What Is A Summary

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A summary is where you take what is written or said, and condense it down to its main points, in essence giving the main idea without going into as much length or detail.  Summaries tend to be about one-third the length of the original material.  So, for example, if you have three paragraphs describing the pros and cons of technology in today's schools, your summary would be about one paragraph.  You need to, in a summary, focus on the main points, and leave out supporting details and facts that add extra length.  It gives the main gist of the passage, and conveys the message in a much more concise way, often simlifying it to make it more understandable.

So, for example, take the following paragraph, that I have taken from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart":

"TRUE!—NERVOUS—VERY, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story."

This is the opening paragraph of the story.  To summarize it, you would give the main gist of what the narrator is saying, in a much more condensed form.  So, for example, "In the opening of the story, the narrator asserts that he is not mad or crazy, but that it was his sharp hearing that caused him to hear things much more loudly than normal that made him act strangely."  In my summary, I have condensed the narrator's meaning, put it in simpler, easier-to-understand words, and made it much more accessible and easy to read in a quicker way.

I hope that those thoughts helped a bit--good luck!

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ldog | Student, Grade 5 | eNotes Newbie

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Summarizing is telling a story in a short way. I use the, "Who, Where, Wanted But, Why, So," method. in this method you tell who was the character is, where they are, what they wanted, why they couldn't do it, and what they did instead. this works well for almost every summary. Sorry I don't have an example! Try doing this trick on your own.

Have fun!

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ldog | Student, Grade 5 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hi! lDog here. I forgot to say. I got this info from my fourth grade teacher. If you are looking for creditable sources this is one.

ldog's profile pic

ldog | Student, Grade 5 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Summarizing is telling a story in a short way. I use the, "Who, Where, Wanted But, Why, So," method. in this method you tell who was the character is, where they are, what they wanted, why they couldn't do it, and what they did instead. this works well for almost every summary. Sorry I don't have an example! Try doing this trick on your own.

Have fun!

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taangerine | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

A summary is are the highlights of an article of reading. After reading a section, the main idea of the section are composed into a summary. A summary is supposed to give you an insight of the article of reading is about, but not tell you what the entire book is about. 

crystaltu001's profile pic

crystaltu001 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

A summary is a short way of explaining what you have read. But inside a summary all you have to do is state the main points or the main ideas of the written text or the story.

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kevin0001 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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A summary is a short paragraph or a verbal statement that tells all the main ideas of a conversation or subject. A summary does not contain any details but only the high lights and the main events. An example would be : I had a fun day today! In this example, I don't tell people why it was fun, I just told them the summary of my day and didn't get into a lot of details. 

maria-vivanco's profile pic

maria-vivanco | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Summarizing is when you take all the main points and condense what you have read. You don't write word for word of from the passage or all the events. Summarizing includes taking all the main points that are vital to the plot.

hermionegranger's profile pic

hermionegranger | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

a summary is like taking a big harry potter book and writing all the important stuff from it, like the big idea into a page of writing. if its a page you are going to summarize, summarize into a paragraph. and if you are summarizing a paragrah, like with unneeding details and such, summarize it into a sentence.a summary is brief and clear, i guess :)

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