Textual Evidence for Predictions

A prediction is an educated guess about what will come later in a text. Now, your predictions can be about an event, or about how a character will behave, but any prediction you make must be based on information in the text, or based on knowledge about literature in general.

For instance, if you’ve seen how a character has acted in a story so far, you can make a prediction about his future actions.

The following transcript is provided for your convenience.
The next lesson: Textual Support for Interpretation, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

And, with your knowledge about literature, you know the basic layout of a mystery novel, so you might be able to predict who did something in a story, or how the story is going to end up, based on your general knowledge of literature.

And the more you read, the more your general knowledge about literature is going to increase, so you may be able to make more predictions the more you read.

Now, one specific way that you might find textual support for prediction is with foreshadowing, and foreshadowing is when the author hints at something that will occur later in the plot.

So, sometimes, it’s subtle. Sometimes the author doesn’t say exactly what will happen. It may mention storm clouds on the horizon, and the storm clouds could equal danger, or something bad happening.

So, if you have a character who is going through a tough time, and then they see storm clouds on the horizon, or someone mentions a storm might be coming, then that may be the author’s way of hinting that something bad is coming, or danger is approaching.

However, sometimes foreshadowing could be more direct. As in, Romeo and Juliet. They talk about how they would rather die than live without one another, and that was William Shakespeare’s way of hinting, that in the end, when they thought that they might live without one another, they did end up killing themselves rather than live without the other one.

Sometimes, foreshadowing comes in the form of a fortune teller. There are a lot of stories that include a fortune teller, or someone that happens to tell someone’s fortune, or tell their future, even without being labeled a fortune teller, and they’ll say exactly what’s going to happen, and then, later on, that’s how the plot unfolds.

Now, sometimes, the author will throw in what’s called a “red herring“, and that’s when they tell you what’s going to happen, but it doesn’t really happen. So, when a hint or prediction by the author does not actually happen.

So, you have to pay attention, because sometimes, the author may give you a direct foreshadowing example. They may go and say exactly what’s going to happen, and that’ll be true.

But, sometimes, they’ll give a really big hint, or they’ll even lay out the prediction with a fortune teller, or by the characters just discussing how they feel like things are going to end up, but it’s a red herring, because that’s not really how the author ends the story.

So, don’t always think that if the author tells you something is going to happen, it’s going to happen. But, foreshadowing can often be a good textual support for any predictions you’re going to make.

So, whenever you are making predictions while you’re reading a story, make sure that your predictions are based on evidence either from the story itself, information in that text, or information that you’ve gained from reading other books, and getting a general knowledge about literature.

Practice tests help you remember. Take this mini-test to solidify your memory.
Mini-test: Textual Evidence for Predictions 

Use the clues in the text to answer the questions.

The driver reached for his sunglasses as he turned left into the late afternoon sun.

What direction was the driver going before he turned?
2. There were only two Americans staying at the hotel.

Where’s the hotel?


The next lesson: Textual Support for Interpretation, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.