主旨大意题旨在考查考生把握全文主题和理解中心思想的能力，亦即考查考生的归纳概括能力。这类试题包括要求考生选出短文的标题(title, headline)、短文或段落的主题(subject)、中心思想(main idea)、作者的写作目的(purpose或为传递信息、或为愉悦读者、或为阐述某一道理)等。这类题的设问方式主要有：
(1)The subject of the passage/paragraph is ______.
(2)The main idea of the passage/paragraph is ______.
(3)The text is mainly about ______.
(4)The passage mainly centers on ______.
(5)The passage mainly tells about ______.
(6)What is the subject discussed in the text?
(7)What is the main idea of this passage?
(8)What is the passage mainly about?
(9)What does the second paragraph mainly discuss?
(10)What is the main point the writer is trying to make in the last paragraph?
(11)Which of the following is the best title for the passage?
(12)Which title best gives the idea of the passage?
(13)What would be the best title for the text?
(14)What might be the most suitable title for the passage?
(15)The best headlines for this newspaper article would be______
(16)The main purpose of announcing the above events is to give information about ______.
(17)The writer's purpose in writing this story is ______.
(18)What is the author's main purpose?
(19)What does the writer really want to tell us in this passage?
(20)The writer wrote the story in order to______.
(21)What is the advice given in the text / passage / article?
A JINTAN, JIANGSU: The 20 students — 18 boys and 2 girls —had a thousand reasons to be proud of themselves. They had just climbed their way to the top rung(阶梯)out of 4 million students taking part in the Fifth National Hua Luogeng Gold Cup Mathematics Contest (竞赛)on Tuesday evening.
The 20 gold medal winners are all primary and middle school students under the age of 14.
"Many of the problems are of college level and these pupils can figure them out. It is just unbelievable!" said a teacher from Guangdong province.
Named after China's most famous mathematician, Hua Luogeng, the contest started in 1986, one year after his death. In less than 10 years, it has been recognized by the State Education Commission(国家教委) as the country's biggest and best contest of its kind.
This news story is mainly about ______.
A. when the contest started
B. how the contest got its name
C. the 20 pupils who have won gold medals in the contest
D. the 5th National Hua Luogeng Gold Cup Mathematics Contest
Fat on human beings is distributed in different ways. Some fat people have a large stomach and no waistline—which makes them look round, rather like apples. Others are fatter below the waist, which makes them appear pear-shaped.
There are two types of fat: external fat (fat under the skin) and internal fat (fat inside the body wall). Doctors, who have been examining the relationship between health and fatness, have found that the 'pears' have less internal fat, but the 'apples' have more internal fat than external fat. This seems to be what causes the health problems.
The best treatment for fatness is to reduce the internal fat. But unfortunately it seems that dieting (节食) simply makes an apple-shaped person into a smaller apple and a pear-shaped person into a smaller pear. At the moment there is no known way of reducing the internal rather than external fat.
The text is mainly about ______.
A. fatness and health B. ways to lose weigh
C. people's figures D. distribution of fat
In 1901, H.G. Wells, an English writer, wrote a book describing a trip to the moon. When the explorers (探险者) landed on the moon, they discovered that the moon was full of underground cities. They expressed their surprise to the "moon people" they met. In turn, the "moon people"expressed their surprise. "Why," they asked, "are you traveling to outer space when you don't even use your inner space?"
H.G. Wells could only imagine travel to the moon. In 1969, human beings really did land on the moon. People today know that there are no underground cities on the moon. How ever, the question that the "moon people" asked is still an interesting one. A growing number of scientists are seriously thinking about it.
Underground systems are already in place. Many cities have underground car parks. In some cities, such as Tokyo, Seoul and Montreal, there are large underground shopping areas. The 'Chunnel", a tunnel(隧道) connecting England and France, is now complete.
But what about underground cities? Japan's Taisei Corporation is designing a network of underground system, called "Alice Cities." The designers imagine using surface space for public parks and using underground space for flats, offices, shopping, and so on. A solar dome(太阳能穹顶) would cover the whole city.
Supporters of underground development say that building down rather than building up is a good way to use the earth's space. The surface, they say, can be used for farms, parks, gardens, and wilderness. H.G. Wells' "moon people" would agree. Would you?
What would be the best title for the text?
