Finding the Main Idea

II. Clue Words

Another way to find the main idea is to look for words (clues) in the most general sentence that tell you a list of details is coming, such as

several kinds of

various causes

a few reasons

several functions

a number of

a series of

three factors

different types

four steps

among the results

several disadvantages

many ways


several steps


two points

 * Remember there are other words or phrases not mentioned above that are clues to finding the main idea/topic sentence.

For example:

Main Idea: Studying before a test yields or produces several benefits.


 Check your understanding:

Directions: Choose the number of the sentence that expresses the topic sentence in the selection.

 Toggle open/close quiz question

Value: 5
(1)Every thirty–seven seconds, a car is stolen somewhere in the United States. (2)Although this statistic is frightening, it is possible for drivers to prevent car theft if they take a few simple precautions. (3)When they leave their cars, they should lock all valuables in the trunk or glove compartment to avoid tempting a thief to break in. (4)Parking in the middle of the block on a busy, well–lighted street will deter would–be thieves. (5)The most obvious precaution, of course, is always to lock the car and take the keys—even if the driver is stopping for just a minute. (6)One out of every five stolen cars was left unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

To check your understanding click below:

Practice 1

Practice 2





































Click to close