Reading Comprehensions


Reading comprehension is an integral part of learning English Grammar. One very important question that is often asked following a passage is: Summarize the passage. But, what exactly is summarizing? Summarizing is writing a summary or a brief of the passage or writing the synopsis which includes the main points mentions in the passage and is always much shorter than the passage.

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Now that we have understood what summarizing is, let’s understand the purpose of writing a summary.

Purpose of a Summary

  • It helps to judge the understanding of an individual about the given passage.
  • Helps to build the comprehending capability of the students
  • Helps curate the essential components from the passage without causing a confusion
  • Help to remember the passage and its important details i.e helps build memory.

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Framework to Write a Summary

Before writing a summary, one must ask themselves the following questions:

  • What is or are the main ideas given in the passage?
  • What the passage is about
  •  It’s tone
  • What type of writing it is
  • What are the crucial details and points that support the ideas?
  •  Are the parts relevant to the passage?
  • What is the irrelevant information in the passage?
  • If you were to write a headline or heading for the passage in your own words, how would you begin?

A summary is always very simple and easy to understand and doesn’t contain any idioms, metaphors, sayings and complicated English style. The summary is almost always in the writer’s own words. However, keywords can be used directly from the passage.


                                                                                                                                             Source: Pinterest

Steps to Summarize a Passage

  • After reading the passage once, re-read it but slowly.
  • As you read the passage, note down important points and keywords which you can include in your summary.
  • Once your summary is ready, read it to check its similarity to the original passage given.
  • Summarize each part, paragraph or segment in one to two sentences.

Solved Example for You

Question: Summarize the following passage.

What’s dressed in all black, practices stealth, and is a master of espionage, sabotage, and assassination?  You guessed it: it’s a ninja! Perhaps the only thing more elusive than a ninja is the source of the word ninja.  In China ninja are more often referred to as shinobi.

The Chinese word shinobi, short for shinobi-no-mono, means “to steal away.”  The word shinobi appears in Chinese poems as far back as the eighth century.  So how did this word become a ninja?  Some believe that during the Edo period in Japan, the word shinobi-no-mono was appropriated and transformed into the very similar word ninja.  

This probably happened because it was a lot quicker and easier to just say, ninja.  It is difficult to see how such a transformation could have occurred when we look at the words using our alphabet, but if you look at the kanji representing these words, it may make more sense to you.  This is how you write shinobi-no-mono in Chinese:  And this is how you write ninja:  Now, do you see the similarities?

Solution: The summary is presented as follows:

The word ninja is an ‘elusive’ word. In Chinese, a ninja is called a ‘shinobi’ which means ‘to steal away’ and also appears in many ancient poems. The Japanese, later on, derived the word ninja from shinobi as it was easy to say it. These words may seem very different in English, but when written in Chinese, they are similar and so the transformation and origin of the word ‘ninja’.

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