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How to Write a Summary of an Article

Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

how-to-write-a-summary

When Should You Summarize an Article?

  • To show how an author's ideas support your argument
  • To argue against the author's ideas
  • To condense a lot of information into a small space
  • To increase your understanding of an article

What is a Summary?

A great summary is easy to read and explains all of the main points in the original. Important points to remember:

  • The main idea of the article is conveyed clearly and concisely
  • The summary is written in the unique style of the writer
  • The summary is much shorter than the original document
  • The summary explains all of the important notions and arguments
  • The summary condenses a lot of information into a small space

How Do You Summarize an Article?

Summarizing an article can be boiled down to three simple steps.

  1. Identify the main idea or topic.
  2. Identify important arguments.
  3. Write your summary.

Continue reading for detailed explanations of each of these steps.

1. Identify the Main Idea or Topic

The aim of an article is to convey a certain idea or topic through the use of exposition and logic.

In a summary, you want to identify the main idea of the article and put this information into your own words. To do this, you must be willing to read the article several times. On the first reading, try to gain a general notion of what the article is trying to say. Once you've done this write down your initial impression. This is most likely the thesis, or main idea, of the article. Also, be sure to include the author's first and last name and the title of the article in your notation for later reference.

Example: In the article "Why Two Best Friends Doesn't Work," author Cassandra Grimes argues that most teenage girls can't get along in groups of more than two.

When trying to identify the central idea, you should ask yourself, "Why was this essay written and published?" Clues to help determine this include the following.

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.

Think of the thesis of your summary as a caption on a picture.  Example: In spite of having lost most of the season due to an injury, Jim Johnson beat his own record and won the meet, qualifying him for the state finals.

Think of the thesis of your summary as a caption on a picture. Example: In spite of having lost most of the season due to an injury, Jim Johnson beat his own record and won the meet, qualifying him for the state finals.

2. Identify Important Arguments

At this point in the preparation process, you should read the article again. This time, read more carefully. Look specifically for the supporting arguments. Some tips on how to identify the important arguments of an article are listed below.

How to Identify Important Arguments in an Article

  1. Read on a paper copy or use a computer program that lets you make annotations.
  2. Underline the topic sentence of each paragraph. (If no one sentence tells the main concept, then write a summary of the main point in the margin.)
  3. Write that sentence in your own words on the side of the page or on another piece of paper.
  4. When you finish the article, read all the topic sentences you marked or wrote down.
  5. In your own words, rewrite those main ideas.
  6. Use complete sentences with good transition words.
  7. Be sure you don't use the same words, phrases, or sentence structure as the original.
  8. You may find you need to leave out some of the unimportant details.
  9. Your summary should be as short and concise as possible.

In short, you want to boil the article down to its main, supporting arguments. Let everything else fall away, and what you are left with is an argument or an opinion, and the arguments that support it.

3. Write Your Summary

Your summary should start with the author’s name and the title of the work. Here are several ways to do this correctly:

Introduction Sentence Examples for an Article Summary

In "Cats Don't Dance," John Wood explains ...

John Wood, in "Cats Don't Dance," explains ...

According to John Wood in "Cats Don't Dance" ...

As John Wood vividly elucidates in his ironic story "Cats Don't Dance" ...

John Wood claims in his ironic story "Cats Don't Dance" that ...

Combine the thesis of the article with the title and author into your first sentence of the summary. Reference the following sentence as an example.

In "Cats Don't Dance," John Wood explains that in spite of the fact that cats are popular pets who seem to like us, felines are not really good at any activities that require cooperation with someone else, whether that is dancing or sharing.

If possible, your first sentence should summarize the article. The rest of your summary should cover some of the central concepts used to support the thesis. Be sure to restate these ideas in your own words, and to make your summary as short and concise as possible. Condense sentences and leave out unimportant details and examples. Stick to the important points.

How to Quote the Author of an Article

When you refer to the author for the first time, you always use their full name. When you refer to the author after that, you always use their last name. The following examples show how to use the author's name in an article summary after you have already introduced them.

Johnson comments ...

