What Is the Main Idea of a Story?

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The main idea is what the story is about, including the content and plot details. The main idea is often confused with the topics of a story, but they are different.

Essays, stories, and books typically have a main idea, which is the primary idea or point that the author is trying to get across to the reader in the complete piece of writing. Main ideas may appear at the beginning of the a paragraph and offers an overview of what follows. However, the main idea may come at the end of a paragraph as a conclusion that offers a summary of information and that introduces the paragraphs to come.

Writing may have more than one topic, but they all tie into the main idea in some way. Topics often provide additional supporting information, major concepts, and minor details for the main idea. These topics also help clarify the main idea and aid in the reader’s understanding of the subject matter. Details that support the main idea, but that are not the main idea itself, include

  • Who is involved in the story
  • What is happening in the story
  • When the story takes place
  • Where the story takes place

The main idea is usually repeated in some form throughout the writing. Such repetition may be inferred or implied rather than clearly stated.