5 Check-points for Writing a Good Summary

Summary means concise but comprehensive. It should cover all the main points while remaining brief and simple. For a summary to be good it should not just satisfy the writer; it must satisfy the reader.

A good summary has the following characteristics:

1. Proper citation. The summary usually begins by citing the title, author, source, and, in the case of a magazine or journal article, the date of publication.

2. Thesis Statement. The overall thesis of the text selection is the author’s central theme. There are several aspects to an effective thesis statement: the topic or general subject matter, and the author’s major assertion. The central theme is summarized clearly and accurately in a one sentence thesis statement. The thesis statement does not contain specific details discussed in the text. The thesis statement is stated at the beginning of the summary.

3. Supporting Ideas: The author supports his/her thesis with supporting ideas. Use the following basic guidelines when summarizing supporting ideas:

• Cover all of the author’s major supporting ideas.
• Show the relationships among these ideas. – Omit specifics, such as illustrations, descriptions, and detailed explanations.
• Indicate the author’s purpose in writing: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. If the passage is a persuasive piece, report the author’s bias or position on the issue.
• Omit all personal opinions, ideas, and inferences. Let the reader know that you are reporting the author’s ideas.

4. Grammar and the Mechanics of Writing: Proper grammar is essential as a writer. It will help you to communicate clearly to your reader. The following are particularly important:

• Restate the ideas in your own words as much as possible.
• Avoid direct quotations.
• Use transitional words for a smooth and logical flow of ideas.
• Edit and re-write your work. – Check your grammar, punctuation, and spelling

5. Length: The length of a summary depends on the original document.

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Source by Garrett Smith

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