What is the Main Thought? Functions, characteristics, and how to determine them

What is the Main Thought? – Do you know if in a reading there is a main idea. This has also been taught when you were in elementary school. But so that it is easier for you to remember and understand related to the explanation of the main idea. This article can help you remember information about the main idea.

Understanding Main Thoughts

When we are all learning Indonesian, of course, material for finding the main ideas in articles or in one paragraph is often found. It turns out that if we flash back the main ideas in a paragraph it is true and this can become a core or main topic which will later be explained in several supporting paragraphs in an article.

The main idea is a core of a reading or a topic which will be discussed more deeply through supporting explanations. A paragraph will usually consist of two main elements.

The first element is the topic to be discussed or it could also be the main idea. Then for the second element is a supporting sentence. Where later this supporting sentence can be an explanation or reinforcement of the main idea.


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The Functions Of The Main Idea

If you already understand the meaning of the main idea through the previous point. Next you can understand about the function of the main idea at this point. Simply put, the function of the subject matter itself is for readers to more quickly identify what the creator of the article or paragraph really wants to convey.

However, as previously explained, if the main idea is stronger and easier to understand, the meaning requires several supporting sentences.

Main Thoughts Based on Paragraphs

After knowing the function of the main ideas in the previous explanation, it turns out that the main ideas are also divided into several types based on the paragraphs you know. Among them are deductive paragraphs, inductive paragraphs, descriptive paragraphs, and mixed paragraphs.

Of course, the four paragraphs have their own characteristics. So that you better understand the four paragraphs. Come on, see the full explanation below.

1. Deductive Paragraph

The first type of paragraph is deductive, where in this paragraph the main idea will be placed at the front. You could say this type of paragraph has a pattern from general to specific.

The structure of a deductive paragraph starts with the main idea and is supported by several supporting sentences behind it. Because it has an easy structure and is so detailed. So do not be surprised if paragraphs are used more often.

2. Inductive Paragraph

In contrast to deductive paragraphs where the main idea or sentence is at the beginning of the paragraph. This type of inductive paragraph uses the placement of the main idea at the end of the paragraph.

The structure of this type of paragraph is usually from general to specific. Starting from a general explanation that will refer to the main ideas at the end of the paragraph.

Not only that, it turns out that inductive paragraphs are also divided into three types, namely generalization, analogy, and the last is causality.

3. Descriptive Paragraph

This descriptive paragraph is slightly different from the previous two types. Where the main idea of ​​the descriptive paragraph is spread out. This means that each explanatory or supporting sentence has an implied main idea.

4. Mixed Paragraphs

Finally there is a mixed paragraph. Just as the name suggests, mixed paragraphs have the main ideas placed at the beginning and end of the paragraph. If you look at the pattern, from the general special then it is strengthened to the special again.

Of all the types of paragraphs described above, of course, they can be found in every article. Of course, understanding the explanation of the main ideas based on the type of paragraph can make it easier for you to understand what the author of the article will convey.


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Characteristics of Thoughts

In a paragraph the existence of the main idea also has several characteristics. The characteristics of this main idea will of course also make it easier for you to determine whether a sentence is a main idea or just an explanatory sentence.

Quoted from a journal entitled “The Ability to Determine Main Ideas by Using an Inquiry Learning Model for Class VIII Students of SMP Negeri 1 Bone-Bone, North Luwu Regency” by Marchella Praserda Katika with the year of manufacture in 2018.

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It turns out that there are several characteristics that exist in a main idea or main idea. So what are these characteristics? The following is a full explanation.

1. The Main Idea Is Not Too Complicated

A main idea should not be convoluted or too wordy. This means that each content of the main idea should not be narrowed or too broadened. The purpose of this is to make it easier for the reader to find the main idea or more easily understand what the author really wants to convey in a paragraph.

2. Main Thoughts Must Be Clearly Conveyed

In addition to not being too convoluted in making a main idea, it must also be conveyed clearly. Even the placement of the main idea must also be clearly seen, whether at the beginning of the paragraph, at the end, or at the beginning and end, or in all sentences there will be an implied main idea.

3. Is General

A main idea must have a general nature. This means that the main idea can be translated back in the next few sentences. This explanatory sentence can also be called a supporting sentence.

4. There are Supporting Sentences

Finally, a main idea must have several supporting sentences. This means that a main idea can not stand. Must have several supporting sentences so that the main idea is stronger and easier for the reader to understand.

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How to Determine Main Thoughts

Some of the characteristics described earlier can indeed be used as an alternative way when you are looking for a topic. However, not everything can go easily, sometimes it has been read over and over again, there is often a feeling of confusion about what exactly you want to say or what is the main idea of ​​a paragraph.

Of course, we need a tip or a way that can be done to make it easier to determine the main ideas in a paragraph. You can read an explanation of how to find a main idea in a paragraph below.

1. Read Entire Content In Paragraphs

The first thing you can do in looking for a main idea can be by reading the entire contents of the paragraph. But in reading the entire contents of the paragraph must be done with full concentration and thoroughness.

Understand each content in the paragraph, then distinguish which is the main idea and which is an explanatory sentence. That way you can more easily determine a main idea.

2. Read Every Sentence

Next, you can look for a main idea by reading each sentence in the paragraph. Understand each sentence in the paragraph. Because a main idea can have the possibility of being in the beginning, ending, or mixture.

Of course, by reading every sentence in a paragraph it looks very effective to do. Find out which is the main idea or supporting sentence.

3. Separating Main Sentences With Explanatory Sentences

Third, you can try to separate the main sentence from the explanatory sentence. Of course, you also have to understand what is meant by the main sentence and the explanatory sentence.

