What is a Frame of Reference?

A frame of reference is information that a person already knows that can help the person to better understand something be explained to him or her.Without a frame of reference, it is almost impossible to understand something. We all illustrate our stories with frames of reference without really thinking about it. One would almost never tell a story with the simple line: ‘Some teenagers broke into Yankee Stadium from the 161st Street subway platform.’ One would more likely tell someone, ‘You know how the raised subway platform at 161st Street has that extra gate and steps leading to Yankee Stadium? And you know those ornery teenagers who mess with all the gates around there? Well those kids finally pushed the gates enough to actually loosen them, and brought the one gate down. They went running down the stairs and all through the stadium. It took the cops two hours to find them all and arrest them for trespassing.’