What is a passage?
One thing it is about
Key idea being expressed
Proof, explanation, support
A. Four Important Elements of a Passage
B. Identifying the Subject of a Passage
C. Finding the Central Thought
D. Recognizing Supporting Details
Identifying the Subject of a Passage
Identifying the subject of a passage is the one thing
the whole passage is about. Usually, the subject of a
passage can be expressed in two or three words.
To understand evolution, it is necessary to know something
about genetics, the science of heredity. Although genetics is
a very complicated subject, everyone understands the basic
result of heredity. We know, for the example, that the
result of mating between cats is kitten, not colts, or little
fish. We know that children tend to resemble their parents in
physical characteristics; we know that stockbreeders can
produce cattle with certain desirable characteristics by
carefully controlling the multiplying of animal that already
possess those characteristics.
Genetics, the science of heredity
System of social inequality exist in all human societies and there
are definite behavioral consequences for different positions in a
stratified system. Lower status people view the social
environment as hostile and best left alone. They tend to cluster
together and informally control a small section of city ‘turf’,
against social workers, police, and outsiders.
Middle- and upper-status persons exhibit a cosmopolitan
mobility. They choose friends throughout the metropolitan area,
move across town from “mother” or even across the continent.
They have been socialized to consider their social environment as
The general subject of this passage is:
a.Communication pattern in lower status adults
b.City versus metropolitan living patterns
c.Differences among lower-, middle-, and upper-class
d.Employment opportunities as affected by social status
Finding the Central Thought
Like the main idea if a paragraph, the
thesis is developed throughout the text. It
is the single important idea that the writer
us trying to express in the passage.
Social change is also responsible for recent changes in the
roles of the two sexes, particularly in the role of women. In the
traditional authoritarian family, the father was the patriarch
whose word was a law. The mother’s role was to keep house, raise
the children, and please her husband. But when his work took him
away from long periods of time and when she began to work outside
the home, she began to demand a bigger share of decision-making.
Today, we are seeing the latest developments of this trend
in the goals of the women’s liberation movement. These goals
include total equality of the sexes. Such equality has not yet been
attained, certainly not among the majority of married couples.
The general subject is the role of women in society
The central thought or the thesis is that the women is changing to give
women greater equality.
Concerned with a single central thought-the women’s role is changing.
A contest, or match, and game are not sharply
distinguishable today in all circumstances, but they differ in
ways significant enough to demand separate treatment. Contest
and match may be used interchangeably. One may refer with
equal validity to a boxing contest or a boxing match, a wrestling
contest or a wrestling match, a chess contest or a chess match,
a tennis contest or a tennis match.
One may technically refer to these activities as games
when the opposing participants are in fact representing larger
collectivities, that is, boxing, tennis, wrestling, and chess are
components of the Olympic Games.
The central thought: a contest, or match and game are not sharply
distinguishable today in all circumstances, but they differ in ways
significant enough to demand separate treatment.
Recognizing Supporting Details
Supporting ideas are those major facts and ideas
that prove, explain, or support the central thought
of the passage.
Groups marriage in a communal setting is another
alternative to the traditional monogamous marriage that has
resulted from the new attitudes toward sex. In a group
marriage, men and women, who are presumably attracted to one
another, live together and consider themselves and their children
to be one family unit. In theory, an open-ended group marriage
sounds fine. It negates the very concept of adultery and
diminishes jealousy and possessiveness; at least those are the
intentions of its practitioners.
In a group marriage, men and women, who are presumably
attracted to one another, live together and consider
themselves and their children to be one family unit
The most recent development in data processing is the electronic
computer, which has attracted great interest because of its fast
superior capacity to perform computations and other functions at
incredible speeds. This results from the fact that processing in a
computer is accomplished by the movement of electrical impulses
through the computer’s circuitry rather than by the movement of
mechanical parts. Through instructions programmed into the computer
by means of magnetic tapes, punched paper tapes, or punched cards,
thousand of complex operations can be completed in a second.
Programmed into the computer by means of magnetic tapes,
punched paper tapes, or punched cards, thousand of complex
operations can be completed in a second.