First, let’s define the concept of summary itself in order to understand the difference between it and other kinds of written works. So, the summary is a key point of the text; it is not just the presentation of the author’s thoughts in one’s own words, but also the highlighting of only the essential basic thoughts of the text.
There are several main characteristics of a good summary:
- It must accurately and adequately convey the content of the original text.
- It should be brief and contain only the most important information.
- Repetitions, detailed descriptions, and examples should be avoided.
- After reading the summary, a person unfamiliar with the original should understand the basic idea of the original text.
- Full text of the original is not allowed.
- If possible, it should be written in the present tense.
- Do not use personal pronouns to avoid confusion.
- The summary should not exceed 1/3 or 1/4 of the original.
- It should not contain the phrases that could be interpreted ambiguously.
- It is possible to change the order of sentences, thoughts, structure of the original text in order to make the summary more understandable and logical.
- Direct speech needs to be altered into an indirect speech.
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- First, you need to read the headings and subtitles of the text, pay attention to the words appear in italics or in bold. It is necessary to have a very clear idea of their meaning.
- Then we quickly glance through the text to get a general idea, the author’s language, and the purpose of writing.
- The next step, of course, is to read the entire article, paying attention to incomprehensible words and phrases. It is necessary to highlight the main idea of the text. So you need to find in the text a sentence or paragraph that reflects it. If possible, print a copy of the article and highlight the main idea with a pencil or colored pen. This will help to exclude unnecessary detail of the text in the future. In addition, find keywords in the text.
- It is also necessary to highlight the basic idea of each paragraph. It is very effective in each paragraph to choose one sentence which fully reflects its main topic.
- The simplest strategy is to start a summary with one sentence which would conclude the entire text. Then the summary should be written for each paragraph. Here you need be as brief and clear as possible. The content of the paragraph must be summed up in one sentence!
- In addition to the main idea of the whole text in the first sentence, it is necessary to indicate the author and the title of the article. Then we give a brief summary of each paragraph. It is important to say that the order of paragraphs can be changed. Although, each sentence must follow the previous one logically. At the end of the summary, you should make a conclusion.
- Now reread the finished draft and add introductory words and phrases to make a logical transition from one thought to another. It is necessary to make sure that the boundaries between the author’s thoughts are smooth. Do not forget that summary should give a person who is unfamiliar with this article, a general idea of its subject. Your potential reader will have to decide whether he or she will like to read the entire article. Your goal is to make a person be interested in it, so the summary language should be diverse, vivid, and clear.
- After proofreading the completed summary, correct grammatical, spelling and stylistic errors.
- Usually, the personal opinion in the summary does not need to be included.