Have you ever read the summary of a book, instead of actually reading the whole thing? It is a useful tool to grasp all the information in a time-saving manner. Let us learn how to write an effective summary of any given work.

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A summary is a brief write up that sums up the whole story or book. This brief account will summarize all the main points of the essay or story. The summary will inform the reader of all the main points and the overriding theme of the larger piece of work.

The point of a summary is to save the reader some valuable time. It will still relay all the important information of the original work but is much shorter.


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How to Write a Summary

1] Read the Literature Carefully

The best way to summarize a work is to be very well versed with the piece. So it must read carefully and thoroughly. It might need more than one reading to be thorough with the whole book or story.

2] Make Notes

After you have read the piece, you can jot down the main points. It is here you must be careful not to focus too much on the details, but only write down what is of essential importance to the story, i.e. only the major plots. There is no need to be too detailed since it is not the point.

3] Begin Writing from Memory

Once you have the points noted down, begin expanding on those points. It is best that at this stage you write from your memory of the work. This will ensure that you are using your own words instead of just repeating what the original author of the work had written.

There may be a point, where you feel it is essential to use the actual words from the original work. Then you must do so, but those words should be put in quotation marks, to make sure the reader is aware of their source.

4] Do Not Give Personal Opinions

The point of is simply to summarize the original literature. We must not inadvertently review the work. The summary must only represent the thoughts and the works of the author. There is no need to give your own personal opinion about the writing, or your interpretation of the story. We do not critique the work, we simply summarize it.

5] Review

Finally, we will read and review our summary and edit it to make it more refined. While you are doing the final edit of the summary, there are a few notes you may keep in mind, to make the summary more organized and brief.

  • Make sure if it is a story, then the summary is in the correct chronological order. Messing up the flow of the story in the summary will confuse the reader.
  • Another point to keep in mind is that there should be no repeating information. The whole point of the summary is to be brief and to the point. So eliminate any information you may have repeated.
  • Check the summary for its length. It cannot be too long, which defeats the purpose of writing a summary. But also it cannot be too brief with some important points missing.
  • Finally, we check for grammatical or spelling errors.

Solved Questions for You

Q: Choose the option that best summarizes the following:
In a very happy mood, he read the letter in which it was stated that he had been accepted into the university.

  1. In a very happy state, he read his university acceptance letter
  2. He was in a happy state when he was reading the acceptance letter from the university
  3. He was happy when the letter came
  4. Happily, he read his university acceptance letter.

Ans: the correct option is “D”. It perfectly summarizes the text, gives all the important details and is brief and to the point.

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