A. Alice Cities—cities of the future B. Space travel with H.G. Wells
C. Enjoy living underground D. Building down, not up
【分析】文章以月球人的问题Why are you traveling to outer space when you don't even use your inner space? 引起话题，接着讲叙了人类目前对地下空间的利用现状，结尾以地下空间开发的支持者的话点题 building down rather than building up is a good way to use the earth’s space。A选项只是本文话题的部分意思，不是主要话题；B选项与文章的意思无关；文章主要是讲地下空间的开发利用，而不是讲如何享受地下生活，因此C选项与文章的主题也无关；D选项符合文章的主要内容，与主题句的意思一致，因此，是该题的正确答案。
Shu Pulong has helped at least 1000 people bitten by snakes. "It was seeing people with snake bites that led me to this career," he said.
In 1963, after his army service, Shu entered a medical school and later became a doctor of Chinese medicine. As part of his studies he had to work in the mountains. There he often heard of people who had their arms and legs cut off after a snake bite in order to save their lives.
"I was greatly upset by the story of an old farmer I met. It was a very hot afternoon. The old man was pulling grass in his fields when he felt a pain in his left hand. He at once realized he had been bitten by a poisonous snake. In no time he wrapped a cloth tightly around his arm to stop the poison spreading to his heart. Rushing home he shouted 'Bring me the knife!' Minutes later the man lost his arm forever."
"The sad story touched me so much that I decided to devote myself to helping people bitten by snakes,"Shu said.
The best headline for this newspaper article is ______.
A. Astonishing Medicine B. Farmer Loses Arms
C. Dangerous Bites D. Snake Doctor
【分析】文章的第一段就两句话，第一句点题，第二交代了Shu Pulong成为蛇医的原因；第二、第三段举例说明Shu Pulong如何了解到农民被蛇咬的情况；第四段回归主题，强调是由于第二、第三段中所交代的事例促使Shu Pulong决心成为蛇医。题目的A选项与文章中的信息无关；B、C两个选项只涉及到文章所举的例子的某个方面；D选项能涵盖首位两个自然段，即主题句，的信息，因此是正确答案。
有的文章没有明显的主题句，如果在阅读这类文章的时候碰到判断文章的主题、话题、中心思想之类的题目，我们的注意力主要放在两个方面：1. 文章的主要内容；2. 选项之间的区别。也就是说能涵盖文章的全部或主要内容的选项才是正确答案。如：(全国高考题)
James Cleveland Owens was the son of a farmer and the grandson of black slaves. His family moved to Cleveland when he was 9. There, a school teacher asked the youth his name.
"J.C.", he replied.
She thought he had said "Jesse", and he had a new name.
Owens ran his first race at age 13. After high school, he went to Ohio State University. He had to work part time so as to pay for his education. As a second-year student, in the Big Ten games in 1935, he set even more records than he would in the Olympic Games a year later.
A week before the Big Ten meet, Owens accidentally fell down a flight of stairs. His back hurt so much that he could not exercise all week, and he had to be helped in and out of the car that drove him to the meet. He refused to listen to the suggestions that he give up and said he would try, event by event. He did try, and the results are in the record book.
The stage was set for Owens' victory at the Olympic Games in Berlin the next year, and his success would come to be regarded as not only athletic(体育的)but also political. Hitler did not congratulate any of the African-American winners.
"It was all right with me," he said years later. "I didn't go to Berlin to shake hands with him, anyway."
Having returned from Berlin. He received no telephone call from the president of his own country, either. In fact, he was not honored by the United States until 1976, four years before his death.
Owens' Olympic victories made little difference to him. He earned his living by looking after a school playground, and accepted money to race against cars, trucks, motorcycles, and dogs.
"Sure, it bothered (烦扰)me," he said later. "But at least it was an honest living. I had to eat."
In time, however, his gold medals (奖牌) changed his life. "They have kept me alive over the years," he once said. "Time has stood still for me. That golden moment dies hard."
Which of the following is a suitable title for the text?
A. Jesse Owens, a Great American Athlete
B. Golden Moment — a Life-time Struggle
C. Making a Living as a Sportsman
D. How to Be a Successful Athlete?
【分析】这篇文章简明扼要地介绍了奥林匹克金牌得主，美国黑人运动员James Cleveland Owens辉煌而又坎坷的人生，但文章侧重介绍的是他人生的坎坷，而不是他人生的辉煌。B选项侧重的是他人生的辉煌，而不是他人生的坎坷，不能涵盖文章的主要意思，因而不合题意；C、D选项与文章的内容无关，也不合题意；James Cleveland Owens在获得奥林匹克金牌后虽然没有立即得到美国社会的重视，但获得金牌奠定了他作为一名伟大的运动员在美国田径运动史上的重要地位却是不争的事实，A选项既表达了文章的这一主要意思，也能涵盖他人生辉煌及坎坷的不同侧面，比较全面地反映了文章的主要内容，因而符合题意，是正确答案。