According to Wood's perspective ...

As Jones implies in the story about ...

Toller criticizes...

In conclusion, Kessler elaborates about ...

You don't need to use an author's title (Dr., Professor, or Mr. and Mrs.), but it does help to add their credentials to show they are an authoritative source. The sentences below show ways to do this.

In "Global Warming isn't Real," Steven Collins, a professor at the University of Michigan, claims that ...

New York Times critic Johann Bachman argues in "Global Warming is the Next Best Thing for the Earth" that ...

If you are discussing the ideas of the author, you always need to make it clear that you are reciting their ideas, not your own.

How to Introduce the Ideas of the Author in an Article Summary

  • Use author tags
  • Use mentions of "the article" or "the text"
  • Add the page number that the information is found on in parenthesis at the end of the sentence

Using Author Tags

In writing your summary, you need to clearly state the name of the author and the name of the article, essay, book, or other source. The sentence below is a great example of how to do this.

According to Mary Johnson in her essay, "Cats Make Good Pets," the feline domestic companion is far superior to the canine one.

You also need to continue to make it clear to the reader when you are talking about the author's ideas. To do this, use "author tags," which are either the last name of the author or a pronoun (he or she) to show you are still discussing that person's ideas.

Also, try to make use of different verbs and adverbs. Your choice of author tag verbs and adverbs can contribute to the way you analyze the article. Certain words will create a specific tone. See the tables for a selection of different word choices.

List of Author Tags

Says

Explains

Comments

Persuades

Suggests

Understands

Argues

Reminds

Helps us understand

Elucidates

Presents

Intimates

Concludes

Presents the idea

Creates the impression

Criticizes

Defines

Highlights

Concedes

Shows

States

Thinks

Admits

Lists

Notes

Analyzes

Disagrees

Observes

Points out

Emphasizes

Discusses

Identifies

Implies

Insists

Responds

Shows

Proves

Rejects

Suggests

Adverbs to Use With Author Tags

Conclusively

Expressively

Realistically

Tightly

Angrily

Radically

Clearly

Dutifuly

Evenly

Occasionally

Quickly

Ironically

Honestly

Eagerly

Elegantly

Sharply

Rarely

Loosely

Exactly

Happily

Hastily

Perfectly

Sternly

Unexpectedly

Sometimes

Never

Justly

Devotedly

Finally

Warily

Wearily

Completely

Fully

Doggedly

Iconically

Sarcastically

Seriously

Carefully

Politely

How Long Is a Summary of an Article?

The length of an article summary will depend on the length of the article you are writing about.

If the article is long (say, 10-12 pages) then your summary should be about four pages. If the article is shorter, your summary should be about one to two pages. Sometimes, an article summary can be less than one page.

The length of a summary will also depend on the instructions you have been given. If you are writing a summary for yourself, it's up to you how long or short it will be (but remember, a summary is supposed to be a short regurgitation of the information outline in an article). If you are writing a summary for a class assignment, the length should be specified.

Example Summary Paragraph

The following paragraph is an example of a one-paragraph summary of an article.

In "My Favorite Shoe," Treyvon Jones explains that Nike shoes are the best brand of running shoe for serious track athletes. Jones supports this view by pointing out that Nike shoes are more comfortable, last longer, and provide more cushioning for the feet. He notes that the statistics from sales and scientific evidence of how Nike shoes are better for the feet support his claim. In addition, Jones points out that most professional runners use Nike and he tells his own story of how he won the 100-meter men's competition after switching to Nike shoes.

Below is a template showing the components of a great summary.

Summary Template

Part of SummaryContents

Introduction Sentence

In "My Favorite Shoe," Treyvon Jones explains (insert main idea).

Supporting Arguments

Jones supports this view by pointing out (insert author's supporting arguments).

Final Point

In addition, (insert author's overarching argument and point).

How to Edit and Revise Your Summary

Before you are officially done, it is important to edit your work. The steps below explain the process of editing and revision.

  1. Re-read the summary and edit out any obvious mistakes.
  2. Read your summary aloud. If anything sounds off, fix it.
  3. Let one of your peers read your summary. Make changes according to their feedback.

