- Slides: 18
SUPPORTING DETAILS T. C. Norris Fall 2016
Every structure has to be supported by something or it will collapse. That support also gives shape to the structure and makes it functional and meaningful. The same is true of writing. Without supporting details, a composition has only a general idea and nothing specific that the reader can relate to. Such writing is not effective because it doesn’t enable the reader to understand the point of the writing; it has no meaning for the reader. In order to communicate effectively, a writer must clarify general ideas with specific details. In order to understand what is written, the reader must be able to identify specific details.
Paragraph Terms Topic Sentence = a general statement that indicates the subject and focus of the paragraph (main idea) Supporting Details = information that clarifies the main idea ▪ Major support = aspects of the topic that show it supports the main idea of the writing ▪ Minor support = specific examples of the major support, which gives the reader a mental picture of the idea the writer wants to convey. Summary Sentence = a statement that reminds the reader of the point of the paragraph
There are different kinds of paragraphs: ▪ Introductions – overview of issue, focus, and content ▪ Body paragraphs – explanation/support of main point ▪ Conclusions – summary of main point and support Body paragraphs contain the supporting details that clarify the overall point for the reader. Body paragraphs may be structured in a variety of ways, but they will all contain supporting details. Following is a diagram of a “typical” body paragraph, showing content and structure.
Sample Paragraph Your memory operates through three stages to take in, sort, and store information for later use. Encoding is the first stage, during which ideas are processed through your five senses. During the storage stage, information is either discarded or sorted and then retained briefly in short-term memory or transferred into long-term memory, where it may become permanent. Retrieval, the third stage of memory, allows you to recall stored ideas and images. The brain uses a well organized system for turning information into memories. Topic Sentence Major Support Minor Support Summary
KINDS OF SUPPORTING DETAILS All supporting details do the same thing, but there are different kinds: Kinds §Facts – verifiable ▲dates ▲places ▲people ▲events §Reasons – why or how §Examples – illustration explanation § § or § Transitions (some may overlap) in [year], on [date], one person who. . . , when they [event] one reason, because, why for example, for instance, one way, to illustrate
KINDS OF SUPPORTING DETAILS - EXAMPLES § Facts ∆ Edson Arantes do Nascimento, generally known as Pélé, dominated soccer for two decades. • In 1956, Pélé joined. . • In 1958, He played in the World Cup. . • In 1970, in another victory for Brazil. . § Reasons ∆ Jackie Robinson is an athlete I admire. • For one reason, he broke. . • Also, when faced with prejudice. . • Another reason I admire Robinson is that he. . § Examples ∆ Female athletes in most major sports have proved that they can compete successfully with male athletes. • For example, in the seventies, Billy Jean King. . • Also, Manon Rheaume made history. . • Katie Hnida, the first woman to play in a Division 1 -A football game, showed that. .
To find the supporting details, follow this procedure: ▪ Look for a general statement that covers the rest of the paragraph = topic sentence. ▲ Your memory operates through three stages to take in, sort, and store information for later use ▪ Identify the focus of the topic sentence. ▲ Your memory operates through three stages to take in, sort, and store information for later use ▪ Find details in the paragraph that illustrate the main idea = major support. ▲ Encoding is the first stage. . . During the storage stage. . . Retrieval, the third stage of memory ▪ Find specific details that explain the major support = minor support. ▲ ideas are processed through your five senses. . . information is either discarded or sorted. . . allows you to recall
SUMMARY Supporting details are information that clarifies (supports) the general point of a paragraph. They give the information that the topic sentence introduces, or the topic sentence is general enough to cover all of the details. ▪ Major support is aspects of the topic that show it supports the main idea of the writing ▪ Minor support is specific examples of the major support, which gives the reader a mental picture of the idea the writer wants to convey. Major support is more specific than the topic sentence, and minor support is more specific than major support. Supporting details can be facts, reasons, or examples, and are usually accompanied by transitions that indicate the kind of detail they are. (Transitions may not be the first word in the sentence. )
FINDING SUPPORTING DETAILS IN A LARGER CONTEXT
PERSPECTIVE To apply these principles to a larger writing context, look for the elements in the same area of the writing. Writing Paragraph Essay Article Chapter Book Topic Sentence, implication General and specific statements within the paragraph Title, first paragraph/thesis statement, section headers Thesis statement, topic sentences, statements within the paragraphs Title, section headers Topic sentences, statements within the paragraphs, tables and charts Title, section headers, chapter outline or first paragraph Topic sentences, statements within the paragraphs, tables and charts Preface/introduction Section headers, topic sentences, statements within the paragraphs, tables and charts
EXAMPLE It started with a seamstress from Montgomery, Alabama, who refused to give up her seat on a city bus. Her name was Rosa Parks. Every morning, she got on the bus and sat in the back, as black people were required to do. But December 1, 1955, was different. On that day, Parks got on the bus as usual and took her seat in the back. When a white passenger was unable to find a seat in the front of the bus, the driver told Parks to give up her seat. She refused. Parks was arrested for breaking the law; she was tried on December 5 and found guilty. Supporters of equal rights for black people, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. , rallied around Parks and staged a boycott of the city bus system that lasted a little more than a year. The Supreme Court’s decision to end segregation on public transportation ended the boycott. The boycott was only the first in a series of nonviolent demonstrations that reached a high point in 1963. King led the march on Washington D. C. , where he told those assembled, “I have a dream. ” King’s dream was of an America where all people could live in peace and racial harmony. The movement’s persistence led to the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation in public facilities and in hiring practices. Two other important pieces of legislation followed: the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. From one woman’s stand against the Montgomery city bus system in 1955 to the enactment of antidiscriminatory laws in the 1960 s had been a long ride. Following these legislative victories, the movement and its supporters turned their attention to improving education and eradicating racial prejudice.
Work Cited Kanar, Carol. The Reader's Corner. 3 rd ed. , Houghton Mifflin, 2008, pp. 12 -15.