How to find the main idea of a text with secondary, supporting idea

How to identify main and secondary ideas in a text

When writing well, it is necessary to be clear about the main ideas of it in order to express them correctly. We must not forget that the objective of any writing or speech is to be understood by the receiver, for this reason in this lesson from a PROFESSOR we want to show you how to identify main and secondary ideas in a text . In this way, you will be able to carry out a text comment in an academic way and get a good grade in your homework or in your exam. Take note of our advice! In this article we will make you clear that How to find the main idea of a text?

What are the main ideas in a text

Before discovering how to identify main and secondary ideas in a text, it is important that we understand both concepts well. A text is made up of different messages coded in a hierarchical way so that the information they transmit is understood . These messages are the ideas that can be divided into major and minor. The use of them in a text indicates that a language is mastered correctly and that the communication between sender and receiver will be effective.

First of all, in order to know how to identify the main and secondary ideas, we must know what each of them is. The main ideas are those that represent the fundamental part of the text , that is, it is the hypothesis or premise of the message on which the rest of the ideas are based.

In any text there must be a main idea that supports it, since without it, a compendium of sentences would be formed without meaning or coherence with each other. This can appear explicitly or tacitly, in the chaos of the latter, the author seeks the goal of the issuer being the one to decipher it after reading and understanding the text. Therefore, the main idea will be the one that contributes logic to the text and allows the construction of its structure, forming the basis that will be sustained by secondary or derived ideas.

What are secondary ideas in a text

Secondary ideas, meanwhile, are responsible for supporting the main idea and emanate directly from it. Without the main idea the secondary ones cannot exist, in the same way that these explain the rationale behind the base of the text.

Through secondary ideas, the author can reach the issuer in a clearer way, improving communication, since in many cases they serve to amplify the main idea . They provide different views and perspectives to enhance the recipient’s understanding.

Therefore, despite their importance, they only make sense if the main idea is well defined, otherwise they will not contribute anything to the text proposed by the author and will make it difficult for the recipient to understand.

Tricks to identify main and supporting ideas in a text

Therefore, and taking into account what has been said above, we are going to show what are the characteristics in which you should look for, thus, know how to identify main and secondary ideas of a text.

Characteristics of the main ideas

  • They are the basis of the text, around them the rest of the ideas arise.
  • They can appear tacitly in the text, that is, they must not appear explicitly for the reader to find them. Although they do not appear clearly, it is known that it exists and the idea is maintained throughout the text.
  • Recognizing them is easy since if they are eliminated from the text, it loses all its meaning and secondary ideas have no support on which to lean. This makes them independent from the rest, although they rely on secondary schools to increase their level of understanding.

Characteristics of secondary ideas

  • They are always born from the main idea and connect with it, making the message make sense and its communication and understanding more effective.
  • They serve to explain the main idea . That is, secondary ideas express the properties of the main idea to achieve a greater understanding of the receiver of the text.
  • The secondary ideas can be as many as the writer wants since they are derived from the main theme and serve to enrich it. In this way, it is possible to broaden the understanding of the theme or main idea.
  • They cannot go alone , since they would lose all their sense.

Example of main and secondary ideas in a text

So that you can better understand the concept and identify the main and secondary ideas, we propose the following text:

“Everyone is born with a special talent and Eliza Sommers discovered early that she had two: a good nose and a good memory. The first served him to earn a living and the second to remember it, if not accurately, at least with the poetic vagueness of an astrologer. What is forgotten is as if it never happened, but his real or illusory memories were many and it was like living twice. He used to tell his faithful friend, the wise Tao Chi’en, that his memory was like the belly of the ship where they met, vast and dark, full of boxes, barrels and sacks where the events of their entire existence accumulated. Waking up, it was not easy to find something in that great disorder, but she could always do it in her sleep, just as Mama Fresia taught her on the sweet nights of her childhood, when the outlines of reality were just a thin line of pale ink. He entered the place of dreams by a road many times traveled and returned with great precautions not to shatter the faint visions against the harsh light of consciousness. He relied on this resource as others do in numbers and so refined the art of remembering that he could see Miss Rose bent over the Marseille soap box that was her first crib.[…]”

It is an excerpt from Isabel Allende’s book, Hija de Fortuna . In it we are introduced to Eliza Sommers, the protagonist of the story. If we break down the text we can clearly find what the main idea of this fragment is: Eliza has a prodigious memory.

The secondary ideas for their part, are the rest, those that the author uses to convey to the reader that this is indeed the case, for example:

“[…] Their memory was like the belly of the ship where they met, vast and dark, full of boxes, barrels and sacks where the events of their entire existence accumulated. [..]

[…] He relied on this resource as others do on numbers and he refined the art of remembering so much that he could see Miss Rose bent over the Marseille soap box that was her first crib. […]”

These two secondary ideas serve to reinforce the main idea of ​​the text . If we continued with the original text, we would find more secondary ideas that would support the main one.

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