Summaries– What are they?

Summaries– What are they?
Definition: a brief restatement in your own words of a text’s main ideas (Holt Handbook, 5th edition); a condensation of an extended idea or argument into a sentence or more in your own words” (Little, Brown Handbook, 5th edition).

Summaries identify the source of original text.
Summaries demonstrate your understanding of a text’s subject matter.
Summaries are shorter (at least 60% shorter) than the original text–they omit the original text’s examples, asides, analogies, and rhetorical strategies: (Holt Handbook, 5th edition).
Summaries differ from paraphrases–paraphrases more closely follow the original text’s presentation (they still use your words, but they are longer than summaries).
Summaries focus exclusively on the presentation of the writer’s main ideas–they do not include your interpretations or opinions.
Summaries normally are written in your own words–they do not contain extended quotes or paraphrases.
Summaries rely on the use of standard signal phrases (“According to the author…”; “The author believes…”; etc.).

Tips on Writing Summaries
Step One (Prewriting): Read the article quickly. Try to get a sense of the article’s general focus and content.
Step Two (Drafting): Restate the article’s thesis simply and in your own words. Restate each paragraph’s topic simply and in your own words.
Step Three (Revising): Combine sentences in Step Two to form your summary; Organize your summary sentences in the same order as the main ideas in the original text. Edit very carefully for neatness and correctness.