.jpgContents1. Definition

  • 1.1 What is a summary?
  • 1.2 Summary& Retelling
  • 1.3 Summary& Review
2. How to write a good article summary?

  • 2.1 General process
  • 2.2 Some extra tips
  • 2.3 Examples
3. Exercise4. References and external links

What is a summary?A summary is a shortened version of the original.(1) The original can be a longer piece of writing such as a story, a newspaper article or even a whole book. It can also be something that you have heard or seen, such as a lecture, a piece of news or a movie.(8) Summarizing is a process of rewriting. A good summary conveys the main ideas of the original as well in a much briefer way. It can help readers to get the gists in a short period of time.(1)(4)

Summary & RetellingSummarizing and retelling are closely related and the ability to summarize depends on some level of the skill of retelling. But a retelling is long and full of details. It is orally restating what is remembered from the text. There can be a detailed account of background, statistics and specific points. In contrast, a summary is a belief account of just the main ideas and essential points. It is much shorter in length. (10) (12)Example:
A plot summary:"It's a love story based in a New York hospital. A middle-aged doctor meets a nurse who …."
A retelling:"It's a love story based in a New York hospital. It's the biggest hospital in the city with over 50 doctors, 17 nurses, and about 200 beds, but even so there usually aren't enough doctors to deal with all the cases. Anyway, one day, a 57 year old surgeon…" ( http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Maggs-VideoSummary.html)
Summary & Review
Summary and review are closely related. However, a summary is an account of the original author's ideas and you cannot add your own points of views. But writing a review is a process of analyzing. It is not only an account of other people's ideas, but also an expression of your own opinions. (11)Example:
A summary:"According to Dr Resende, language is a system of sounds and letters..." A review :"… The lecture was so interesting. I appreciate Dr Resende's points on…", "I disagree with Dr Resende's opinions on..."

How to write a good article summary?
A good article summary needs careful reading and reflective thinking about the article. The general process, tip and examples of writing article summary listed below can help you become an effective summary writer.General process1. Finding main pointsA good summary comes from a good reading of the article first.(9) So the first step is to read the original article a number of times to develop a clear understanding of the author's main ideas. When you are reading, underline the topic sentences and all the important points, circle key terms.(6) 2. Summarizing main pointsWrite down the thesis statement and main ideas of each section in one well-developed sentence.(3)These will be the outline of your summary. Then check by re-reading the article and revise accordingly.(12)3. Adding necessary supportsOnce you get the basic ideas of the article, it's time to return to the text to find out the most important supports and proofs (quotes, statistics, etc.) the author uses to make his/her point.(12) But it is not always necessary to add supports unless they play an important role in supporting the author's ideas.4. Organizing the summaryThen you can organize your first draft of the summary. You can use the thesis statement as the introductory sentence of your summary, other sentences you have previously written can make up the body. (2)(5)5. Checking and revisingAfter your summary is organized, double check it for the following characteristics of a good summary: (9)- No key ideas are omitted- No new ideas are introduced - No personal ideas of the summarizer are included - The original author's point of view is maintained - They are your own words, not the original writer's
Some extra tips:1. Use your own words.The summary should be expressed in your own words. It's not enough to merely copy out parts of the original.(4)2. State exactly the main ideas. Deciding on the main point of a piece of writing can be difficult, especially when the author doesn't make the thesis stand out clearly. You can put sub-points together on your own or summarize information in a different order than it is presented in the original article. (9)(12)
3. No need to conclude.A summary does not need a conclusion, but if the original ends with a message to the reader this should not be left out.(8)4. Cite the author and title. In order to make clear who originally wrote the information, it is a good idea to begin your summary with the author's name and the title of the writing. You can introduce the author and title in any of several ways:(12)- According to author Jean Beauchamp in "The IBC of Writing" . . . (go on to main point).

- Jean Beauchamp, an expert in essay writing, in "The IBC of Writing" describes . . . (go on to main point).
- The IBC structure of essay writing is the main writing technique Jean Beauchamp provides for his readers ..."
Even if you don't know the author, be sure to note the title at the beginning of your summary.
5. Be objective. Summaries should not include your own opinions at all, not even in the smallest phrases or through biased word choices. Because we often use value-laden words without realizing it, we can easily misrepresent an author's view or color it with our own opinions.(12)(13)Examples:
Non-objective summary: "Not surprisingly, the students did not like the test, for it showed their ignorance in a broad spectrum of topics.Objective summary:"The article reveals his opinion that students do not ask pertinent questions in an attempt to keep their ignorance concealed." (http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/documents/standsum/com6a1.cfm)Both writers are summarizing the opinion of the author, but the first example does not attribute the thought to the author of the article.

