At many times the main idea will not be stated. This is called an implied main idea.

As a reader, students have to identify the topic of the passage and then summarize its idea. There are some tips that help to identify the implied main idea.

  • Read the passage.
  • Identify the topic: use the words from the passage to help identify what has been repeated
  • Read all of the specific statements, not just the ones that open the paragraphs. In order to identify the main idea, you cannot exclude parts of the passage.
  • Ask yourself. “What do each details of the passage have in common?”
  • Ask yourself. “What does the author want me to know about the topic?” I usually suggest my students to make a quick outline or list of the passage. Once you have all important details of the passage, you will be able to answer this question.
  • Be aware of transitions that show relationships: contrary ideas, compare and contrast, addiction, time order and so on.
  • Pay attention to any idea that is repeated in different ways. Also, pay close attention to suffixes and prefixes, synonyms and antonyms.
  • Think of a general statement that could sum up the specifics as effectively as nay stated topic sentence.  as there is no topic sentence, you will have to write one. the main idea you write must be a complete sentence that contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought.
  •   Once you feel sure that you have found the main idea, test it.
  1.  Ask yourself  if the sentence could act as a summary of the other sentences in the paragraph.
  2. Be sure that none of the sentences contradicts your general statement.
  3. Do the examples, reasons, and facts included in the reading explain or give evidence supporting the main idea you have in mind?

Analyze the example

When you’re with your friends, it’s okay to be loud and use slang. They’ll expect it and they aren’t grading you on your grammar. When you’re standing in a boardroom or sitting for an interview, you should use your best English possible, and keep your tone suitable to the working environment. Try to gauge the personality of the interviewer and the setting of the workplace before cracking jokes or speaking out of turn. If you’re ever in a position to speak publicly, always ask about your audience, and modify your language, tone, pitch and topic based on what you think the audience’s preferences would be. You’d never give a lecture about atoms to third-graders!

What is the topic?

What is the implied main idea?


Video: Implied Main Idea


Extra exercises about implied main idea.

Implied Main Idea, Exercise 1

Reading for Thinking – Practice

Implied Main Idea – Practice (10 tests)

Video – Implied Main Idea


RESOURCE: Finding the Main Idea – Reading Center Monterey Peninsula College

Reading for the implied main idea – ThoughtCo.