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Communication L3 Summary(1)



? A summary is a short piece of writing that

gives the main facts or ideas of a story or article, etc. It is a condensed or compressed version/a brief restatement of the essential thought of longer writing. It restates all the main points of the longer work in their proper relationship to each other with as few words as possible.

The goal of a summary
? It is to give readers an objective, complete, accurate and

balanced view of something (an article, a story, a novel, a play, etc.).

A summary is a condensed, abridged or shortened version of the original text.


? A summary should be written in one’s own words, and if wording from the original needs to be repeated, this wording should be put within quotation marks. ? Writing an effective summary is not easy. In general, summaries are written in the third person even if the original is written in the first person.

The qualities of a good summary
? It should be objective – the writer does not include any

ideas of his/her own. ? It should be complete – the writer does not leave out important facts or ideas. ? It should be balanced – the writer gives equal attention to each main idea.

In what way is summary important?
? In business environment: ?Employees are often asked to report briefly on the development in their departments.

What we have to do when we are given a piece of writing to


The steps of writing a summary

? 1) Read the article. ? 2) Re-read the article.
? Underline important ideas.

key terms. Find the main point of the article. Circle ? Divide the article into sections or stages of thought, and label each section or stage of thought in the margins. ? Note the main idea of each paragraph if the article is short.

? 3) Write brief summaries of each stage of

thought or if appropriate each paragraph. Use a separate piece of paper for this step. This should be a brief outline of the article.

? 4) Write the main point of the article, using your

own words. This should be a sentence that expresses the central idea of the article as you have determined it from the steps above. ? 5) Write your rough draft of the summary. Combine the information from the first four steps into paragraphs.

? Note: Include all important details.

? ?

Use the author’s key words. Follow the original organization where possible. Include any important data. Include any important conclusions.

? 6) Edit your version. Be concise. Eliminate needless words

and repetitions. Avoid using "the author says...," "the author argues...," etc. ? 7) Compare your version to the original.
★Do not use quotations, but if you use them be sure to quote correctly. Indicate quotations with quotation marks. Cite each quotation correctly (give the page number). ★ Do not plagiarize. Cite any paraphrases by citing the page number the information appears on. Avoid paraphrasing whenever possible. Use your own words to state the ideas presented in the article. (Adapted from Writing Across the Curriculum 4th edition, L. Behrens and L. Rosen, eds., 1991, Harper/Collins, pp. 6-7.)

? In a summary, you should include only the information your readers

need. ? 1) State the main point first. ? 2) Use a lower level of technicality than the authors of the original article use. Do not write a summary your readers cannot understand. ? 3) Make the summary clear and understandable to someone who has not read the original article. Your summary should stand on its own. ? 4) Write a summary rather than a table of contents. ? Wrong: This article covers point X. Then the article covers point Y. ? Right: Glacial advances have been rapid as shown by x, y, and z. ? 5) Add no new data and none of your own ideas. ? 6) Use a simple organization: main points; main results; conclusions/recommendations ? 7) Unless the examples in the article are essential, do not include the examples in your summary. If you include them, remember to explain them.

Quick review

A summary should: ?Identify the main points/ Focus your attention on the main point. Leave out any illustrative examples. ?be approximately 1/3-1/4 the length of the original selection. ?be in your own words. A summary should not: ?include your opinion. ?be what you think the author should have said. ?be copied (plagiarized) material or a series of quotes from the selection.

How to write a summary?


First, read the selection several times to make sure you understand it.


