How to write a good summary

The tutor, Akeem Lasisi

Akeem Lasisi

In English Language, summary writing is the technical way of bringing out the main points in a passage. The target is to reduce the length of what a writer has presented without altering or destroying its essence. Besides, the summary must not only represent what is in the passage, it should also be devoid of the opinion of the summary writer. This is the major difference between an essay and a summary: in essay writing, the writer’s idea, experience, knowledge and opinion count. But in summary writing, they are not allowed.

There are two major ways a text can be summarised, or that a student or candidate can be required to summarise the work. In the first instance, a whole passage can be summarised into a specified version or length. Secondly, you can be asked to summarise particular aspects of the passage in a given number of sentences.
1. When answering questions on a summary passage, do not include your opinion. Remember: this is not essay wring. All you are required to do is to summarise what the writer of the passage has already said. You should also not include any personal interpretation or evaluation.

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2. To make your sentences short, leave out examples cited by the writer, as well as other unimportant facts given. Also, leave out illustrations, idioms, parables and other figurative expressions which the writer may have used in the passage in order to make his subject matter better understood.
3. Do not write more than the number of sentences the examiner demands you supply. At the same time, your sentences should not be less down the number required. If you disobey this rule, you will be penalised, meaning that you will carelessly lose marks.

4. Write out your answers in clear, complete but crisp sentences – not subordinate clauses, and not phrases. So, if you do not know the difference between a SENTENCE and a phrase, you had better go and read them up in good grammar books, or you contact an expert accordingly.

5. Although some experts have suggested that you should present your answer in the historical present tense, the tense you will use will depend on the question and the tense used to present the information in the passage. It also depends on the tense used to ask the questions.
6. Before you finally submit, read the answers you have supplied to detect any grammatical errors you might have committed. You can also quickly read the questions again, and correlate each with the relevant answer.

Watch this short video on how you mispronounce ‘pizza’:

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