Major and Minor Supporting Details
When you read an articleA non-fiction, often informative writing that forms a part of a publication, such as a magazine or newspaper. or any other type of readingA piece of writing to be read. A reading can either be a full work (i.e., a book) or partial (i.e., a passage)., you will notice that in addition to having a thesis statementA brief statement that identifies a writer's thoughts, opinions, or conclusions about a topic. Thesis statements bring unity to a piece of writing, giving it a focus and a purpose. You can use three questions to help form a thesis statement: What is my topic? What am I trying to say about that topic? Why is this important to me or my reader?, the document will also have points that support that thesisAn overall argument, idea, or belief that a writer uses as the basis for a work.. The thesis provides the authorA person who wrote a text.'s topicThe subject of a reading. and purposeThe reason the writer is writing about a topic. It is what the writer wants the reader to know, feel, or do after reading the work. for writing. The supporting detailsStatements within a reading that tie directly to major details that support the main idea. These can be provided in examples, statistics, anecdotes, definitions, descriptions, or comparisons within the work. help the author make that topic and purpose clear to the reader.
The supporting details of a reading can be divided into major supporting detailsStatements within a reading that tie directly to the work's main idea. These can be provided in examples, statistics, anecdotes, definitions, descriptions, or comparisons within the work. and minor supporting detailsSmaller statements within a reading that tie directly to major details., and they are found in the supporting paragraphsA selection of a writing that is made up of sentences formed around one main point. Paragraphs are set apart by a new line and sometimes indentation., or body paragraphsThe part of an essay that comes after the introduction and before the conclusion. Body paragraphs lay out the main ideas of an argument and provide the support for the thesis. All body paragraphs should include these elements: a topic sentence, major and minor details, and a concluding statement. Each body paragraph should stand on its own but also fit into the context of the entire essay, as well as support the thesis and work with the other supporting paragraphs. , of an article or essayA short piece of writing that focuses on at least one main idea. Some essays are also focused on the author's unique point of view, making them personal or autobiographical, while others are focused on a particular literary, scientific, or political subject. . Distinguishing between major and minor supporting details will help you break down the paragraphs in a reading, making it easier to understand. In this lesson, you will learn how to identify both major and minor supporting details in a reading.
When looking at a full reading such as an article or essay, the major and minor details relate to the thesis statement like this:
When reading a longer essay, the thesis is included in an introductory paragraphThe first paragraph of an essay. It must engage the reader, set the tone, provide background information, and present the thesis. and the major supporting details become topic sentences for distinct supporting paragraphs.
However, if the essay is only one paragraph long, the thesis becomes a topic sentence. When looking at an individual paragraph, the major and minor details relate to the topic sentence like this:
Let's look at an example.
Sample essay thesis: Students should consider many variables when choosing classes.
Major supporting details:
Minor supporting details:
Knowing how to find a thesis statement, major supporting details, and minor supporting details will help you in all of your communication. When you can find these items, you will see how they play a large part in how a document, speech, or advertisement is organized; as a result, they will help you better organize the documents you write. For example, when writing papersAn academic essay that usually includes research and citations. in school, you will need to plan your paper and organize the ideas so they support your thesis. As a professional in your career, the same principle applies. Every audience wants to read a document that is well organized and written so that the major and minor details clearly support the thesis.
For this example paragraph and its topic sentence, notice how the major and minor supporting details support the topic sentence.
Steps to Positivity in the Classroom
Success in college depends on many things, but one of the most important is having a positive attitude. There are many ways to develop a positive outlook. You can try using encouraging self-talk to motivate yourself. For example, if you tell yourself that you are smart and can be successful, you are more likely to do well in your classes. Helping others to be successful is also a way of maintaining a positive attitude. When you see that college is not a competition, you will see success come to you and those who work closely with you. Finally, you can develop a positive attitude by viewing difficult situations as opportunities to grow. For example, if you are struggling in a class because the material is challenging, don't let yourself feel down about it. Instead, take action! Visit with your professor or form a study group. Getting help will enable you to learn the material and therefore do better in your class. By using encouraging self-talk, helping others, and utilizing difficult moments as an opportunity to grow, you will have the optimistic outlook that will enable you to succeed in college—and in life!
Topic Sentence: Success in college depends on many things, but one of the most important is having a positive attitude.
Major supporting details:
Minor supporting details:
For this exercise, review the following paragraph and its topic sentence, and then identify the major supporting details and minor supporting details.
The Benefits of Forming a Study Group
Forming a study group is a great way to improve your grades and make friends. Studying with others helps you review what you know about the course content, allows you to re-teach the content to your group members, and lets you work with others to determine what the instructor wants you to know. All of these items reinforce your classroom experience and your knowledge of the material. Forming a study group is also a great way to make friends on campus. Often when people are new to a college setting they don’t know many people. Study groups can help you make new friends by using your common interest in the course to bring you together. That can make it much less scary to approach others about getting together.
Forming a study group is a great way to improve your grades and make friends.
What are the major supporting details?
What are the minor supporting details?
When finding a reading's major and minor supporting details, what should you do or look for first?
How does knowing how to find major and minor supporting details in a reading help you as a writer?
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