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Following a series of experiments on isolated low-rise RC shear walls with openings, atheoretical study on the backbone curve of a perforated shear wall shows that there are some importantobservations from experimental results that make clear a semi-empirical formula of the backbone curve ofa perforated wall. Critical shear zones can be depicted from the configuration of shear walls withopenings. Diferent factors, including the size and location of shear wall openings, the walls height/widthratio, horizontal and vertical steel bar ratios, and location and amount of diagonal steel bars are involvedin the derivation of the backbone curve. Bending and shear effects are also considered in the paper. Inaddition, a comparison of load and displacement for solid and perforated shear walls is discussed.Generally, the comparison between experimental curves and computed backbone curves is favorable.