Summary Writing Tips and Techniques
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Table of Contents

Time needed: 10 minutes.

What to do in Summary Writing?

  1. Scan for Main Ideas

    Identify the main ideas from a given text.

  2. Skim the Details

    Skip examples and minor details in the original text.

  3. No Repetition

    Recognize repetition to save your time.

  4. Organization

    Organize content logically and put it concisely.

  5. Restate briefly

    Exclude the minor details, opinions, repetitions, and examples.

How to start the summary writing process?

  • 1st, Find, is there an appropriate caption/title or header? Frequently, we use them to highlight the most crucial aspects of a text.
  • 2nd, See, what does the first statement refer to? The key concepts of a text or paragraph are frequently summarized in the very opening phrase.
  • 3rd, Trace, what is the main topic of the text? Examine each sentence and paragraph in sequence.

Steps in writing a summary

  1. First of all, double-underline the main point and write “main point” in the margin next to it.
  2. Underline each major support point. This support may be a sentence or a group of sentences.
      Summary Writing Tips
  3. Next, underline the final observations, recommendations, or conclusions, and write “conclusion” in the margin.
  4. Afterward, you finish reading, write a sentence or two, in your own words, about what is important about the piece.

What is Summary Writing?

Summary writing is a shortened or condensed version of an original text or passage. In your own words, it’s a rather brief restatement. It summarises the primary points and important supporting evidence, reducing the content to its most basic components. Also, we merely reflect back on what the writer has said, without passing judgment on it. It aims to share the main idea by eliminating irrelevant details. Always, maintain the tone of the original piece by avoiding opinions and reported speech. Use present tense when you’re writing your summary. Essentially, you want to be able to filter out information from your general passage to eliminate examples, supporting details, lists, main ideas, and comparisons. At last, you filter all of these from the extended passage through the process of your summary writing. So that you’re left with your relevant details on your main idea.

Characteristics of Summary Writing Skills

  1. Having a topic sentence (in a paragraph) or a thesis statement (in an essay) that states what is the summary and its main idea.
  2. It identifies the major support points.
  3. It includes any final observations or recommendations made in the original piece.
  4. Write in your own words and present information without your opinions.
  5. Make it understable without reference to the original.
  6. Finally, it is a readable unified whole.

Technique of paraphrasing in summary writing

Best Tips of Summary Writing - English Syllabus
Paraphrasing

To paraphrase means to completely and correctly express other people’s ideas in one’s own words.   

Steps of paraphrasing

  1. First, you should read the actual passage thoroughly and try to understand its meaning entirely and accurately.
  2. Consider the original article as a whole, not in isolated sentences.

Recap of Summary Writing Skills

Mainly, start with reading the given instructions because that is going to tell you how long your summary ought to be. And what you’re being asked to summarize. Sometimes, the information to be summarized could only be found in the last two paragraphs of a five-paragraph passage.

Here, I want to encourage you to spend some time twice reading the original text. After all, it can help you to build your vocabulary and enhance your understanding of the information that you’re reading. So, you read the first time for understanding, ask yourself what was the passage about.

Now, if you’re having problems trying to identify what the passage is about, scan the passage to see which topic or which word appears most often. This is likely the topic of the passage after you’ve been able to identify who or what has been spoken of the most.

Then, figure out what’s being said about that topic. Again, read the passage a second time to get the main idea. See, what is the overall point about the topic seeing the big picture as presented in the passage.

Here, avoid irrelevant information. This is usually the elaborating detail that supports the main idea. Exclude the minor details, opinions, repetitions, and examples. If you find dialogue or quotations and statistical data, eliminate them when you’re writing your summary.

It has to be written in complete prose and transition words (Conjunctions). So, create that wholeness to the points that you would have developed. Transition words also make your summary flow smoothly, when you read it.

Lastly, the final version should read like a whole sensible piece of writing, and always remember to check your spelling and grammar.

By ES

English Language Teaching Professional

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