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What is the inherent difference between Author's Opinion/View and Main Point(s)?

LSAT Trainer by Mike Kim (pg. 320) talks about how the opinions of the author of a reading comprehension does not need to be a main point.

How can this be the case?

I want to be able to discern between the two.

A natural follow up to this question:

Is there a subtle difference between understanding "Why the author wrote the passage?" and "Why the passage, in general, was written?"


  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27868 karma

    This is a really good question. There is certainly a difference, and I think your follow up question does a lot to reveal the underlying misunderstanding. As stated, there is a difference between the author’s opinion and the main point. However, the answer to your question, is that no, there is no difference between why the author wrote the passage and why the passage was written. It might be a different discussion as to whether the author’s purpose and the main point are the same thing, but both of your questions are in the realm of main point and author’s purpose rather than the author’s opinion.

    So the question now is if neither of those questions addresses the author’s opinion, then what exactly is the author’s opinion? The primary feature of author’s opinion, as distinguished from the main point, is that opinions can be much narrower in scope and besides the point.

    For example, I may say:

    Although Einstein was an unambiguously brilliant scientist, modern understanding of quantum mechanics reveal that he was wrong in dismissing the phenomenon of quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” Einstein advocated for an alternative explanation known as ‘hidden variables.’ However, John Stewart Bell disproved the existence of these ‘hidden variables,’ and confirmed the theory of entanglement.

    So what is my main point? Something like showing how quantum entanglement, not hidden variables, is the correct explanation for an observed phenomenon. That’s really my only possible main point.

    But what about my opinion? I have a few of those. I think Einstein is fallible. I think Einstein is brilliant. We can probably infer that I think Bell is a legit scientist. All of these are opinions I clearly hold, but none are the main point. Another opinion I seem to hold is that entanglement is a correct theory. So that could be overlapped with the main point. So they’re not always mutually exclusive. But opinions can be much more specific and narrow, and even besides the point. You’ll often see opinion questions with answers that may seem to go against the main point. Central to my point above is that Einstein was wrong. Nevertheless, I conceded up front that he is a brilliant scientist. So watch out for those types of things.

    Hope this helps!

  • 284 karma

    This is a fantastic explanation with a fantastic example! The inference questions that hit on subtle author opinions like the ones you mentioned above are what can be killers, g8 way to show that having the correct mindset can be a huge jump in understanding!

    Thanks a lot!

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