One-Paragraph Summary

The purpose for summarizing a passage is to condense information, either to provide an overview for others to read, or for your own research projects.

Organization: In the first sentence include the author’s full name, the title of the article, and the author’s intent for writing the passage. Then organize the main ideas, no details, into a paragraph.  Make sure to use your own words.

Usually a summary is about one-forth to one-third the length of the original work.

NOTE: Summarizing is not to be confused with paraphrasing. When we paraphrase, we take a single idea or concept from a passage. When we summarize, we take the main ideas.

How to write a summary:

  1. First read the passage to get an overview of the author’s main points and how information is organized.
  2. Then read the passage again. This time, underline the main points, and any major details. Do not include any minor details.
  3. Next, using the main points, create an outline in your own words.
  4. Then, write a first draft without looking at the article or text. Your first draft should be approximately one-third the length of the original.
  5. Last, write your final draft.
  6. Like the one-sentence summary, you need to include the author’s full name and the title of the article in the topic sentence.

Richard Carrigan

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past thirteen years. He has experience teaching business English and conversational English in Asia and teaching academic English at the university level in the United States.