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Writing a Summary

What is a summary?

A summary is a brief statement, an abridgment, or a condensation, of an author's writing.

An effective summary has these qualities:

1. It is significantly shorter than the original essay.

2. It states the essay's thesis and only the main points.

3. It conveys the author's ideas accurately and does not reflect the views of the writer of the summary.

4. It is written entirely in the words of the summarizer and does not use the words of the original author.


How do I write a response?

Follow these steps to write a personal response:

1. Read the essay carefully. Note the key statements that seem to summarize the main points of the essay. Re-read confusing passages, and look up words you do not understand.

2. Determine the thesis (main idea) of the essay. If the author states the thesis directly, note the sentence or sentences.

3. Practice summarizing the essay. For example, explain the gist of the article to a friend; explain it as briefly yet completely as possible.

4. Begin writing your summary in your own words. First summarize the main idea of the essay; then summarize each of the main points. (Even if a main point is repeated in the essay, you only need to summarize it once.)

5. Rewrite. Make sure that your summary states the essay's thesis and contains all of its main points, but make sure that it does not contain any repetitions or unnecessary information. Make sure your summary reads smoothly and coherently.

6. Mention the author and title of the work at some point near the beginning of the summary.









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