How to Summarize an Article?

By summarizing we mean rewriting an article in a precise way without losing any important information. You must understand its main idea first before you start summarizing. It is surely an exercise that improves your analytical and writing ability. Also, it makes you good at reading loads of content and shrinking it down. 

Who do you write Summaries for?

Your boss can ask you to summarize an article, so he/she doesn't have to read the whole thing. Not only it saves time but it also helps in focusing on the main point. Besides, professors may also ask their students to summarize to ensure they have read between the lines and fully understood the content. 

Steps for Making a Summary

1) Skim through the article and try to extract its main idea. Find out the message that the author wants to convey to the readers. 

2) Once you have done that look for the supporting arguments. Highlight the figures/dates/amounts or any other factual information that you find vital. 

3) Write an outline for the summary that contains the main idea, its supporting arguments and the conclusion drawn by the author.

You have to use your own words. Don't copy the exact phrases from the original article or it will fall into plagiarism. However, in case of a quotation, you can copy the exact phrase/sentence enclosed with double quotation marks. 

4) Re-read the article multiple times for better understanding and to see if you missed any important point. Edit your outline accordingly if you find something new. 

5) Now you have the outline ready, you can start writing the summary.

6) Start with an introduction that includes the main idea or statement. You may begin with "Writer says in the article that....""Author states in his writing that......", or you can use the author name "Smith claims that...." etc.

7) Support the main statement with the arguments originally given by the author. Plus, remove all the unnecessary details as you write. 

You can't add anything from your side. Only write what the writer had mentioned in his article even if you don't agree with it.

8) Close it with a conclusion originally given in the article but write it in your own words. 

9) Congrats!!! You have summarized the article. But you must keep the following points in mind when summarizing. 

Important Points

1. Use your own wording
2. Don't add anything extra from your side
3. Mention what the writer has written even if you don't agree with it.
4. Avoid unnecessary details.
5. Make sure you don't skip any vital information. 
6. The ideal length of a summary is 1/3 of the original article. 

Summary Example

"The author believes it is important to know where and how to ask for help as a writer. Such as getting your manuscript reviewed or content proofread by someone else. Because we all have certain limits and to go beyond we should ask someone else for the input. In the beginning, she herself was hesitant to do so considering it equivalent to accepting defeat. But this is not true, instead, it is calling for a backup. Don't be afraid to call for help even if you are an editor yourself. To do so, you may join any workshop or writers group, and ask fellow writers, teacher or professional editors to help out. "

Summarized from 564 words to 112

You can find the detailed post at A Skill Every Writer Should Have and Why

You see how I just focused on the main point and the necessary details only. Also, I did not add anything from my own side.  

You will find it difficult to summarize in the beginning. But with time and practice, you will get better. Also, if you need any help with summary writing you can always message me. 

Don't forget to share this post with your friends or classmates :)


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