Main and Secondary Ideas Characteristics with Examples

Main and Secondary Ideas

The main and secondary ideas of a text are the messages, hierarchically encoded, that writing contains. These ideas are intended to convey information; they come to signify each of the premises that sustain the microstructures and macrostructures of textual discourse.

When applied concretely and emphatically in a text, the main and secondary ideas denote a full command of the language on the part of the lyrical speaker. Its correct use guarantees that the very end of the act of writing, communication, is achieved more easily.

Since the purpose of writing is to communicate, it is necessary to correctly handle the concepts of main ideas and secondary ideas, in order to fully achieve the task.

Main ideas

The main ideas represent the nucleus of the text, around which the rest of the propositions are based, premises that in turn are manifested to give meaning to that nucleus. They are the heart of the message that the lyrical sender wants to convey.

You cannot speak of a textual discourse without a core of thought being present. If the main idea is dispensed with, a kind of random and incongruous proposals would be perceived, completely devoid of meaning.

The independence of the main idea in relation to the rest of the propositions within a text must be borne in mind. This is the center of everything; Although it depends on the rest of the speech to be able to “be”, without it the speech is dismembered.

Another important aspect to bear in mind regarding the main textual idea is the fact that, depending on the domain of the subject and the literary resources of the lyrical speaker, the nucleus does not have to appear explicitly in the speech. Main and Secondary Ideas Characteristics

The main ideas can be presented in a tacit way and it is up to the reader to decipher which is the center of the speech by means of the signals left by the writer.

The main idea is that resource that gives logic to the dissertation. It allows to build the different paragraphs of a text, based on it and supported by the derived ideas.

Secondary ideas

The secondary ideas represent in the speech the series of resources that the lyrical emitter uses to achieve that the main idea that he conceived reaches the lyrical receiver as clearly as possible. These, when joined by connectives and discursive marks, give density and personality to the discourse.

Secondary ideas could also be seen as amplifiers of the main idea. They allow to appreciate the heart of the thought of the text from multiple perspectives. The greater the number of perspectives, the greater the ease of understanding.

The secondary inevitably leads us to the primary. It will depend on the knowledge of the subject on the part of the textual sender that the extension of the discourse fully reaches as many recipients as possible. Only those who know an idea well can teach it; If there is no clear conception of a subject, it cannot be transmitted.

Resources to enhance secondary ideas

There are infinite resources available to issuers to achieve weight and shape the main idea through the secondary.

Among the most used, the links by synonymy stand out, in which the main idea in particular – or aspects of it – are compared with similar propositions to reinforce their understanding.

Antonymy is also used, which seeks to present the recipient with ideas contrary to the one they want to transmit. This allows the conception of the message to be fixed in the mind of the reader from the premise of what the main message “is not”.

The secondary in a text responds to connections, belonging, to a “cause-effect”. The issuer must make use of all this in order to make his textual discourse fall, and in the writer that is the unavoidable and necessary goal: to reach the reader.

Example of link between main and secondary ideas

A subject wishes to tell a fable “x” to a mixed group of readers (50 people), aged between 7 and 60 years. The goal will be to convey the main idea to as many people as possible.

The idea will always be the same; however, since the speech will be delivered to such an ambiguous group of readers, it should be worked intelligently. Main and Secondary Ideas Characteristics

The secondary ideas of which the lyrical emitter is going to use to penetrate the entire population must respond to the interests of each present subgroup.

Then, the writer should have a maximum of three secondary ideas around the nucleus for each subgroup of readers present. These ideas must be distributed evenly in the speech so that, when they are read by any of the participants, the message is understood.

Secondary ideas are very important within a text, since without them the core lacks strength.

Characteristics of the main ideas

They are the nucleus of the text, around which the rest of propositions or secondary ideas are born.

They do not necessarily have to appear explicitly in the text. According to the literary devices applied by the lyrical issuer, the main ideas can be expressed tacitly. That is to say, it is known that they are even when they are not written; It is important to keep in mind that this does not imply absence.

They are easily recognized because, if they are deleted from the text, it remains headless, meaningless, and secondary ideas manifest as propositions revolving around the void.

They are independent from the rest of the premises, we could classify them as the foundation stone of the discourses. Without secondary ideas they continue to exist, although main ideas do require the first ones to achieve a greater impact and understanding of their properties.

Characteristics of secondary ideas

They revolve around the main idea. They emerge from the central discourse, connecting it with another series of premises that support the dissertation.

They have an explanatory character. They seek to manifest the properties that the textual nucleus possesses for a greater understanding by the lyrical receiver.

Its dimensions are subject to the capabilities of the writer. The more mastery the writer has of the main theme, the more secondary ideas will be woven around the main theme.

Its fundamental role is to broaden the conceptual perception of the main idea. The more defining aspects a subject has on a topic, the more faithfully he will be able to express himself with his peers through words. Main and Secondary Ideas Characteristics

By themselves, they lack logical meaning, and without them, the text would be summarized in one sentence. This phrase alone represents the issue, but it would not be available to everyone.

It would be like seeing only the moon on a dark night. Now, with secondary ideas present, each star would be an alternate speech about the moon.


Two texts will be presented below in which the main idea and the secondary ideas will be identified:

Example 1

“Full knowledge of the grammar of a language allows us to communicate better in written form . In order to have a better command of the linguistics of a language, it is necessary to sit down and study the different aspects that make up that language.

The morphological and syntactic aspects must be taken into account and studied individually. After handling them well, you will notice how textual communication becomes more fluid ”.

In this example the main idea (underlined) is evident in the text. The rest of the text shows aspects of the secondary ideas, which are intended to strengthen the perception of the main idea.

Example 2

“Luis has spent much of his time improving the use of punctuation marks in his writing, which has allowed him to make himself understood better.

María, for her part, has recognized that her spelling is not very good, and as a result she enrolled in a course thanks to which she has improved a lot; now his classmates and the teacher understand him more.

Jesús, another classmate, assumed that, both because of the punctuation marks and because of the spelling, he had to study to be able to communicate well when writing ”.

In this case, each of the paragraphs represents secondary ideas that reinforce a tacit main idea that is not perceived directly in writing, but that exists: Writing correctly improves textual communication.


The correct conception of the main idea and secondary ideas allows the literary producer, the lyrical speaker, to organize the speech well. By having the propositions in order and organizing them hierarchically, the message flows efficiently and manages to be transmitted to a greater number of people.

It must be borne in mind that mastering concepts is not enough; if you want to fully convey ideas, you need to master the language effectively.

Those who master their language — grammatically speaking — have a greater probability that the messages they send out are accurate.

Secondary ideas, despite being hierarchically below the core of the text, are still important; in fact, without these the message will not reach its climax. Main and Secondary Ideas Characteristics

It is not proposed to downplay the core of the text, but to reinforce the understanding of the necessary pair that exists between the main and the secondary.

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