Most main sentences will be followed by explanatory sentences. But if you are still too difficult to distinguish between the two sentences. Then observing the main sentence and the explanatory sentence can be seen by looking at their characteristics.

The character of the explanatory sentence will usually have a proof. An example is a sentence that describes a plan. When you can understand between the two sentences. Of course, to determine a subject matter is not so difficult anymore.

4. Mark Important Information

Of course, in every paragraph there is always information that is considered so important. Therefore, one way to make it easier to find main ideas is to mark some information that is considered important and interesting.

However, accuracy and precision are needed in finding this important information. If you find an important piece of information in a few sentences in a paragraph.

So the next step is to try to select the important information. Look for what really matters. That way the process of finding the main idea will be easier.

5. Recognize Explanatory Sentences

Next is to recognize the explanatory sentence as a support for a main idea in one paragraph. Even though it sounds so simple, some people still find it difficult to determine a supporting sentence.

One way to recognize a supporting sentence is to pay attention to its characteristics. Usually supporting sentences will always be repeated.

This means if there are several words that are repeated in several sentences. It could be that some of these sentences are supporting sentences that have the aim of strengthening the main idea.

6. Provide a Paragraph Conclusion

The sixth step can be by making a conclusion from a paragraph. When you have read the entire contents in a paragraph. Do the next method by trying to make a conclusion from the contents of the paragraph.

This can also make it easier to find the main idea in a paragraph.

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7. Mark Each Found Idea

The last method you can use is to mark every time you find a main idea. This may make it easier for you to find mixed paragraphs.

Where mixed paragraphs have the main idea placed at the beginning and also at the end of the paragraph. Of course, you also have to read the contents of the paragraph so you can find a sentence that you feel is a main idea.

Examples of Main Thoughts in Paragraphs

When you understand what the main idea is, function, and easy ways to determine the main idea in a paragraph. Quoted from the official website www.sinaumedia.com, the following are some examples of questions related to the subject matter.

1. First Example

The mud flood disaster caused by the collapse of the Situ Gintung embankment, located in South Tangerang, has caused various kinds of diseases to the people around there. Some of the diseases caused by the mud flood disaster are diarrhea, dengue fever, typhus, and leptospirosis.


The main idea of ​​the paragraph above is the flood disaster that can cause various kinds of diseases. If seen from the paragraph above, it can be concluded if the main sentence or main idea is at the beginning. Meanwhile, other sentences have the task of explaining and reinforcing the main idea.

2. Second Example

When someone thinks too much about the problem, it will make that person sadder. In addition, rather than dragging on in sadness, it’s better to focus on solving the problem. There is no need to think about and exaggerate the problem, but keep your spirits up and ask for help from people you can trust. That’s how to overcome sadness if you are experiencing problems.


The main idea of ​​the paragraph above is a way to overcome justice. Then the main idea in the paragraph is at the end. The pattern used in the paragraph is from general to specific. This can be seen from the beginning to a few sentences before the end becomes explanatory and ends with the main idea.

3. Third Example

Trees provide various benefits for humans and other living things. Trees are useful as a source of food, medicine and industrial materials. One of the most important roles of trees for humans and all living things is that trees are a producer of fresh air in the world.


The main idea in the paragraph is the benefits of trees that are useful for the health of living things. Judging from the paragraph above, the main idea is at the beginning of the paragraph. The pattern that is owned by the sentence is from specific to general.

Where if you look back at the first sentence served to show the topic to be discussed. Then the second sentence to the end is in charge of explaining the main part of the sentence.

4. Fourth Example

Insomnia can be caused by various factors. Insomnia or what is meant by sleep disturbances is generally caused by anxiety or a burden on one’s mind, other things that cause insomnia are working late into the night, uncomfortable bed conditions, and other habits.


The main idea in the paragraph in the paragraph above is about the causes of the condition of insomnia. Then the main idea is placed at the beginning of the paragraph and followed by explanatory sentences. The pattern that is owned by the paragraph above is from specific to general.

5. Fifth Example

Addiction to pornography can damage the brain. The brain of pornography addicts will be continuously stimulated which causes excessive production of dopamine and endorphins. Under normal conditions, these substances can be useful for people on the move. However, it is different from the case of pornography addicts. Where the brain will experience excessive stimulation, which in the long term can make the brain smaller and eventually damaged.


The main idea of ​​the paragraph above is that pornography addiction can damage the state of the human brain. Then to put the main idea of ​​the paragraph above is at the beginning. The first sentence already explains a topic to be discussed and is followed by various explanatory sentences as reinforcement for the first sentence.

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The main idea is a topic that will be discussed in a paragraph or article. The placement of the main idea can be found at the beginning, end, or the beginning and end of one paragraph.

The placement of the main points can also be distinguished based on the type of paragraph, such as inductive, deductive, descriptive or mixed. In addition, there are several features that you can use to find the main idea in a paragraph.

If it is seen from several characteristics, it has not been able to find a main idea in a paragraph. So using several methods of searching for main ideas as explained above can more easily help you.

If Sinaumed’s wants to make it easier and more understandable about the subject matter in a paragraph. So there’s nothing wrong with using a variety of readings. Starting from books, essays, novels, and others that can be found at www.sinaumedia.com.

Authors: Djoko Saryono and Soedjito

Book title: Indonesian Writing Skilled Series: Paragraph

You can use the book entitled “Indonesian Writing Skills Series: Paragraphs” published by Bumi Aksara as a training medium so you can master a paragraph. Contains 220 pages in easy-to-understand language that will make learning easier for you.