A summary is a condensed version of a larger reading.
The idea behind writing a summary is to save your reader a lengthy reading as only main ideas of the piece are stated; other details that one can do without at the moment of reading are deliberately left out.
Summarising is not re-writing.
Inasmuch as it is not a re-write, paraphrases are often used except in cases where some exact words or phrases of the author will give the summary some weight- and they can’t be paraphrased. In this case, quotation marks are employed.
The following tips will help you get your summary done well:
- The first step is to read and digest general content of article.
- Next step is to do another reading; this time, fishing out the main ideas and understanding them, as one can only successfully paraphrase with an in-depth understanding of the original.
- Now, do your first draft without consulting the original work, after which you make comparisons to make sure no major point is left out.
- It helps to begin by introducing the type of piece, title of piece, the name of author and then the idea or message they are trying to convey. For example, In the novel, or in the article (type), Evil Under the Sun (title), Agatha Christie (author) through the character, Hercule Poirot, explains… (idea).
- Because it is not a rewrite, one should be careful not to introduce their thoughts or opinions in a summary. This is so the main points in the original work are not missed by your reader, and introduced thoughts are not mistaken for that of author.
- The language of your summary should mostly be in the present tense.
- Lastly, what is called ‘summarising language’ is used intermittently. An example, the author is of the opinion that…, the novel depicts…. This serves as a constant reminder to your reader that the piece being read is a summary of another’s work.