With that, your summary should be complete.

How to Summarize (Video)

Questions & Answers

Question: How can I summarize a research article?

Answer: An abstract is basically a summary of a research article. To write a good summary in your field of science, it would help to look up several research articles and look at their abstracts. Use that as a model for your own summary.

Question: How should I end my summary?

Answer: The summary should end with the author's conclusion or last main point.

Question: How do I conclude the summary of an article?

Answer: Conclude your summary with a statement about what the author is trying to convince you to believe, do, or think.

Question: How should you begin a summary?

Answer: A summary should begin by stating the name of the author (first and last) and the title of the article, along with a single sentence describing the main idea of the whole article. Here are some examples:

1. According to Tom Castaway in "Taking Your Management to the Next Level," effective management means clearly articulating your goals, supporting your employees and keeping the team on track.

2. "Supporting Your Cat's Needs" by Jane Yogurt is a humorous article that describes how a can manipulates their owner into providing them everything they want.

3. In her usual humorous style, Sanda Cunningham offers support and advice to dog owners who feel out of control in "Taking Back the Leash: A Dog Owner's Guide to Freedom from Panic Attacks."

Question: What is "skimming?"

Answer: "Skimming" means that you don't read every word. You look at the bold print in a chapter, the first sentences of each paragraph and look over a page to see if there are important points. Skimming is like doing an overview. Skimming is easy if you are reading in your own language and often we do skimming when we are looking at a newspaper, or scrolling down our social media posts. Basically, when you skim read, you are looking for the most interesting or most important things. When you find it, you might read a whole section, but you might also skip a lot that doesn't seem important.

Question: How do I write a summary? Should I use my own words?

Answer: Your summary should reinforce the main point of the article, and should always be in your own words, just like the rest of your essay. However, a summary should not add your own opinion. The response is your opinion, and the summary is just a repetition of what is in the article.

Question: How should I end a summary?

Answer: You end a summary with the conclusion of the article or a comment about the reason the author has written this piece. Here are some examples:

1. In conclusion, the article clearly articulates all of the reasons a person needs to be careful not to let their car battery freeze in winter.

2. To make sure the reader gets the point, the author concludes with a funny story of why she will never wave to a policemen at the side of the road again.

3. Although she may belabor the point too much, Johnson does clearly and effectively explain many reasons why college students should take the time to recycle as much as they can.

Question: Is skimming bad when you're summarizing an article?

Answer: I would always suggest that you start by skimming the article to get the main ideas; however, you probably need to read the article closely at least once in order to make sure you haven't missed a major point.

Question: How would I summarize a movie?

Answer: You summarize a movie by telling the main characters, setting, plot (conflict and resolution), and what the main message of the movie is for the viewers. You can find more information in this article:https://owlcation.com/academia/How-to-Write-an-Eva...

Question: How do you begin an article summary when it has multiple authors?

Answer: You would list all of the authors in the first mention of the article and afterwards refer to "the authors of the article" or just "the article." Here is an example:

In "Our First Jobs," authors Bob Johns, Sean Conley, and Stephan Ruiz explain how their first employment helped them develop as people. The authors agree...Moreover, this article elucidates...However, not all of the essays advice would be agreed on by everyone...

Question: How do I include the author, title, and content in the summary of an article?

Answer: There is a clear format for including the author tags in summaries. To start with, you need to include the title and full name of the author, usually in the first sentence of the summary. Here are some examples:

James Joseph, in his article, "Remember When," talks about his experiences in World War II.

In his interesting retrospective article, "Remember When," James Joseph retells his war experiences in World War II.

Retelling his fascinating war experiences in World War II, James Joseph, in "Remember When," gives the reader a glimpse into that period of history from the viewpoint of an eighteen-year-old soldier.

For other ideas on how to do this and more words, you can use as author tags, see my article on citations: https://hubpages.com/academia/MLA-Citation-Guide.

Question: Our teacher told our group to write a discussion summarizing our assignment? What can I include?

