How to Write a Summary?

In this post, we’ll walk you through how to write a summary in 8 easy steps.

The summary is a brief account of the main points of a passage. There is a major difference between the summary and the precis or the substance. The precis is the central idea of a passage.

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The distinction is not only in degree but also in kind. There is no hard and fast rule regarding the length of the summary, but it should be at least half the length of the original paragraph.

How to Write a Summary?

How to Write a Summary?

Step 1: First read the passage thoroughly in order to grasp its meaning and get hold of its chief points. One reading doesn’t enable you to understand its meaning, read it again. You needn’t mind if you come across unknown words. Try to assess their meaning from the context.

Step 2: After you grasp the meaning, underline the main points in the body paragraph.

Step 3: Be as specific as possible in your own words.

Step 4: Be precise in simple and direct language. Avoid quotations, figurative or poetic, exclamatory and interrogative expressions.

Step 5: Write the summary in indirect narration.

Step 6: Do not use the second person. Write the summary in the third person. In special cases (such as general statements, advice, instructions, etc.) the first-person plural can be used.

Step 7: Follow the original tense, especially where the passage relates to general statements.

Step 8: Revise it thoroughly, after you finish writing. Try to check if there are any grammatical or other mistakes.

DOs & DON’Ts of Summary Writing

DOs of Summary Writing

  • Read the passage carefully; more than once if needed.
  • Make a note of the important points.
  • Make at least two drafts—a rough one and a fair one.
  • The rough draft has the essence of the original passage.
  • The fair draft is a good summary of the main points from the rough draft.

DON’Ts of Summary Writing

  • Express your own opinion.
  • Use a question in the Summary.
  • Use abbreviations or contractions.

Summary Example

When we survey our lives and efforts, we soon observe that almost the whole of our actions and desires are bound up with the existence of other human beings. We notice that whole of nature resembles that of the social animals. We eat food that others have produced, wear clothes that others have made, and live in houses that others have built. The greater part of our knowledge and beliefs has been passed on to us by other people through the medium of a language that others have created. Without language and mental capacities, we would have been poor indeed comparable to higher animals.

We have therefore to admit that we owe our principal knowledge over the least to the fact of living in human society. The individual if left alone from birth would remain primitive and beast-like in his thoughts and feelings to a degree that we can hardly imagine. The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has not much in virtue of individuality, but rather as a member of a great human community, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to the grave. (193 words)

Rough Draft

  • Humans are social animals.
  • They depend on each other for necessities and social needs.
  • Humans use language to communicate with each other and further their mental development.
  • Humans are superior to animals as they live in societies that guide their material and spiritual existence.

Title: Man and society

Summary: Human beings have their actions and desires bound up with society as they are social animals. They depend on each other for food and clothes and share their knowledge and beliefs, and use language created by others to communicate, which helps in their mental development. They are superior to beasts because they live in human society. An individual left alone since birth would grow utterly beast-like. Human society guides man’s material and spiritual existence. (76 words)

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