Examples Example I ( summary of one paragraph): Original text:
Have you ever watched a clumsy man hammering a nail into a box? He hits it first to one side, then to another, perhaps knocking it over completely, so that in the end he only gets half of it into the wood. A skilful carpenter, on the other hand, will drive home the nail with a few firm, deft blws, hitting it each time squarely on the head. So with language; the good craftsman will choose words that drive home his point firmly and exactly. A word that is more or less right, a loose phrase, an ambiguous expression, a vague adjective, will not satisfy a writer who aims at clean English. He will try always to get the word that is completely right for his purpose. (from Hit the Nail on the Head by Alan Warner) Summary: You should choose the right word for your purpose just like hammering a nail on its head.
Example II: ( summary of a short article)
Original text: (http://www.englishdaily626.com/summary.php?005)
Communication is part of our everyday life. We greet one another, smile or frown, depending on our moods. Animals too, communicate, much to our surprise. Just like us, interaction among animals can be both verbal or non-verbal.
Singing is one way in which animals can interact with one another. Male blackbirds often use their melodious songs to catch the attention of the females. These songs are usually rich in notes variation, encoding various kinds of messages. Songs are also used to warn and keep off other blackbirds from their territory, usually a place where they dwell and reproduce.
Large mammals in the oceans sing too, according to adventurous sailors. Enormous whales groan and grunt while smaller dolphins and porpoises produce pings, whistles and clicks. These sounds are surprisingly received by other mates as far as several hundred kilometers away.
Besides singing, body language also forms a large part of animals' communication tactics. Dominant hyenas exhibit their power by raising the fur hackles on their necks and shoulders, while the submissive ones normally "surrender" to the powerful parties by crouching their heads low and curling their lips a little, revealing their teeth in friendly smiles.
Colors, which are most conspicuously found on animals are also important means of interaction among animals. Male birds of paradise, which have the most gaudycolored feathers often hang themselves upside down from branches, among fluffing plumes, displaying proudly their feathers, attracting the opposite sex.
The alternating black and white striped coats of zebras have their roles to play too. Each zebra is born with a unique set of stripes which enables its mates to recognize them. When grazing safely, their stripes are all lined up neatly so that none of them loses track of their friends. However, when danger such as a hungry lion approaches, the zebras would dart out in various directions, making it difficult for the lion to choose his target.
Insects such as the wasps, armed with poisonous bites or stings, normally have brightly painted bodies to remind other predators of their power. Hoverflies and other harmless insects also make use of this fact and colored their bodies brightly in attempts to fool their predators into thinking that they are as dangerous and harmful as the wasps too.
Animals make use of various kinds of communicative methods. Male blackbirds sing to attract female ones and also to keep other blackbirds off their dwellings. Mammals in the oceans like whales, 'sing' to interact with their mates far away too. Dominating hyenas raise their fur hackles in attempts to exhibit power while submissive ones crouch their heads and 'smile' to express respects. Birds of paradise attract female partners by displaying their colorful feathers while the stripes of zebras not only enable them to recognize each other, but also divert the predator's attention in times of danger. Finally, dangerous wasps are brightly colored to warn off others while some harmless ones try to fool their predators by using the same principle.

For more examples: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~jewel001/CollegeWriting/WRITEREAD/Summary/samples.htmhttp://www.caribexams.org/node/842


Original text:
At a typical football match we are likely to see players committing deliberate fouls, often behind the referee's back. They might try to take a throw-in or a free kick from an incorrect but more advantageous positions in defiance of the clearly stated rules of the game. They sometimes challenge the rulings of the referee or linesmen in an offensive way which often deserves exemplary punishment or even sending off. No wonder spectators fight amongst themselves, damage stadiums, or take the law into their own hands by invading the pitch in the hope of affecting the outcome of the match.

Suggested summary:
Unsportsmanklike behaviour by footballers may cause hooliganism among spectators. [9 words]

Recommanded websites for more summary exercises:http://www.caribexams.org/node/842http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzone/410/reading/http://www.smspp-englishpanel.net/index.php/summary/90-summary-writing-practice

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summary
2. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ssw/write/handouts/summary.html
3. http://www.library.dmu.ac.uk/Support/Heat/index.php?page=489
4. http://www.mantex.co.uk/2009/09/16/how-to-summarize/
5. http://www.enotes.com/topics/how-write-summary
6. http://www.class.uidaho.edu/adv_tech_wrt/resources/general/how_to_summarize.htm
7. http://www.caribexams.org/node/842
8. http://web.hc.keio.ac.jp/~hjb/How%20to%20write%20a%20summary.html
9. http://legacy.bluegrass.kctcs.edu/LCC/HIS/summary.html
10. http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Maggs-VideoSummary.html
11. http://www.asdk12.org/middlelink/HighFive/SumItUp/Improve_Summaries.pdf
12. http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/documents/standsum
13. http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/summary.html
14. Maureen Auman, Practical Writing Series
15. Emily Kissner,Summarizing,Paraphrasing,and Retelling Skills for Better Reading,Writing, and Test Taking

External links:
1. http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/documents/execsum/ 2. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_summary |about writing executive summary3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:How_to_write_a_plot_summaryabout writing plot summary4. http://facstaff.uww.edu/nguyenh/publications/CounterTerrorism.pdf"What makes a good summary?"5. http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Greaney-Writing.html"Less is more: summary writing and sentence structure in the advanced ESL classroom"
6. http://www.buowl.boun.edu.tr/students/summarizing/summarizing.htm
about Cornell method of summaring