Answer: Summarizing means telling all of the most important points. Often, in English, the main ideas are in the first sentence of each paragraph, but sometimes they can be at the end or the middle. Occasionally, the author doesn't actually say the main idea, but gives you a lot of details and lets you read them and decide on the main idea by yourself. Whatever type of writing you are summarizing, the basic way to do it is the same. You read the whole thing through and underline the parts which seem the most important. Then you think about the article and decide on the main point the author wanted you to understand after reading. I tell my students to think about what the author wants you to think, do or believe. Often, there will be a sentence in the article which says that main idea. That sentence is often in the beginning of the article. Write that sentence down and include the name of the article and the author. Then you need to read each paragraph and write down the main idea. A summary does not usually include all of the examples. It includes all of the main ideas. Putting those all together makes a summary.

Question: What do I title my article summary?

Answer: A simple title is just "Summary of "Article Title."

Question: Can I include a particular term that the author uses in the article while writing a summary?

Answer: If the writer coins a term for something, you absolutely should use that term in your summary and explain that what the author means by that word. Similarly, if the author uses some specialized terms or vocabulary that is difficult to say in any other way, you should use the same words. You do need to make sure that your summary does not use the same phrases or sentences of the original (see my article on paraphrasing correctly: https://hubpages.com/academia/Using-and-Citing-Sou...

Question: What is the summary of the article?

Answer: A summary tells all of the main ideas but doesn't include the background details or evidence. Usually, a summary is much shorter than the original article, often a couple of paragraphs. In science, the summary is called an abstract.

Question: In the exam, we will be given an article and asked to write an abstract for that article. What do you advise me to do?

Answer: An abstract is another way of saying "summary." However, an abstract is generally just one or two paragraphs. Often, the word "abstract" is used for a summary of a scientific article. Your abstract of the article should start with a sentence telling the main point of the article. Then it should have no more than ten other sentences telling other main ideas or reasons and evidence that support the first main idea. An abstract should have clear, easy-to-read sentences.

Question: How do you write the introduction of a summary?

Answer: What kind of an introduction you do will depend on how long your paper is supposed to be. If you are just writing a summary, you will probably just start with a first sentence that tells the author, title and main idea. Then the rest of the first paragraph should give the basic overview of the main points of the article. Several examples of this are given above. If you are doing a longer summary, or a response and a summary, you might want to start with an introduction that gives your own experiences or background on the topic before you began to read the article. For more information and links to three sample essays, see my article: https://owlcation.com/academia/How-to-Write-a-Summ...

Question: In a summary, should I create my own topic or use the article's topic?

Answer: Your summary should use the main idea of the article for your topic. The first sentence of the summary should include the author's full name and the title of the article. Assuming that you are doing just a summary and not a response, you should keep your summary in the 3rd person.

Here is a sample: Stephanie Arnold's article, "How to Live With a Cat," humorously describes her attempt to train her cat to be obedient.

Question: How do I introduce the article title with no author's name when writing an article summary?

Answer: I assume you mean that you have an article which does not have an author. Generally, an article without an author is not a good source. However, some exceptions would be information from government websites or other authoritative sources which do not list the person who actually wrote down the article. In that case, you would introduce the article by telling where it was published and also possibly when.

Question: How do I start a summary?

Answer: The best way to start a summary is to say the name of the author and the title of the work and to give the main point of the article. Here are some examples:

1. The complete guide to gardening not only annuals but also perennials and flowering bushes is "Texas Flowerbeds" by Neil Sperry.

2. In "How to Get the Best Gas Mileage," James Stevens explains the importance of car maintenance as well as driving tricks that can save on fuel use.

3. "Organizing for Non-Experts" is Joan Causeways humorous instruction manual for helping messy people get a better handle on their stuff.

Notice that even in these very short summary statements, you can use words like "humorous" to talk about tone. Moreover, you should also notice that you don't have to start with the name of the author and title. That can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of the sentence.

Question: How should I write the ending of a summary?

Answer: Conclude your summary with the main point of the article or if you are allowed to give your own opinion, you can say what you think of the article.

