Underlining is not just about drawing a line, of whatever color, under some words or phrases. Other than this, and most importantly, it is about identifying the main ideas as opposed to secondary ideas.
This intellectual exercise is very useful and requires a significant amount of effort since it obliges the reader to identify the main ideas of an entire text. Moreover, it also facilitates the study at a later moment, since by just reading the underlined words and phrases one is reminded of the content of the entire text.
Both underlining and marking on the side of the margin are very personal and everyone can do it according to his or her personality. However, there are a couple of general rules to know when it comes to underline well. Before underlining, make sure to read the entire text in order to get the general idea.
One should underline only on one’s books, and it is not recommended to study with books that have been previously underlined by other students since words and phrases will be insignificant.
Use a red pen (or a double line) to underline main ideas, important data as well as definitions. Use a blue pen (or a single line) to underline secondary ideas that should be remembered, as well as all other data (names, dates, works, etc) and examples that support the main idea.
Mark with a vertical line by the margin the entire paragraph that needs to be underlined. In this way, one can avoid underlining each and every line.
One can also use other graphic tools, such as a highlighter to highlight numbers or to classify by outlining; a box, in order to evidence key messages, names or dates; an interrogation mark, when one thinks that there are errors in the text; an exclamation mark, when one needs to go back and check a statement; a point, when there is something that needs to be complemented with other readings, etc.
However, each student must develop his or her own code for graphic signs based on his or her needs. In this course, we will use the red double line and the blue single line.
One must underline in a way that allows reading to be continuous even throughout those underlined parts, even if they are in different lines. What is read must contribute to the development of coherent thoughts.
One must underline little. The general rule recommends underlining between 25 and 30 percent of words, although this also depends on the amount of text that there is.
Arturo Ramo García
Instructions: Select one of the buttons with the letters a, b and c. The correct answer will turn red.