First of all, before we get into the stated main idea, you have to know what the main idea is in the first place. The main idea of a paragraph is the point of the passage, minus all the details. It's the big picture - the Solar System vs. the planets. The football game vs. the fans, cheerleaders, quarterback, and uniforms. The Oscars vs. actors, the red carpet, designer gowns, and films.
What Is a Stated Main Idea?
Sometimes, a reader will get lucky and the main idea will be a stated main idea, which is the easiest to find in a passage. It's written directly in the text. Author's sometimes come right out and write the main idea in the passage for a variety of reasons – they don't want you to miss the point, they're new writers, they like clear, informational writing.
How To Find the Stated Main Idea
- Read the passage of text
- Ask this question to yourself: "What is this passage about?"
- In your own words, explain the answer in one short sentence.
- Look for a sentence in the text that most closely fits with your summary.
Stated Main Idea Example:
Because the Internet exists in a world that is already regulated with policies and laws, government officials, upholders of current laws and the voice of the people, should be ultimately responsible for the regulation of the Internet. With this responsibility comes the enormous task of managing the protection of First Amendment rights along with honoring social and public interests across the world. That being said, the ultimate responsibility still rests in the hands of Internet users who vote – they, along with the officials elected to serve them, make up the global community. Voters have the ability to elect responsible individuals to the appropriate posts, and the elected officials have the responsibility to act on the will of the people..
The main idea here is "…government officials…should be ultimately responsible for the regulation of the Internet." That is a stated main idea because it is directly written in the text, and it full encapsulates the passage's meaning as a whole.