Types of Questions

Dear Students,

These are the question types you will see on any reading comprehension passage. Here is a brief explanation of WHAT is really being asked and HOW to find the answer.

First a word of advice: Always think of yourself as a DETECTIVE when reading and answering comprehension questions. You are looking for CLUES and EVIDENCE to support the right answer and disprove the wrong answers. Detectives require PROOF. Good Luck Sleuth!

Remember: Since there are four answer choices, you should have evidence that three are wrong and one is right. That's FOUR pieces of evidence.

 Main Idea Questions

What is it asking: What is it MOSTLY about? What's the BIG IDEA?

How do I answer:  Look at the TITLE for a clue. Ask yourself what you think it was about.

Right There

What is it asking: This question is asking about something from the story.

How do I answer: GO BACK and FIND IT. Don't guess.


What is it asking: How are two things, people, or ideas alike/different?

How do I answer: Find the two things. The evidence is in the passage. Go back and find it. Prove it.

Fact or Opinion

What is it asking: Which one of these is either a fact or an opinion? Fact: Can be PROVEN. Opinion: How someone THINKS or FEELS.

How do I answer: You can answer these without even reading the passage. Look for opinion words. If the sentence contains adjectives, it is often an opinion.

Author's Purpose

What is it asking: Why did the author write this passage, paragraph or sentence? What is the author trying to say?

How do I answer: Look for the CLUES. Is the author trying to make you feel a certain way? Believe a certain thing? Is the author trying to teach you something? Tell you a funny story?

 Making Inferences

What is it asking: What can you deduce or determine from the information given?

How do I answer: These questions are often the hardest to answer. You must do two things when answering this type of question. Ask yourself what clues is the passage giving me? What do I know about this in the real world. These are one of the few types of questions where you must bring in information from the real world.

Sequencing Events

What is it asking: Which happened first, second, after, last, etc?

How do I answer: This question wants to know the order of events. Go back and find all events mentioned in the answer choices. Put them in order. Reread the question before answering.

 Character Development

What is it asking: What do you know about this character?

How do I answer: Go back into the passage and look for actions, words, or events that show you the character. Find the clues and prove that your answer is right and the others are wrong.


What is it asking: Why did this event happen? What made it happen? What caused it to happen?

How do I answer: Look for the reason. Find the WHY.


What is it asking: How was the event or mistake fixed? How did everything turn out in the end?

How do I answer: Find out how the situation changed. Did someone fix it? Did something just happen?

 Vocabulary Development

What is it asking: What does this word mean? What word means the opposite of this word?

How do I answer: Find the word. Read the sentence the word is in and the sentences before and after the word. Are there clues? Do the answer choices help?