Question: In an article summary, can I add my point of view?

Answer: In summary, you need to just tell the view of the author. If you are also doing a response to the summary, that is where you tell your view of the issue and also your view about what the author wrote.

Question: How do you write a summary of a research article?

Answer: Often students are asked to write a short summary of the articles they use in a research paper. These are often fairly short, and are sometimes called an "annotated bibliography" or a "survey of sources." To write that sort of summary, you will read the whole article through and then write only the main idea in a few sentences. You may also be required to explain how you are going to use that article in your research. I have an explanation and examples in this article: https://owlcation.com/academia/How-to-Write-a-Surv...

Question: How do I keep the flow of my one-sentence summary smooth, and not awkward or choppy?

Answer: Using transition words which link your ideas will help your writing to be clearer as well as less choppy. I have several articles to help you write better sentences. Start with Easy Words to Use as Sentence Starters (which has lists of transition words) https://owlcation.com/academia/Words-to-Use-in-Sta...

You can also look at my Ways to Write Effective Sentences:https://owlcation.com/academia/Writing-Effective-S...

Question: When wiring a summary of an article, do I need to mention methodology in a summary? If yes how should it be mentioned?

Answer: If you are writing a summary of a scientific research project, you do need to explain the methodology but not in detail. You would mention the type of methodology used and any key terms that would let a person in that field understand how that science project was either conducted or analyzed.

Question: Can I put a hypothesis in the summary of the article to support the main idea?

Answer: Generally, a "hypothesis" is giving what you think about something. A summary of the article is not supposed to have your own opinion.

Question: Do you need to add an in-text citation in the summary of an article?

Answer: Generally, if you are just summarizing a single article and you have provided the name of the author and title of the article in the first sentence, you do not need to add any additional citations. However, be sure to follow your instructor's directions. Sometimes, they may want you to provide page numbers (or even paragraph numbers) to show what you are summarizing.

Question: Can a summary report be bulleted?

Answer: In a business or science report, you can use bullets in a summary; however, in most academic subjects, it would not be appropriate. If you are in doubt, you should probably contact the person who gave you this assignment and ask whether or not they would like you to use bullets.

Question: How can I summarize a news article?

Answer: Traditionally, a news article tells the basic facts and answers who, what, when, where, how and sometimes why. You can summarize by using those categories.

Question: Which tense do we have to use in a summery on an article written in simple past about a past event? Should we use the present perfect to summarize the events?

Answer: There is more than one way to write this sort of summary. The most important thing is to be consistent in the verb tense you use. All articles are written in the past and are published before you are summarizing them. Generally, I would follow this format:

In the article written by John Jacobs about cats ruling the world, he states that "Cats make better leaders than men." However, in his conclusion, he stated that he would never want to live in that world.

Question: Are examples completely forbidden in summaries?

Answer: It is appropriate to include a brief mention of an example in the summary but most of what you are writing should be the main point of the author.

Question: What will I write in the second paragraph of a summary?

Answer: In the second paragraph, you will give a summary of the main reasons for the author's thesis. You may also briefly explain the evidence the author uses to support those reasons.

Question: How do I summarize a video?

Answer: You would summarize a video in the same way that you would an article. In fact, I'd suggest that if possible you look at the video with captions on and take notes about the main points (stopping the video as you listen). Depending on how long the video is, you might want to watch the whole thing through once and then make notes about the main claim and supporting ideas. Then watch it through again and fill in some other details to help you do your summary. You would begin with a sentence like this:

In the video "Walking a dog in the park" by Jordan James, the author contends that the most important thing to remember is that the walk is for the dog's sake, not yours.

Question: Should we put a title in a summary of an article?

Answer: You will put the title in the first or second sentence which will identify the author, the title, and usually the main point of the article. It would go something like this:

The humorous article "Have you ever met a houseplant you really liked?" by James Green gives the author's perspective that people who adore growing things indoors are mentally deranged.

