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Choosing and Finding

Implied Main Ideas

A. The Process towards Finding Implied Main Ideas

The process of finding main ideas in much more complicated

than finding the expressed ones. In building this some sub-skills
are required.
People who read or listen to ideas developed in print or orally
are often heard to say, “I get your message” or “ I see what you’re
driving at” or “ I am reading between the lines. These are some of
the common expression people use when they are inferring
something in print or speech, which isn’t stated directly. The
reader or listener must come up with a statement of main idea out
of his / her head because there is no topic sentences in the passage.
In this case some sub skills are needed to use.

The sub-skills required, among others, are finding and using

facts, distinguishing fact from opinions, finding cause and effect
relationship, finding comparison and contrast. These sub-skills relationship
finds comparison and contrast.
A.1. Identifying reports, inferences and judgments

Further step towards finding implied main idea identifying reports,

inferences and judgements and to be able to distinguish them.
These kinds of statements need to be required since each illustrates an
informative or a persuasive purpose.

1. Reports -Information that can be proven

True or false, Verification can come through the personal experience of the
reader, by certain kinds of measurement, or by checking with a reliable
source, such as dictionary, an atlas, or an encyclopedia.

2. Inference -a statement of the unknown based on the known.

In such a statement, the reader looks at the evidence presented and then
comes to his / her own conclusion as to statement of conclusion (the
unknown) is not there, and so the reader must come up with it.

3. Judgements a- a statement expressing a personal opinion about

something, when a writer makes a statement expressing his / her impression
of the value or worth of something, she / he is making judgement. Unlike
reports, judgement cannot be directly verified.


Read these statements below then classify them each as report, an inference,
or a judgement But, Firstly, use the following questions as elements, which
can lead you to the classifications.
1. Are there facts in the statements?
2. Are there elements other than facts in the statements?
3. Are there conclusions to be drawn from the statements?
4. Are there facts through which to draw conclusions in the statements?
5. Are there words or phrases in the statements, which indicate value or

1. After the blizzard, the snow stood three feet, deep at the front door.
2. The fire burned out of control for two days. Two hundred fire fighters
attempted to contain it. It consumed twelve miles of forest and
destroys forty homes.
3. There are three major branches of the state government of Florida.
They are called the executive, the judicial branches. They all meet in
the state capitol in Tallahassee, which is in Leon Country.
4. He flunked the examination because he did not attend class often and
did not listen carefully when he did.
5. Barbara has won the ice yard dash and the 200-yard run thus far at the
state met. She still looks fresh and eager. She will surely win the 440.

Using Triad

This is another step to help you identify and distinguish among report,
inferences and judgements by analyzing the triad statement. The tried is a
series three sentences, the first of which is a report, the two statements are
both based the first one, either draw inferences from it on make judgements
about it.
1. Identify the first sentences as a report.
2. Read and analyze the second sentences. It is an inference and is based
in the date in the report.
3. Identify both the known (its sentences) and the unknown pats of the
4. Read the third sentences, which is a judgement Relate it to the first
sentence and pick out the words in the statement, which are actually
judgemental in nature.
5. Note that words which express value judgement.

1. This man has gray hair, is five feet tall, and weighs 240 pound.
2. This man would have real trouble making the mile relay on the
University of Florida track team. (Inference)
3. This man would look rather silly in a brief, leopard skin swimsuit.
Although some of these suggestions may seem obvious, the
items discussed do need to be emphasized in discussion the
above example.
1. There are three facts in the reports: the man’s hair color (indicating
age), his short stature, and his excessive (for that height) weight.
2. No one knows how fast the man run, but his gray hair, his height
and weight make him unlikely for the track team of a major
university. This is the kind of educated Guess that is with the
drawing of inferences.
3. The words “would” each of the first two sentences are usually
reliable indicators of inferences or judgements. Especially in the
case of inferences, “would” is a conditional word, which indicates
a prediction and no more.
4. The words “ look rather silly” are the key ones in identifying the
third statement as a judgement. They express a personal arbitrary
point of view. Maybe, for instance, the man wouldn’t look silly to
his loved ones. This is where the value is more, directly expressed.
5. The words “to me “ are really presumed to exist after “would look
rather silly” in the third statement. They exist in the mind of the
person writing ()or speaking) the judgemental statement, although
they seldom appear.

Exercises :” The Triad

After this discussion has been competed read and analyze the triads
found below, remembering to look carefully at the (first) report statement
first before deciding whether the next two are inferences or judgements.
1. a). The man entering the high school was wearing a dark suit, a white
shirt and tie, and is carrying a leather briefcase
b) All black students should steer clear of that man.
c). The man is an official of some outside agency.
2. a). The home stands were very quiet with many types of bread bowed
and the cheerleaders standing motionless.
b) The visiting team had just scored some important points.

c) The home team will probably be depressed by this lack support.

3. a) The church was small, painted white and was situated well out in
the country.
b) Only dumb rednecks go to that church.
c) That church represents a fundamentalist protestant faith.
4. a) The speaker on the platform shouted his message with high pitch
voice, rapid delivery and waving, gesturing arms.
b) The speaker was playing on the strong emotions of the people in
the audience.
c) Only gullible people would put any faith in what that speaker had

More about Reading between the lines (Making Inferences)

In reading, experiences play an important part. A person does not read
reading but reads something. The degree to which one comprehends
that which one reads depends to a large degree on what correlation
experience one brings to the reading that particular content.
A writer has chosen an unusual way of expressing himself in
order to make us pay particular attention to what he is saying.
The dictionary is not likely to be of much use to the reader in
this difficulty, he must work it out for oneself. Asking questions is the
most helpful advice in this case.
(a) There can be no economy where there is no efficiency
This is fairly common type, where the problem is one of definition.
What is meant by economy here and what by efficiency? What is
the test of efficiency? What is it for, if a penknife is cheap but does
not cut is that economy?

(b) Puritanism in other people we admire as austerity in ourselves

(This is an example of good names and bad names. We have all the
pleasant habit of giving what we approve, a good name, and what we dislike
a bad name, as in the famous example: I am firm, you are obstinate, he is
There is generally a central or neutral word: here perhaps it is severe or
(c) Real culture lives by sympathies and admiration, not by dislikes
and disdains
(Again this is a question of definition. James is distinguishing
between men of culture and high brows is distinguishing between men
of culture and high brows. What is the difference?