How to Write an A + Summary of a Text

1.      A summary begins with an introductory sentence that states the article's title and author.

2.      A summary must contain the main thesis or standpoint of the text, restated in your own words. (To do this, first find the thesis statement in the original text.)

3.      A summary is written in your own words. It contains few or no quotes.

4.      A summary is always shorter than the original text, often about 1/3 as long as the original.  It is the ultimate fat-free writing.  An article or paper may be summarized in a few sentences or a couple of paragraphs. A book may be summarized in an article or a short paper.  A very large book may be summarized in a smaller book.

5.      A summary should contain all the major points of the original text, and should ignore most of the fine details, examples, illustrations or explanations.

6.      The backbone of any summary is formed by crucial details (key names, dates, events, words and numbers). A summary must never rely on vague generalities.

7.      If you quote anything from the original text, even an unusual word or a catchy phrase, you need to put whatever you quote in quotation marks ("").

8.      A summary must contain only the ideas of the original text. Do not insert any of your own opinions, interpretations, deductions or comments into a summary.

9.      A summary, like any other writing, has to have a specific audience and purpose, and you must carefully write it to serve that audience and fulfill that specific purpose.

An effective summary:

         Begins with an introductory sentence that states the article's title and author and restates its thesis or focus.

         Includes all of the article's main points and major supporting details

         Deletes minor and irrelevant details.

         Combines/chunks similar ideas

         Paraphrases accurately and preserves the article's meaning.

         Uses student's own wording and sentence style.

         Uses quotation marks when using phrasing directly from the article or source. 

         Includes only the article's ideas; excludes personal opinion.

         Reflects article's emphasis and purpose. 

         Recognizes article's organization.

         Stays within appropriate length; is shorter than the original.

         Achieves transition through use of author's name and present-tense verb.

         Has few or no mechanical errors. 


Engl 0310 (2006) OW

For educational purposes only.


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