© 2011 Virginia Kearney

Comments

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 14, 2020:

Hi Aya--I think your solution is very good.

aya carata on August 13, 2020:

Hi, i have to write a summary of an article and i can only have 500 words.My article have many author, How can i introduce them in the introduction. my teacher didn't specifically say if we have to include the title of the article too as its really lengthy.How do u advice i should start my summary. Can i just include the first author and start my summary like "VANESSA M. MCDONALD et al. article suggest"

thank you in advance

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 03, 2020:

Hi Saima, that probably means the date that the article was published.

Saima Junrjo on July 27, 2020:

This information is very helpful. My teacher wanted us to write a summary. Below are the requirements for summary introduction. it required a date what does that mean in summary?

- introduction including source information – author, date, title, source, main idea.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 19, 2020:

Hi Riggzie! So glad you have decided to go to college! I think that when you are older in college, you really appreciate it more than when you've just graduated from high school. Essays from older students are always more interesting because they've had time to see things from more than one perspective and/or have more interesting experiences to write about. As far as your question, I always need to remind people to follow the instructions of your teacher first. Different textbooks and teachers will give different instructions based on what they are trying to do in that assignment. However, generally a summary does not have an opening or conclusion; however, if you are writing a summary, analysis, response (which often is an assignment after the summary), you will be putting in some of those other elements. Good luck!

Riggzie on July 19, 2020:

Thank you very much. I am 47 and decided to go to college. I guess better late than never! I have been searching the web for summaries and I think you have helped me a lot. I was told by my family (wife has 2 associates and a bachelors, and my oldest is 20 and in college) that I should still do the opening paragraph, the content paragraph and a conclusion paragraph, but what you have listed is clearly not the case. I take English Composition in my next semester, so I have to do run before I walk.

Thanks again!

~Riggzie

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on June 19, 2020:

Hi Ashi! You have asked a good question. There are two ways to cite more than one author. One is simply to list all of the authors when you first mention the article title and authors. The other way is to cite the first author and then add "et al." which means "and others." After that first citation, you should probably use "in the article," or "the authors point out" rather than trying to use the name of the author, although you can say "Baker et al. suggest" but that sounds a bit formal, and I have never used that format personally. Here is a sample to help you:

In "COVID-19 Responses" by Jim Barker, Jose Hererra, and Ysinda Gomez, the authors argue that individual responsibility and government action needs to be considered together when evaluating the pandemic. The article also suggests... Furthermore, the authors conclude...

Ashi on June 19, 2020:

Hi Virginia! I am a student of Bachelor. Recently my teacher assigned me summary of an article. But my problem is that ,there are three authors of that article. Now plz tell me how I can start my summary and in the next am I mention the sir name of the three authors?

Raynard Yohang on June 17, 2020:

Very helpful information. now i should construct a better summary write up for my assignment.

Thanks..

Tharanga on April 10, 2020:

Good explanations

Thanks

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 12, 2020:

Generally, references should be to where you found the article if it is a book or other published source such as a journal or magazine. If it is a search engine like Gale that compiles different magazine articles, you would use the "cited in" format.

dublintutor on March 09, 2020:

Hi,

I appreciate your clear explaination above, it is really helpful.

I have a question, I have to write a report on an article at Uni, and the Article is 50 pages long and written by Jones (2019).

When I reference the articles referenced in the Jones article, should it look like Jones, 2019 in all the instances

OR

should I reference using the secondary reference … (Brown et. al, 1995, cited in Jones, 2019) ....

This would be very helpful to me.

Thanks so much

- :-)

charles marfo on December 21, 2019:

this is a very nice work of you. you've really done a good work.thanks.

Rachel Timme on October 31, 2019:

Thanks you so much for the in formations that I have learnt here about Summary writing. It's very important for us non English speakers. Was greatly appreciated. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your gifts. May you be blessed abundantly in the work you are doing.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 14, 2019:

Hi Kaghija, paragraphs can be any length but a "typical" English essay has 5 sentences: topic sentence, 3 explaining/evidence sentences, conclusion/transition sentence.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 14, 2019:

Hi Sandi, you don't tell me what age your son is, but that type of assignment is pretty straightforward for High School. There are two ways to do a compare and contrast between passages. One way is to separate it into two sections: how the responses are similar; how the responses are different. A different and generally more difficult (but potentially better essay) is to do talk about the passages topically and inside each topic explain what is same and different. For example, topics could be: choices, responses, outcomes, character, tone of author, relevance to modern life etc.

kaghija on August 14, 2019:

how many sentences should there be per paragraph?

