Comprehensive Guide on How to Write a Summary with Examples

how to write a summary

You will be asked to write a summary or to summarize an article etc., during your high school or college grades. Many students find it easy but many of them are not familiar with the term summarization.

A summary is an overview or description of an article, book, chapter, or any long-form content that you are reading. You have to state what happened in the text according to your understanding.

If you also want to know how to write a summary then stay tuned! In this blog, we will explain from the definition of summary to its written examples for your better understanding.

Keep reading!

What is a Summary?


summary is a short overview or brief description of a piece of literature. It is written to help the reader understand the main point of a text provided for summarization.

Summarizing a text means providing the main thematic text in your own words. You are given a long-form text it could be a book, chapter, email, or an article. And you have to explain what the reader wants to say in this text according to your understanding.

Remember a summary is always shorter than the origins text. It is not much detailed but it includes all the necessary detail of the original source. You have to include all the necessary points without copying them so you have to write them in your own voice.

Purpose of Writing a Summary

The purpose of a summary is to provide a synopsis or an overview of a text without inserting individual opinions or any biased comments.

A summary can be in the form of a short description, synopsis, or abstract. It is a short story of a text provided for summarization. It is written for the reader to get a quick idea of the text. So that a reader knows going through the whole text could be beneficial for him or not.

When to Summarize the Text?

Now the question is when do you need to summarize the content? There can be several reasons for summarizing the content. For example, you can summarize the text if you want to break down the main points of an assignment, or you want to pick the main points for your test. You can also summarize the literature review of some authors' work to fit into your essay.

These are some of the reasons why one should summarize the content. However, in order to craft the best summary, you need to have some specific writing skills.

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Qualities of a Good Summary

The major qualities that make your summary stand alone are as follows:

  • Comprehensive: A summary should be a shorter and more concise version of the original text. But it should include all the main points of a text so the reader gets the idea of the text quickly.
  • Concise: Repetition is highly prohibited in summary. Never repeat the words or the idea in a summary. It should be shorter and contain to-the-point information.
  • Coherent: apart from repetition, make sure that your summary has coherence and unity. This makes your summary interesting to read and also makes sense of what you are writing.
  • Independent: You cannot copy the authors' words. You have to write a summary in your own words making it stand alone.

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How to Write a Summary - Format

Long summary has any sections and paragraphs in it. Whereas, a short summary may be of a single paragraph. No matter if it is a short summary or a long one it must contain the following sections:

  1. Introductory sentence
  2. Supporting details
  3. Concluding sentence
  4. Citation

Read the PDF document attached for your better understanding.

How to Write a Summary - Format (PDF)

How to Write a Summary - Format

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How to Write a Summary?

How to write a summary of an article?

For writing a perfect summary make sure you understand the original text properly. Only then you can craft a perfect summary and your reader will be able to understand it properly.

Here are 5 steps to craft the best summary on any topic.

  1. 1. Read the Text and Comprehend it!

    It is essential to first read the original text more than once and try to understand the main points in it. For reading properly you must know the three essential stages of reading which are:

    1. a. Scan: Glance at the document quickly and get the idea of what the writer what to say.
    2. b. Read: Highlight the main points as you read the text to remember them.
    3. c. Skim: Go through an article to get its main point.

    Following are some tips that will help you read and understand the content in a better way.

    • The first thing is to read the abstract. As the author has written the main theme of the text in its abstract. So you can easily gather the main points from here.
    • Read the headings and subheadings to make sure what the text is about.
  2. 2. Section the Text Properly

    After reading and understanding the content now you have to divide it into sections. Like research papers have sections eg., introduction, methods, results, and discussion, etc likewise you have to divide. Your summary may not have headings like this but you have to make sections according to its points.

    While reading you can section the content by adding a word or phrase along its margins. So when you are writing the content you can easily remember what point these lines state. Also, it will help you remember the sequence and what were the most important points in a text.

  3. 3. Highlight the Important Points

    To create a successful summary, you need to identify the main points of the article. This includes the conclusion and what we learned from the article. You do not need to include every detail, just these key points. Anything that is not necessary for understanding can be left out.

    When you read an essay, you should be aware of the thesis statement and topic sentences. The thesis statement is usually in the introduction, and it tells you what the author wants you to learn from the essay. The topic sentences are usually in the body paragraphs, and they tell you what each paragraph will be about.

  4. 4. Draft the Summary

    To avoid plagiarism, you should write out your understanding of the key points of an article. Do not copy and paste parts of the article, or even just a sentence or two. If it is needed, you can quote information by putting it in quotation marks and citing the source.

    The best way to write a summary is to read the article and take notes on what you think are its key points.

    To summarize a text, you need to include a citation that tells your reader where the summary came from. The format of your citation will depend on the citation style you are using. In most cases, there will be a citation at the end of your paper and an in-text citation.

    The summary should not be more than one page long. It is shorter than the original text. The length of the summary will depend on how long the original text is.

  5. 5. Cross-Check Your Summary

    Make sure you understand the important information in the article. You should also make sure your sentences are not too similar to the original sentences in the article.

    If you are summarizing many articles, it is a good idea to use a plagiarism checker to make sure that your work is properly cited. This will help you make sure that you don't accidentally copy someone else's work without giving them credit.

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Two Ways of Writing a Summary

Here are two ways of writing a summary of a text. First, one is which focuses more on important points and has a short text. The second keeps the same content and only includes the main points.

Following are the two types of writing a summary depending on the length of the text.

  1. 1. Writing a Summary for Short Text

    Text which has 10 pages or fewer comes in a short text. It can be summarized according to the following

    • Summarize every paragraph of the text.
    • Try to sum up the whole text in a single sentence.
    • Put these sentences together to form a paragraph.
    • Make sure to write a clear and concise paragraph that has all the important points and no mistakes.
  2. 2. Writing a Summary for a Long Text

    Text which is longer than 10 pages requires a more comprehensive summary. Follow the following guidelines to write a summary for long text.

    • Create an outline first. For the outlining group the main points, you find in each paragraph.
    • Now write one or two sentences for each paragraph you have selected.
    • Then combine all the sentences and make sure you have not missed any important detail.
    • Organize the sentences in a paragraph or two but make sure your final summary is clear and concise. It must be complete and coherent too.

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How to Write a Summary - Examples

Here are some examples of summary writing for your consideration.

How to Write a Resume Summary (PDF)

How to Write a Resume Summary

How to Write a LinkedIn Summary (PDF)

How to Write a LinkedIn Summary

How to Write a Summary of a Chapter (PDF)

How to Write a Summary of a Chapter

How to Write a Summary of an Article (PDF)

How to Write a Summary of an Article

How to Write a Summary of a Research Paper (PDF)

How to Write a Summary of a Research Paper

How to Write a Summary of a Story (PDF)

How to Write a Summary of a Story

How to Write a Summary of a Book (PDF)

How to Write a Summary of a Book

How to Write a Summary of a Paragraph (PDF)

How to Write a Summary of a Paragraph

How to Write a Summary of a Poem (PDF)

How to Write a Summary of a Poem

Summarizing is important and here you have learned five steps to help you write good summaries. You also learned two different ways to approach the task.

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