What Are Supporting Details?

Supporting Details

Supporting Details

Supporting details are very important parts of a paper. It can be said that the topic and main idea of a paper is the most important part, but without supporting details, main ideas and topics are irrelevant. Supporting details reinforce a larger point. A writer will make a point, which may take the form of a topic or main idea of a paper. Then, the writer backs up their point with supporting details.

These details are most often found in informative and persuasive text. This makes sense, because if the writer is telling you about something, each main point they make, they are also going to need to back up with more points so that the reader can be sure that they are being told accurate information.

The same goes for a persuasive text. If the writer is trying to get the reader to do something or to think a certain way, the writer can’t just make a bunch of points, they’re going to have to back up those points so the reader will indeed think that way or take that action that the writer wants them to take.

Supporting details are often easy to spot, because the writer will let you know that those details are coming. A lot of times, they’ll make a main point, then they’ll say something like, “First,” and they’ll give a supporting detail, and “Second” and give another supporting detail, and say “Finally,” and then give the third supporting detail. They might say something like “for example” or “for instance” and that would tip you off that the next supporting detail is coming along.

Supporting details need to be two things. They need to be both factual and relevant. If something is totally accurate and factual, but it’s not relevant to the main idea, then it’s no good. The supporting detail needs to be accurate and needs to relate back to the main idea. If a supporting detail is very relevant, if it pertains to the main idea, but is not accurate, then it is no good. What good is information that is not true?

The important thing to remember with supporting details is that their job is to reinforce the larger point. They can be most often found in informative and persuasive texts. They’re often easy to spot, because they are preceded by words like “first,” “second,” “finally,” “for instance,” or “for example”. The most important thing for details to be is both factual and relevant.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: February 15, 2019