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0001 Meaning of Words and Phrases
0002 Purpose, Main Idea, and Organization
Identifying the Primary Purpose
Identify the Main Idea
General Statements and Specific Details
Summary or Outline
0003 Analyze and Evaluate Ideas and Information
0004 Make Inferences from Ideas and Information
Practice Reading Tests

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0002 Recognize Purpose, Main Idea, and Organization in a Variety of Texts

Identifying the Primary Purpose of a Paragraph or Passage

An author always has a reason or purpose for writing a passage. Some passages explicitly state their purposes. Other passages leave it for the reader to guess or infer the purpose. The good reader should always seek the purpose of a passage because it is an excellent clue for understanding the writing.

When trying to determine the purpose of a passage, begin with a consideration of the topic sentences of the paragraphs. The author’s purpose is often related to the progression of the ideas. Another method of determining purpose is to take note of the language that is used. If the purpose is to explain a serious issue, the passage will be restricted to standard English. If the purpose is to entertain or satirize, then slang, jargon, and informal English may be used to produce the desired effect.

To improve an understanding of any passage, a reader should try to write a sentence describing its purpose. This practice will improve comprehension of the ideas and conclusions of a passage.

For the three paragraphs shown as a passage above, describe the author's purpose. Click the "Next" button below when the task is completed.