How to Write a Summary

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of a summary essay consist of all the main points that the author has mentioned in the text. These main points should be backed up by presenting any incident, illustrations or examples that the author has mentioned.

When you are done summarizing the article, your summary essay is complete. Yes, there are no conclusions in the summary essay because it is not about your interpretations and opinions. It is about the author’s opinions and ideas.

In certain cases, your instructors might ask you to provide a concluding paragraph. But, unless it is mentioned in your guidelines do not write any conclusion on your own. Consider the summary essay example given below and try to match it with the outline that we have presented above.

Also Read:How to Write an Essay? Comprehensive Guide

Here is another summary essay example which contains just one paragraph. See how the essay writer has tried to make it short and concise, keeping in mind the essence of the summary essay.

Common Mistakes

– Including too much or too little information in your essay.

– Forgetting to cite quotations, so that the words of the original texts’ author looks like your own.

– Concentrating on insignificant details, examples, and anecdotes.

– Trying to interpret or explain what the author wanted to say in his or her work. You must give a concise overview of the source, not present your own interpretation.

Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic summary essay writing tips and rules, you can check out our summary essay samples to link theory with practice.

Do and Don’t

  • Do cite the author’s words if you need to use them. Otherwise, it may look like plagiarism.
  • Do write in present tense, even if the author of the original text has passed away a long time ago.
  • Do understand the original source completely. If you have doubts about the meaning of certain terms, clarify them before you start to write.
  • Do make sure you’ve said exactly what the author did when citing their words.
  • Do revise your paper when it’s ready. You may find a nice place to insert a new quotation, correct some mistakes, and make other improvements. You can also give your essay to a friend or a colleague to read to see if they can grasp the main idea of the source after reading your summary essay.
  • Don’t include your own examples or interpretations in your paper. You literally need to repeat the information given in the original text, but in a shorter frame and in your own words.
  • Don’t insert any of your evaluations or judgments about the text. Your task is to summarize, not give a personal opinion.
  • Don’t try to grasp all of the ideas contained in the original text in your essay. Focus only on the most important points.
  • Don’t report on unnecessary details.
  • Don’t forget to include transitions to signal when you move to a new idea within the same paragraph.

Example Summary Writing Format

  1. Thoroughly read and study the original text. When you read it, get a feeling for the author’s style, tone and mood, and try to identify the main ideas expressed.
  2. Divide the text into several sections, and sketch a rough outline. Breaking the text into several parts will make the material easier to grasp. Then read each part once more, but this time highlight some of the key points. Mark areas you want to refer to in your summary, as well as those that shouldn’t be included in your essay.
  3. When you have a clear understanding of the information in each part of the source, write down the main idea in each section in the form of a short overview.
  4. Write an introduction. It should briefly present the main ideas in the original text. The introduction should include the name of the author, the title of their work, and some background information about the author, if needed.
  5. In the main body paragraphs, state the ideas you’ve chosen while reading the text. Expand on them by including one or more examples from the original text. Include important information only and avoid describing minor, insignificant points.
  6. After you have summarized the main ideas in the original text, your essay is finished. A conclusion paragraph should be added if your teacher specifically tells you to include one.
  • When writing a summary, remember that it should be in the form of a paragraph.
  • A summary begins with an introductory sentence that states the text’s title, author and main point of the text as you see it.
  • A summary is written in your own words.
  • A summary contains only the ideas of the original text. Do not insert any of your own opinions, interpretations, deductions or comments into a summary.
  • Identify in order the significant sub-claims the author uses to defend the main point.
  • Copy word-for-word three separate passages from the essay that you think support and/or defend the main point of the essay as you see it.
  • Cite each passage by first signaling the work and the author, put “quotation marks” around the passage you chose, and put the number of the paragraph where the passages can be found immediately after the passage.
  • Using source material from the essay is important. Why? Because defending claims with source material is what you will be asked to do when writing papers for your college professors.
  • Write a last sentence that “wraps” up your summary; often a simple rephrasing of the main point.

In the essay Santa Ana, author Joan Didion’s main point is (state main point). According to Didion “…passage 1…” (para.3). Didion also writes “…passage 2…” (para.8).

