man thinking about an idea

It takes years of practice to master a skill as crucial as quickly catching the main idea of a topic, article, or a book. But, don’t be disheartened! 

We have carefully crafted a list of techniques to make it easier for you to quickly grasp the main idea of a story or anything!

After going through this article, you will be able to locate the main idea of any story, article or book.

Let’s dive into it, shall we?

1. Look for the Topic

This might seem like an obvious option, but it isn’t. Identifying the topic of the story or the article will give you a hint about the gist of the topic. Usually the topic is of major significance when it comes to exploring the main idea of a story. 

You will have to read the article first. After reading the article you will get an idea of what the article is really about. For example, the article or the story could be about World War III or Roman Empire. 

It is completely fine if you do not yet understand the main idea of the topic. You only have to search for the topic at this point.

2. Summarize the Story

Summarizing the story or the article in question will allow you to quickly jot down the important details of the text. This step is crucial as it will hasten the process of searching for the main idea of the story. 

Make sure that you summarize the story or the article in your own words. This will enhance your understanding of the article and it will take you closer towards reaching your goal.

3. Explore the Story’s Beginning and Ending

Authors usually place the main idea of a topic in the beginning or the ending of the story. These sentences are also called Topic Sentences. Topic sentence encapsulates the gist of a paragraph. Locating the topic sentence will make it easier for you to identify the main idea of the topic. 

race start line

Moreover, look for the keywords such as  “however,” “nevertheless,” “in contrast,”. The authors present the main idea of the topic after these words and phrases. This technique works like a charm, if you master it.

4. Note Down the Repetitive Phrases or Concepts

This is an essential tip when it comes to finding the main idea of a story or an article. If you find any repetitive concepts in the article then note them down. It is possible that they present the main idea of the text in question. 

This technique will also help you in summarizing the article. 

Here’s an example:

 “Swingyde is an easy to use small gadget made of plastic, which is attached to your golf club and helps to train your wrist hinge and face alignment throughout your swing. It is also really lightweight as it is made of plastic. Due to its small size and lightweight, it can fit into the gold back easily. Swingyde also comes with a DVD which shows you how to install and utilize this golf swing training set. Also, it can be used by left handed and right handed men, women and juniors. The swingyde is not expensive at all and is used by beginners and professionals all around the world.”

Notice any repetitive phrases or words? Swingyde is the most repeated word in this paragraph. Hence, it gives you an idea that the main idea of this paragraph revolves around swingyde.

In this paragraph:

The topic is: Swingyde

The main idea is the specifications of swingyde.

Let’s look at another example:

“The works of Langston Hughes act as a voice for the African American people. “Harlem”, “I,Too”, and “Let America be America Again” highlights racial and discriminatory struggles that Black people face and challenges the idea of American Dream. Hughes instills Black culture in his poetry which highlights and liberates the Black identity. He discusses themes of joy and struggle of Black lives, false promises and hopes for equal rights in the future. His poems, though simple, carry a deeper meaning in them which constantly challenges the institutionalized and internalized cultural racism.”

In this paragraph:

The topic is: Langston Hughes

The main idea is how the works of Langston Hughes raise a voice against discrimination and violence against the African American People.

“Frantz Fanon introduced his idea of violence in his book “The Wretched of the Earth”. According to Fanon, violence is an important precondition to liberation and finally decolonization. He says that the violence acts as a cleansing force for the colonized that mentally liberates him and restores his self-respect. Fanon claims that violence is cathartic for the colonial subject through which he gains a sense of self and evolves from “a thing” to a man. Violence frees the native from his inferiority complex and helps him evolve into a new identity that is not tainted by the colonizers.”

In this Paragraph:

The topic is: Frantz Fanon

The main idea is the notion of violence presented in “The Wretched of the Earth” of Frantz Fanon

5. Wrapping Up

Let’s go through all the points one more time:

First- Look for the Topic

Read the story first. Then, identifying the topic of the article will set you on the right path towards finding the main idea of a topic.

Second- Summarize the Story

Summarizing the main contents of the article will help you in locating the main idea of the topic.

Third- Explore the Story’s Beginning and Ending

Usually, the starting and ending sentences of an article or a story contain the main idea. It’s essential to look for the main idea in these beginning and the ending.

Lastly- Note Down the Repetitive Phrases or Concepts

Identifying and listing down the repetitive phrases and concepts will give you an edge as they will help you in quickly finding the main idea of the topic.

Well, there you have it!

What did you think about these techniques in finding out the main idea of a story? Have something to add? 

Let us know in the comments!

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