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Steps to Comprehend and Summarize Text

Last updated date: 27th Feb 2024
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What Do You Mean By A Summary?

Note-taking is an important aspect of academic studies. Whenever you are in the middle of a lecture, you try to grasp whatever concepts the teacher explains. However, is it practically possible to write down all that the teacher has said? The answer is a definite no. The best thing to do here is to take running notes while listening to your teacher. Then you can rewrite these notes in your own words to form a summary that depicts the central idea of the topic. This article covers summary definition and the process of converting a passage to a summary of your own words which will include all the essential points of the original passage.

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What Is The Definition Of Summary?

The definition of the summary is pretty simple as a summary is a shorter version of a larger text expressed in the writer’s own words. There should be no question of plagiarism in summary. It consists of all the essential points from the original passage, essay, or conversation. A good summary ensures that the writer has understood the passage in detail and knows what the essential and non-essential points are.

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Things To Be Remembered While Summarizing A Passage

As per the summary definition, a summary is a short text. Hence, while writing a summary, a few points should always be remembered. Let us take a look at these points.

  • Rewrite the passage in your own words. Do not copy the exact original text.

  • There should be no ambiguousness or vagueness in a summary. It shows that the writer is confused about the topic.

  • It includes all the main points of the original passage and the writer must include as many important points as possible in the summary.

  • Try to avoid the use of any repetitive words or sentences. Do not repeat the same concepts.

  • There should be no personal remarks, criticism, or assumptions in the summary.

  • As the summary definition states, it should be from the source itself.

  • Carefully identified to whom, when, where, why, and what has been written in the original text. Maintain those in your summary too.

  • The length of the summary can be a maximum of one-fourth length of the original passage. It cannot exceed this limit.

  • Each section of the summary should be logically coherent and linked to the rest of the summary. A point should not suddenly be mentioned in the summary such that it seems to have no link with the passage at all.

  • Try to avoid using figures of speech like metaphors, alliterations, oxymorons, or any jargon in your summary.

  • The writing style should be uniform, clear, and crisp. Use short and simple sentences. 

  • You can always conclude with a note of your understanding of the concept, at the end of your summary to reflect the main idea once again.

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Steps For Writing A Summary

Step 1: One should have great reading skills to write a proper summary of a passage. Read the passage at least twice or thrice.

Step 2: Highlight the main and essential points of the passage. Note them separately and maintain the order in which the author has written.

Step 3: Combine all the points and the ideas. Start making the summary after you collect all the main points. The general idea of the original passage should be reflected.

Step 4: Write the first rough draft. Recheck with the original passage and check whether you have missed any points. You can always add or omit pieces of information from your draft.

Step 5: Keep a check on the summary word limit. It should not exceed 25% length of the original passage.

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Solved Examples

Q1·  What is the importance of Summary Writing?

Answer: When a person writes a summary, it improves his or her critical reasoning skills. It helps the writer to understand the topic as a whole. Summary writing is extremely necessary for academics and professional fields to take the notes and make summaries out of it.

Q2·  State the basic characteristics of a Summary.

Answer: Clear objectives and accurate writing characterize a summary. It should be clear and concise, with no vagueness and language errors.

Fun Facts

As per the summary definition, a good summary does not use any figure of speech like metaphors, but it needs to be stuffed with keywords for keeping the main theme of the original text intact. A perfect summary has got no plagiarism and is written in the writer’s original words. It does not have any extra or unnecessary information but should carry the exact objective of every paragraph in the passage.

FAQs on Steps to Comprehend and Summarize Text

1. What are the important techniques of writing a Summary?

Answer: There are mainly three techniques used for writing a summary. Let us take a look at them.

  • Selection of ideas: Select the general idea or theme of the original passage. Make a note of the important terms and keywords. If you use these in summary, then it will help you to reflect on the main idea in your summary.

  • Rejection of ideas: Remove all the unnecessary points from the original passage and retain only the essential points while you write the summary.

  • Substitution of words and sentences: One can combine several sentences into one. You can also use new words and sentences in place of the old and original ones of the passage. It helps in shortening the length of the summary.

2. How do you differentiate between a Summary and a Critique?

Answer: A summary is an unbiased shortened form of any passage or conversation. It gives the main idea of the original passage in your own words. The writer is not supposed to include any criticism or personal opinions about the original text in summary. It does not include too many minor details or quotations. On the other hand, a critique provides an overall judgement on the original passage where you write your own opinion about the author and his writing. A critique is not a review or a summary. Critique is where a reader highlights the arguments present in the text. Hence, a summary and a critique are quite different from each other.