How to Identify the Main Idea of an Article

  1. Gather information from the title.
  2. Identify the place it was published, as this can help you determine the intended audience.
  3. Determine the date of publication.
  4. Determine the type of essay. (Is it expository, argumentative, literary, scholarly?)
  5. Take note of the tone of the piece.
  6. Identify certain notions or arguments that seem to be repeated throughout.

Applying these methods of identification, let’s take a look at the article «Bypass Cure» by James Johnson. We can assume the subject of the article from the title. Upon further examination, it becomes clear that the author is arguing that new research suggests the best cure for diabetes is the surgical solution of a gastric bypass.

Example: «Bypass Cure» by James Johnson records a recent discovery by researchers that people who have bypass surgery for weight control are also instantly cured of diabetes. Since rising diabetic rates and obesity has become a worldwide concern, the article provides a startling but controversial potential solution.

Now that we have identified the main idea of the article, we can move onto the next step.

How to Write A Summary Essay of An Article

Writing a summary essay becomes a lot easier once you understand its complete essay structure. If you anytime face confusions about what is the purpose of writing the summary essay you should take our assignment help Perth.

Our experts will guide you on how to prepare a summary essay outline in an easy way. To begin with, the main feature of a summary essay is that you have to repeat the ideas of the source text by paraphrasing them in your own words.

You should never add any extra information from your side neither provide your own examples in the summary. Moreover, a summary essay should be an organized content that is it should follow a proper format.

  •    Read the text with intention – Before you begin writing the summary essay read the text thoroughly. Try to understand the writing tone of the author and what is he trying to convey in the article.
  •    Divide the article into different sections – If the article is long enough to break it into different parts and then prepare an outline of the text. This will help you understand the text easily.
  •    Highlight the important points as you read – Highlight the key ideas of each section. You may use these by preparing the summary. In this way, you will never miss out any main Idea.
  •    Take notes if you want – This is a good practice to paraphrase a text in your own words. You may want to write the main points in your own words. You can then use them while preparing the final draft of the summary essay.
  •    Do not plagiarize – If you want to include the author’s words in your own summary, cite them. In this way, you can avoid plagiarism. Your summary has to be an original piece of essay writing if you want to score better grades.
  •    Annotate – If you do not have time to prepare notes you can write your responses in the text itself. You may use a combination of highlighting, underlining and annotation to prepare a rough sketch of your summary essay as you read the text.
  •    Clarify your doubts – If you do not understand the text completely seek assignment help and clarify your doubts as early as possible. You can take online assignment help from our assignment providers. They can not only help you with understanding the text but can also review your summary and enhance it further.

Lastly, read as many summary essay examples as you can to get accustomed to this form of writing. We hope that with these writing tips you are going to curate an amazing summary essay of your own. For more templates and guidance connect with our write my essay experts today!

Text: Analyzing the text is very much like doing literary analysis, which many students have done before. Use all of your tools of literary analysis, including looking at the metaphors, rhythm of sentences, construction of arguments, tone, style, and use of language. Example:

The organization of «essay title» is effective/ineffective because ___________ . The essay’s opening causes the reader to ___________ . The essay’s style is ___________ and the tone is shown by ___________ . The language used is___________ . The essay’s argument is constructed logically/illogically by ___________. The essay is organized by ___________ (give a very brief description of the structure of the essay, perhaps telling where the description of the problem is, where claims are made, and where support is located—in which paragraphs—and why this is effective or ineffective in proving the point).

Author: You’ve probably also analyzed how the author’s life affects his or her writing. You can do the same for this sort of analysis. For example, in my sample reading the response about Michael Crichton’s «Let’s Stop Scaring Ourselves» article, students noted that the fact that Crichton is the author of doomsday thrillers like Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park makes his argument that we shouldn’t pay much attention to current doomsday scenarios like global warming rather ironic. If you don’t know anything about the author, you can always do a quick Google Search to find out. Sample format:

The author establishes his/her authority by ___________ . The author’s bias is shown in ___________ . The author assumes an audience who ___________ . He/She establishes common ground with the audience by ___________ .

