Supporting details are the reasons, examples, steps or any other evidence that explains the main idea or a point of a paragraph.


Most paragraphs are made up of three parts:

Topic – the subject

Main idea – the author`s main point

Supporting details – statements, details, examples that develop, illustrate the main idea (can be facts or opinion

Check the example below.

To be effective, feedback on someone’s work must have certain characteristics. First, it must be timely, occurring soon after the work has been done. Second, it must be accurate. The best work should get the most positive feedback; the poorest work should get the most negative feedback. Finally, feedback should be tailored to the recipient, expressed in a way suited to that person’s personality and abilities.

Topic: effective feedback

Main Idea: To be effective, feedback on someone’s work must have certain characteristics

Supporting Details: timely, accurate, tailored to the recipient


Read the passages below.

Paragraph 1

1 There are several parenting styles. 2 The first is the authoritarian style. 3 Authoritarian parents give orders and punish their children if those orders are not quickly obeyed. 4 There is also the authoritative style. 5 Authoritative parents make it clear they are in charge, but they are open to seeing their children`s point of view. 6 The next style is that of permissive parents, who avoid ever saying “no”and give the children a good deal of power. 7 The final parenting style is uninvolved. 8 An uninvolved parent does not ask much of children, and does not give much attention either. 9 Most child-raising experts feel that children`s needs are best met by authoritative parents.

Paragraph 2

1 People daydream for a variety of reasons. 2 One cause of daydreaming is boredom, at school or on the job. 3 To make life more interesting, people imagine being somewhere else. 4 For example, a student might dream of lying on the beach and flirting with an attractive person on a nearby blanket. 5 A production worker might dream about winning the lottery or becoming the big boss at the company. 6 Another cause of daydreaming is a lack of something. 7 For instance, a starving person might dream about food, or a poor person might dream about owning a house or a car. 8 A third cause of daydreaming is angry feelings. 9 An angry student might dream about getting a hated math instructor fired.                       (Ten Steps to Building College Reading Skills, 6th ed. – 165)