Summary Essay

The summary essay is a brief account of the chief points of an essay. There’s no hard and fast rule about the length of the summary, but so much can be half of the original essay.

Before summarizing an essay, it is helpful to understand the organization of the essay. A basic essay mainly consists of three parts: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.

Summary Essay

Organization of an Essay


It constitutes the opening paragraph of the essay.

  • It helps the reader get oriented with the topic.
  • It states the purpose of the essay.
  • It captures the interest of the reader.
  • It presents the general idea of the essay.
  • It often ends with the thesis or the main idea of the essay.

Body (Supporting Paragraphs)

They constitute the supporting sentences and ideas.

  • They provide the reader with additional details about the main idea.
  • They support the thesis of the writer.
  • There is no fixed number of supporting paragraphs.
  • Ideally, every supporting paragraph should contain a different idea.


It constitutes the ending paragraph(s) of the essay.

  • It ties up loose ends of the paragraph.
  • It helps in reiterating or highlighting the main idea.
  • It summarises all the arguments.
  • It brings the essay to a logical close.
  • It never ends in detail.

How to Write a Summary Essay?

Step 1: First read the essay thoroughly in order to grasp its meaning and get hold of its chief points. If 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 have grasped the meaning, underline the chief points in the original essay.

Step 3: Give the summary in your own words as far as practicable. The summary must not be a patchwork made up of phrases and sentences quoted from the original.

Step 4: Give the summary in simple and direct language. Avoid figurative or poetic, exclamatory and interrogative expressions, as well as quotations.

Step 5: Write the summary in indirect narration.

Step 6: Write the summary in the third person. Never use the second person. In special cases (i.e. general statements, advice, instructions, etc.) the first person plural (i.e. We) may be used.

Step 7: Follow the tense of the original essay, especially where the essay is concerned with general statements.

Step 8: After you have finished writing the summary, revise it thoroughly. Try to see if any grammatical mistakes have crept into it or whether any essential points have been omitted. See also whether it reads like a connected whole.

Step 9: Don’t add anything which is not in the original essay or don’t make any comments.

Summary Essay Examples

Summary Essay Examples #1

Essay: 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 the whole of nature resembles that of 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)

Summary Essay Examples #2

The study of history depends more than any other branch of science or literature on the availability of a large number of books. The history student nowadays is often discouraged or hampered by the lack of them, especially of those older standard works which have gone out of print. Even before the Second World War publishers were not willing to risk reprinting works often running into several big volumes for which the demand, was uncertain and the cost of production high. During the war air raids destroyed over a million books in one district of London alone, and reduced to ashes the entire stock of one firm which had specialized in historical works.

Since the war paper has been costly and scarce; the costs of printing and binding have risen sharply; and the demand, though greater, is still not large enough to make worthwhile the republication of many books which historians regard as essential. The main reason for this insufficient demand is the disappearance of the private library. Private libraries were common in Victorian Times but they no longer exist in modern small houses where there is no room for bookshelves. (190 Words)

Title: The decline of the Study of History

The study of history, which requires a large number of books, has suffered at present, especially because older standard works are out of print as publishers fear taking risks of reprinting many-volume books. Air raids during the war destroyed the stock of a publisher’s firm specializing in history books. The demand has even lessened in the post-war period with higher production costs and the disappearance of the private libraries-so characteristic of Victorian days. (72 Words)

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