Reader: You can write this section by inferring who the intended reader is, as well as looking at the text from the viewpoint of other sorts of readers. For example,

Readers are interested in this issue because of the exigence of ___________. Constraints on the reader’s reaction are ___________. I think the reader would react to this argument by ___________. I think that the author’s ___________ is effective. ___________ is less effective because ___________ includes ___________. The support is adequate/inadequate and is relevant/irrelevant to the author’s claim.

Writing the Summary

A summary essay should
be organized so that others can understand the source or evaluate your
comprehension of it.  The following format works well: 

(usually one paragraph)

1.    Contains a
one-sentence thesis statement that sums up the main point of the source.
�� This thesis statement is not your main
point; it is the main point of your source. Usually,
though, you have to write this statement rather than quote it from the source text.  It is a one-sentence
summary of the entire text that your essay ����������� summarizes.

2.    Also introduces the text to be
(i) Gives the title of the source (following the
citation guidelines of whatever style sheet you are using);
(ii)  Provides the name of the author of the source;
Sometimes also provides pertinent background information about the author of the
source or about the text to be summarized.
The introduction should not offer your
own opinions or evaluation of the text you are summarizing.

Body (one or more
This paraphrases and condenses the
original piece.  In your summary, be sure that

1.     Include important data but omit
minor points;
2.     Include one or more of the author�s examples or
illustrations (these will bring your summary
to life);
3.     Do not include your own ideas, illustrations,
metaphors, or interpretations.  Look 
yourself as a summarizing machine; you are simply repeating what the source
text says, in fewer words and ����������� in
your own words.  But the fact that you are using your own words does
not mean that you are including your own


There is customarily
no conclusion to a summary essay.

When you have summarized
the source text, your summary essay is finished.  Do not add your own
concluding ����������� paragraph unless
your teacher specifically tells you to.


Summaries identify the source of original text.

Summaries demonstrate your understanding of a
text’s subject matter.

Summaries are shorter (at least 60% shorter)  than the original text—they omit the original text’s
«examples, asides, analogies, and rhetorical strategies.

Summaries differ from paraphrases—paraphrases
more closely follow the original text’s presentation (they still use your
words, but they are longer than summaries).

Summaries focus exclusively on the presentation
of the writer’s main ideas—they do not include your interpretations or

Summaries normally are written in your own
words—they do not contain extended quotes or paraphrases.

Summaries rely on the use of standard signal
phrases («According to the author…»; «The author believes…«; etc.).

Tips on Writing

Step One (Prewriting):

Read the article quickly.

Try to get a sense of the article’s
general focus and content.

Step Two (Drafting):

Restate the article’s thesis simply
and in your own words.

Restate each paragraph’s topic
simply and in your own words.

Step Three (Revising):

Combine sentences in Step Two to
form your summary; organize your summary sentences in the same order as the
main ideas in the original text.

Edit very carefully for neatness
and correctness.


The summary essay starts with an introductory paragraph. This paragraph focuses on the main ideas that are presented by the author in the text. You are also required to provide a thesis statement which summarizes the main point of the source.

The introduction begins with the title of the story written as per the referencing format guidelines such as APA or MLA. The first sentence of the introduction begins with an author tag in which you tell the name of the author. You may also include little background details about the author here.

Remember that the introductory paragraph should not provide how you evaluated the text. You do not need to mention your own opinions anywhere in the summary essay introduction.

Also Read: How to Write a Comparative Essay or Contrast Essay?

Key Points to Consider

  1. One of the most important aspects about a summary essay is its connection to the source. Keep in mind that your interpretation of the source can mislead your readers or even distort the meaning of the original text.
  2. Your summary essay should serve as a substitute for the original source; by reading your summary essay, a reader should be able to develop an understanding of the original work.
  3. This type of essay is about summarizing the original text, not criticizing it.

Summary Essay Topics

You can write a summary essay on a scientific work, an interesting article, a novel, or a research paper. This type of essay can be on any subject. For example, you might want to write a summary essay on:

  • Catcher in the Rye (book)
  • Citizen Kane (film)
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book)
  • Captain Fantastic (film)
  • Lord of the Rings (book)
  • Song of Two Humans (film)
  • Of Mice and Men (book)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (film)
  • Moby Dick (book)
  • Ben Hurr (film)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • A movie by Ingmar Bergman
  • A novel by Jack London
  • The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
  • An article in The New York Times
  • A blog post of a famous journalist


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