Textual Evidence for Predictions

Predictions are educated guesses about things that come later on in a text.

Your predictions maybe about some event, or about the way a character might be behaving, but all predictions you’ll be making need to be based on information in the given text, or on general knowledge about literature.

For example, when you’ve seen a character acting in a specific way before in a story, you may well come up with a prediction about the character’s future actions or behavior.

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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?


Question 1 of 2

2. There were only two Americans staying at the hotel.

Where’s the hotel?


Question 2 of 2


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This transcript is provided for your convenience
Also, if you have any knowledge about literature, you’ll be aware of a mystery novel’s basic layout. So you may well be able to predict who’ll be doing something in some story. You may also know how a story may end simply based on general knowledge about literature.

And when you read more and more, the more likely you are to gain a more general knowledge of literature in general. So you may very well be able to come up with more predictions as you read more.

There’s a specific way that allows you to find textual support for predictions. This happens with foreshadowing when an author will be hinting at things that will happen later on in the plot.

Sometimes, this may be subtle. At times, authors don’t say exactly what’s going to happen. They could write about a storm cloud on the horizon and you’ll understand that a storm cloud may well equal danger and that something bad is about to happen.

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Now, if we have a character that’s going through some tough time, and they’re seeing a storm cloud on the horizon, or when somebody is mentioning that a storm might be on, then the author might be hinting that a bad thing is about to happen, or that danger is on the way.

Sometimes, however, foreshadowing can be much more direct. In Romeo and Juliet, for example. They were talking about that they would prefer to die than to live without each other. This was the way William Shakespeare hinted that, at the end, when the couple was thinking they would have to live without each other, they ended up killing themselves instead of living without each other.

Then there are times that foreshadowing will come in the shape of a fortune teller. Many stories include fortune-tellers or somebody who happens to predict someone’s fortune. They may be telling their future even when they’re not labeled fortune tellers, but they’ll be saying exactly what will happen later on. Then, later on, you’ll see that that’s exactly how the plot will unfold.

Sometimes, authors may throw in so-called “red herrings“. That’s when authors are telling us what’s going to occur, but in reality, this doesn’t happen at all. So, a “red herring” is when a prediction or hint by an author will not actually happen at all.

So you see. Paying attention is crucial because, sometimes, authors may provide direct foreshadowing examples. They may say exactly what will happen; that it’ll be true. Sometimes, however, they may give us really big hints, or they may even lay out some prediction through a fortune teller. They may also use the characters discussing how they think the story will be ending up, but this could also be a “red herring” when that is not really the way the author will be ending the story.

So you see. You can’t always think that when authors tell you that something will happen, this will truly happen. But often, foreshadowing will provide pretty good textual support for your predictions. So keep in mind that whenever you’ree making predictions while reading a story, ensure that whatever your prediction may be, it is either based on evidence from within the text itself, on the information in the text, or on general information you’ve gained from reading literature and general knowledge of literature.

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