Write a Summary
Edited by Nate Pepperell, Eulalee, angeline zuhura, Lynn and 5 others
A summary is a condensed overview of a literary work. In a summary, we put the main ideas of a book, article or notes in our own words, in a clear and comprehensive way. It's not a rewrite of the original work. We write summaries to highlight an idea or ideas in the original piece.
- 1Skim through. Skim through the piece you intend to summarize, dividing it into smaller sections.Focus on topics or headings while looking at bold terms in the text. Make sure you fully comprehend the meaning of the work being summarized.Advertisement
- 2Carefully read the piece. The second step is reading the passage keenly.Read the entire piece, and take note of its structure. Identify the purpose of the piece, distinguishing between important and not-so-important points. Outline the piece and jot down major points.Advertisement
- 3Reread and label. Reread the piece asking questions like what, who, when, how and why.Observe the author's paragraphing while underlining each stage of thought. Make a note of the key ideas and facts. Identify areas that you are unable to understand and seek further clarification. You should make sure that you use your own words.
- 4Write one sentence summaries. Since you should now have a firm understanding of the text you intend to summarize, write down the ideas of the sections that you identified earlier in well-structured sentences.Make reference to the central and basic ideas of the original passage. This will be the draft for your piece.
- 5Write a thesis. This is the key to a perfect, easy-to-understand and well-structured summary.Revisit the sentences you wrote in the fourth stage, expressing the basic ideas you read. Remember to always paraphrase your summary. In cases where you have to write a phrase from the original work, ensure that it's a crucial and necessary phrase that can't be paraphrased or that it cannot be paraphrased without distorting its meaning.
- 6First draft of your summary. It contains a combination of the thesis and the summarized sentences in steps 4 and 5.Disregard minor and less important details in the passage, making your summary as brief as possible and straight to the point. Do not, under any circumstance, write your personal views or opinions on the issue at hand. If you have to do this, write it in a separate paragraph from your summary.
- 7Compare your summary to the original piece. This is to ascertain that you have represented the author's point of view and not your own opinions.Make the necessary adjustments to your summary for the sake of accuracy. Make sure you also cite anything which was directly quoted from the author.
- 8Revision. Now that you are confident your work is accurate, you are required to check for correct grammar, punctuation, spellings and writing style.Where necessary, combine your sentences to create a smooth comprehensible flow of ideas. Insert words or phrases to improve coherence. You should be able to understand the original piece based entirely on your summary.Advertisement
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.