?Second, answer questions about the selection, such as:
1.What is the topic? 2. What is the author saying about the topic? This answer will give you the main idea of the selection. 3.Underline or make a marginal note of the main issues.
4.From your notes write a summary

How to write a summary?
? Third, the first sentence should include the following

? Title of the selection ? Author’s name, if this information is available

? Main idea of the selection


In the article, ”_________________,”(TITLE)____________(AUTHOR’S NAME) (claims/discusses/states) that _____________________________.(MAIN IDEA -- IN YOUR OWN WORDS)

According to __________________________(AUTHOR’S NAME) in his/her article, “_____________________,”(TITLE)____________________________ ______________________.(MAIN IDEA-- IN YOUR OWN WORDS)

‘ 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 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.' [100 words]

How to gather essential facts
? 1) Keep only essential (extremely important and necessary) facts and main actions (the events in a story, film, play, etc.). ? 2) Provide necessary background information (when and where the events happen, who are involved, etc.). ? 3) Leave out unimportant action and descriptions. ? 4) Use indirect speech and straightforward language. ? 5) Arrange the events in a story in chronological order. ? Class practice 1

How to outline (to give the main facts about something) a story
? 1) Divide the story into smaller parts.
? 2) Summarize each part in one sentence. ? 3) Number your sentence summaries to make them an

outline of the story. ? Class practice 2

How to summarize a story in chronological order
? When a story suddenly flashes back to an event that happened in the past, the earlier event is called a flashback. In writing a summary of a story, we generally present the

events in chronological order or chronologically and don’t use flashbacks.

How to open a story summary
? 1) Open the summary with the thesis – the central or what the story

is about. ? 2) Name the story in the opening sentence. ? 3) Provide some background information (setting, general remarks about main characters, etc.).

How to summarize a story that uses narration to describe a person

1) Focus on the main character, mention the opponent (someone whom you try to defeat in a composition, game, fight, or argument) where necessary and ignore other characters that are created to bring out/heighten a contrast with the main character. ? 2) Briefly describe the main character’s appearance and behavior in a shorter and clearer way using straightforward, everyday words and expressions. ? 3) Describe an incident to display the main character’s character and personality. ? 4) Conclude with a remark about what the incident implies ? . Class practice 3



It is a very important part of reading and evaluating complex writing to identify the purpose or aim of the piece at an early stage. It is likely that there will be more than one purpose, although there will probably be a main purpose and one or more subsidiary ones.

The purpose could be one or more of the following: ? to give information ? to persuade people to a point of view ? to give an opinion ? to explain a range of ideas ? to stimulate debate ? to amuse ? to advertise ? to warn ? to invite

? Once you have decide on the purpose, you must back this

up with evidence from the text.

? Many pieces of writing are aimed at a wide, general

readership, others at a particular person or identifiable group of people. There are many possible clues to help you decide whom the writer had in mind. Consider the following list: ? names and addresses( in reports or letters) ? Headlines or titles ? Layout (columns, pictures)

? Statistics (graphs, tables and charts) ? Formal or informal language

? Technical language
? Special interest context (computing, healthy) ? Interviews with experts

? Age group or gender
? Complexity of language

? Style and tone of the writing

Purpose and readership
?what is the aim of the writer:

? to provide facts, to inform? ? give different points of an argument, to analyse, evaluate or persuade? ? who is the intended reader, specialist or general? ? is the language technical or general? ? is the content specialist and complex, or straightforward?


Format and style
? is the text in a recognised business layout and format, e.g. a formal report, minutes or article? ? is it easy for a reader to follow (headings/bullet points/numbering/white space)? ? is it an appropriate business style, e.g. formal/technical language and expression used consistently? ? is it structured in an order that makes sense, has impact and, for longer texts, sums up conclusions?

Evaluate the effectiveness
Could the document be improved? ? Content ? is there enough useful information/advice? ? has anything important been left out, and if so why? ? is it too long? (provide a summary) ? is the text balanced or is it biased? ? could more references, web links/bibliography or addresses have been useful / informative for people wanting to find out more or check on points made? ? Style ? could the text be read by a range of people? ? have complex points been expressed with clarity? ? have they been summarised? ? Layout ? has use been made of white space? ? could a numbering system/more headings/recommendations be useful? ? could supporting graphics, pictures or diagrams be helpful to a reader?


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