Oleh: evinovi | Oktober 8, 2009

Understanding Reading Text (2)

Key Ideas in Sentences

Although a sentence may give a great deal of information, it usually offers one key idea. Readers must be able to find key ideas in order to understand sentence meaning clearly.

The key idea of a sentence usually tells:

  • what a person or an object is
  • what a person or an object is doing

For example:

A handsome boy in a leather jacket fell into a river behind Botanic Garden:

The sentence above tells us about a boy. We know that the boy fell. All the information about his appearance, about where he fell, and about the name of the garden adds details. The details are helpful in completing the_____ for the reader, and very often we need to rely upon details to make main idea clearer. But the key idea, the main thought, in the sentence is simply A boy fell.

Here is how to find key ideas in sentences :

  • Ask who or what the subject is about.
  • Ask what the person or object is doing or what is happening to the person or object.
  • Learn to separate details from the key idea. Many words in sentences describe things about the subjects of the sentence and merely add details around it. If we ask when, what kind, where, or why, we will find details. As a result it is easier to see the key idea.

For example :

Because of new laws most   foreign automobiles  in Indonesi now

( Why )           (what kind)                                                     (where)       (when)

Offer safety features at no extra charge.

( how )

Who or what is the sentence about? Automobiles

What do the automobiles do?  offer safety features

The key idea is automobiles offer safety feature.


In each of the following sentences, underline the parts that give the key idea.


People who smoke two packs of cigarettes per day spend at least Rp.10,000,- a day on their habit.

Anybody who has lost his ticket should report to the desk.Because the policeman saw me driving 100 mph on a 60 mph street, he gave me a ticket.

1. During the past five years, the number of Indonesian killed annually in the

car accident has climbed to more than 55,000.

2. People in higher-status occupations-such as medicine, law, and

management are more prone to suicide than people in lower-status


3. In many drainage ditches and streams in low income areas, human waste

and filth litter the banks on which children play.

4. Books are different from movies in that they force us to imagine what

characters look like.

5. A quite garden is hard to find in the midst of the noisy city.

6. In any classroom a student who is bored can cause trouble.

7. A group of screaming teenagers holding sticks raced along Sudirman Street


8. In spite of his hate for overnight trips, Pras camped in the woods of

Ciwidey Estate because his friends dared him to.


From each of the following sentences, write in the blank line the key idea.

Example:  With children at school, we can’t take our vacation when we want to.

We can’t take vacation

1.  Since leaving home, Sony has written to his parents only once.

2.  When they’ve scored their next goal, we’ll leave.

3.  Since it achieved independence, the country has revised its constitution.

4.   I’ll lend you some money if you don’t have any money on you.

5.   He predicts that he would discover the tiny particle when he conducted his next experiment.

6.  Uncrowded Western Parks now offer tourists with campers and trailer a number of modern conveniences.

7.  Was the woman who ran away after the robbery of Bank Central Asia part of the gang of thieves who stole Rp. 190.000.000,- last week at a bank in another part of town?

8.  If he does not study for the final test in this semester, he will not pass a really important moment to decide to which program he will be placed.

9.  Do not under any circumstances pick up a hitchhiker on a lonely road at night no matter how sorry you might feel for the person standing there alone.

10.  A culture in is very nature is a set of values, skills and ways of life that no one member of the society masters.


Underline the key idea in each sentence of the following text. The last sentence has been done as example for you.

Although most still live by centuries-old traditions, millions of professional Asian women have entered the twenty-first century as a force which the entire world must reckon with. Educated and business-minded, they are demanding a full partnership with men. And playing a leading role in the economic explosion of the pacific Rim. A new generation of women is taking top positions in the family business or launching new business financed by the family.

It is true, of course, that Asia’s women leaders are a privileged class, and there is great difference between urban and rural women. Still, the patterns, that will change the lives of hundreds of millions of Asia women are already in place. These professional women are well educated. In Taiwan, for example, women aged 20-24 match the college graduated rates of their male counterparts.

And yet Asia’s quiet women-led revolution is not simply the story of women managers. It is also the story of ordinary women-peasant farmers and laborers. Asia’s economic miracle would not have been possible without their participation. For example, Korea’s industrial base was built by a legion of women working at repetitive dead-end and poorly-paid jobs in the electronics, textile and toy factories. Similarly, in Malaysia, thousands of rural women migrated to the cities to work in the electronic factories, thus helping to transform a largely agriculture base economy to one that is rapidly industrializing.

Amongst the causes of this revolution, the principal one is opportunity. Asia’s exploding economy and the small populations of some Asia countries (Singapore has only 3 million people) mean labor shortages and full employment. Business must make use of all human resources. In addition, many international companies with branches are accustomed to hiring women.

Equally important is fact that modern Asia women are not like their mothers. Not only are they better educated than their mothers, but they are also marrying later. If at all, and having fewer children. Moreover, the Asian women today is much better informed. Instant access to global event via international broadcast system gives her window on the world that earlier generations knew noting about. And in the workplace, the new technology is “gender-blind”, that is there is nothing in it which makes it more suitable for men than for women.

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