Identifying Irrelevant Sentences in a Passage

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  • 0:02 What Is an Irrelevant…
  • 1:06 Identifying Irrelevant…
  • 2:24 Practice Examples
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Irrelevant sentences can detract from the meaning of a passage. This lesson will explain what an irrelevant sentence is and demonstrate ways to identify them in a passage. We will end with a short quiz to test what you have learned.

What Is an Irrelevant Sentence?

Take a brief moment to read the following passage:

The farm is filled with chickens. The chickens are fed grain twice a day. The truck is red. The chickens on the farm lay lots of eggs.

Did anything stand out in the passage? Were you distracted or confused by any of the sentences in the passage? The sentence about the red truck didn't seem to fit, did it? The other sentences were about chickens. The last thing most readers would expect to see in a passage about chickens is a sentence telling us the truck is red. Simply stated, it doesn't fit in and is not related to the topic of the passage.

Irrelevant sentences are those that do not support the main idea of the passage. Again, the red truck sentence did not connect to the main idea of chickens, so it seemed out of place or irrelevant in the example mentioned earlier. Irrelevant sentences distract readers and upset the flow of passages. Therefore, they should be avoided.

Now that we know what irrelevant sentences are, let's take a closer look at ways we can identify them.

Identifying Irrelevant Sentences

As we mentioned, irrelevant sentences distract readers from the main point of the passage. This is because they do not relate to or support the main idea. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid using irrelevant sentences in writing and to be able to spot them as a reader. The simplest way to identify irrelevant sentences in a passage is to ask yourself the following three questions:

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