal
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 15:41
  • Task 2 engtry.com/toefl/speaking/81.html
    – user33000
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 15:54
  • 3
    @Sina As I thought. It's clear that the writer means that many points of view (perspectives) are necessary to think deeply about (reflect on) any matter. But be reflective is not good English idiom. Be reflective attributes a quality or state to the subject, and this is fine if you're speaking of a mirror or an essay; but "reflective persons" are agents: they are engaged in an intellectual action, not possessors of a state. Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 16:17

3 Answers 3


The phrase

be reflective

is used to describing

thinking about something
considering something

In a reflective moment, he thought about his childhood.

Your passage means that it is better having different viewpoints (perspectives) to think about something.

  • I agree with you, to reflect on them! Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 16:51

"Reflect" as used here means to think about.

"Perspectives" means points of view, ways of looking at something.

So ... It is important to have heard different points of view in order to think about something.

Like if you read and understand Peter's post, and then you read and understand mine, you will have an advantage in understanding this issue. :-)

  • I enjoy reading your notes. If I want to say that I can experience or learn more about this perspectives and use them in my actions, what is the best sentences @Jay Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 19:50

The sentence plays on words at several possible levels, including poetry.

One instance, for instance, dwells in the semantic fields of ight rays and mirrors. A mirror is an object with a reflective coating that offer different perspectives.

For a mirror, "it is important to be reflective to offer different perspectives". The sentence is reversed. A human who would only "reflects" one perspective, would not be "reflective".

I remember a proverb (unknown origin) saying: "one never sees more than the half of a man". Vision is flat. You need to revolve (at least mentally) around people, concepts and things, to hope grasp a little of their multidimensionality.

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