Question Types

The ability to identify the major reading comprehension question types and thus, being able to recognize what a given question is asking for, is a major asset when doing comprehension passages. Below is a list of the most frequent question types.

Main Idea – These questions require readers to find the central message of a passage, and are often phrased in the forms below:

-Which of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?

-The author’s primary purpose is to…

-The main point of the passage is to…

Specific Details – These questions require readers to be able to identify what the author/passage states.

-Which of the following is best supported by the passage?

-According to the passage…

-The passage states all the following except…

Tone – These are questions that require readers to identify the authors, or characters in the passage mood or emotion.

-The author’s tone is one of…

-The author regards that idea with…

-Jane is revealed as a person who is…

Drawing Inferences – These questions require readers to note what the passage explicitly states, and use these facts to identify implications.

-The passage suggests that…

-It can be inferred from the passage that…

-The author implies all the following except…

Applications to Situations – These questions require readers to be able to identify from the positions stated in the passage, what the author’s stance would be on other matters.

-With which of the following would the author of the passage most likely agree?

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