Comprehension skill: The function of examples

1 10 2011

Comprehension questions that test this skill often look like this:

What is the writer trying to show by using the examples of ‘humanitarianmissions to Haiti and Sudan’?

Why does the author use the example of the ‘killer flu’?


What these questions want to see in your answer is an understanding of the purpose of an example. And examples are used for one main purpose – to illustrate an author’s main argument. Thus, to answer such questions, you must first identify the author’s main argument in that paragraph, and draw the link between the example and the argument. Often, this link is explicitly mentioned in the text – so just paraphrase this link, and you have your answer.




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