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Tips for Writing a Perfect Summary
One of the most important things that students of English literature must learn is to write a perfect summary. They must be able to reduce a story, paragraph or even the whole novel to a precise, and comprehensive form.
This is something we call summarizing.
We also refer to it as precis writing. In summary or precis writing, the actual length of the text is reduced to almost one-third of the whole.
Summarizing a text doesn’t mean to exclude important events or incidents.
Rather, it means to shorten the text with the inclusion of all that is mandatory to comprehend the overall meaning communicated by the writer.
It is necessary that the summary of a desired text must be precise both in content and length. The economy of words coupled with overall appreciation of the text is the sole requirement of writing a perfect summary.
Though summarizing takes time, but it gives the reader adequate apprehension of the text with accomplished grammatical formation and sound vocabulary. It also also demonstrates your ability to abbreviate the text comprehensively.
Another important point regarding summary writing is to replace the original words of the writer with your own vocabulary. If you use the same words used by the writer, you would probably end up creating the copy of the original text and not the summary at all.
So brevity is not the only demand for summary writing.
The ultimate purpose should be to create a summary that is well-written grammatically, lexically, and as far as the fluency is concerned.
Guidelines for Summarizing the text
The following points will give you guidance while writing the summary of a text:
- Read the given text (passage, paragraph, short story or a novel) very carefully and take notes while you’re reading.
- Highlight or underline all the important things, events, or dialogues.
- Use sticky notes to jot down briefly whatever comes in your mind about the specific passage or chapter etc. Always stick them near the concerned area.
- Always keep a notebook with you while you’re reading any text. It helps you to note down the important themes or symbols that you explore in the course of the novel. You can also write down any thought that comes in your mind regarding the specific theme or symbols.
- If you are reading a story or novel, make a list of all important characters included in that story. Write down their personality traits, goals, and all that is necessary for the understanding of their character.
- Divide the story in three parts: beginning, middle, and an end. Write down all the important events that occurred in the novel under each category. It will help you to maintain the logical sequence of events that took place in the course of the story.
Writing A Summary
- Now make a rough draft of the summary by putting down all that is relevant to the story. This must be in a precise and logical way.
- Your summary should begin with a clear and comprehensive statement as to what follows next.
- It should not contain round-about expressions and loose statements.
- Your summary should not exceed one-third of the total length of the original text.
- You can reduce the number of words in your summary by following ways:
- Eliminate all unnecessary adjectives.
- Exclude all unneeded adverbs.
- Apply one-word substitution.
- Replace unnecessary conjunction with a semicolon.
- You should write the summary of the text as an impartial or neutral reporter of the events. For this you must avoid including your own thoughts or views in the summary.
- Always write the summary of any text in the third person or indirect form of narration.
- While writing a perfect summary, always keep in mind the tone of the writer. Your summary should sound like the original text. If the text’s tone is humorous, your text must echo the same tone.
- After writing the summary, read it thoroughly and carefully. It should contain all the important points of the story.
If you keep in mind all the above-mentioned tips and guidelines, you will surely write a perfect summary. Wish you all the best!
Also read: Tips for Making Good Notes and Benefits of Reading Fiction.
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