SandiJS on August 14, 2019:

Hello Virginia:

Recently my son had brought home an English Essay that his teacher is only allowing students to complete in 2 days!! It is writing an essay on comparing 2 different stories, on the basis of "How we make decisions when faced with difficult choices?" The 2 stories are titled, "The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank Stockton and "The Choices of Hercules" by James Baldwin. His instructions are to read both passages and write an essay in which compare Hercules' and the princess's responses to the choices they are given. He needs to support his discussion with evidence from the text. What do you suggest on how I go about explaining how to compare the two texts in one essay?

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 06, 2019:

Hi James, my German is a bit rusty but I did a bit of searching for the answer and I think the problem is that English Present Perfect and German Perfekt are not quite the same. In both English and German, we can refer to past events using a simple past and the present perfect; however, the German Perfekt is somehwat different than the English perfect in that the engish "We have eaten" means it began in the past and is now completed, while the German "Wir haben...gegessen" is usually used to speak about a completed action.

My guess is your student's English teacher did not know the difference.

When I encounter these sorts of issues with students, I usually tell them that what I am trying to teach them is "standard English practice" which means that it is not just about rules but about how native speakers actually talk. No native speaker is going to talk about a historical situation in the present tense (even if there might be an obscure rule that would allow that). If he does that, he will be regarded as having incorrect verb tenses, or else confuse the listener. However, I will usually not grade a person down in this sort of situation. Instead, I would allow them to redo the assignment or else just give them a good grade. Here is the website I used for the answer: https://german.yabla.com/lesson-English-Present-Pe...

James on August 06, 2019:

Hello, I am a native English speaker and teach ESL in Germany. Recently, I had one of my students write a summary of a historical event that I verbally had recounted. The purpose of the exercise was to test his listening comprehension. The story itself concerned a Saxon knight named Konrad von Wettin who lived in the 12th century. The student proceeded to write a very nice summary which demonstrated his excellent listening skills. The problem was that he wrote the summary in the present tense. For example, “Konrad is a knight living in the 12th century.” “He has a wife named Liutigard and twelve children.” He continued on in this fashion throughout the summary. In response, I corrected his grammar by putting every sentence, when appropriate, into the past tense. For example, “Konrad was a Saxon knight who lived during the 12th century.”

To my surprise, he argued the corrections and stated that his German high school English teacher told the class to write summaries only in the present tense. My student went further to claim that if he had turned in a summary written in the past tense that he would have received a poor grade.

So... I’m a bit phased and looking for some backup on this topic. Is my student correct? If so, why is he correct? As a history major, I would find it strange to write about a historical figure in the present tense unless I had discovered time travel. By the way, my story was told in the past tense as well, so when he made the leap to present tense I was surprised. I would be happy to post his original summary with my corrections if you would like to read it. Thank you in advance.

Linus search on July 11, 2019:

This is good. The teacher in you is evident. Thanks a lot.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 19, 2019:

Generally I would suggest that you summarize each article in a separate paragraph but I’d suggest you ask your instructor.

Bonheur on May 17, 2019:

How do I start my summary introduction when I read 3 articles should I list the article's name for three of them?

Fitri on April 10, 2019:

Hi, thank you for this entry!

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 23, 2019:

Hi Shirin,you can find that information in my articles that talk about summar response or “How to write a Summary Analysis Response Paper,” find them by searching for that title and my name.

Shirin on March 22, 2019:

I want to know after I write my summary about am article then how do I start my discussion about that article in the following paragraphs

Tanxxxxx

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 10, 2019:

Often a summary is just one to three paragraphs. See the article for the format.

Armaan on February 09, 2019:

What should be the format of a summary? How many paragraphs?

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on January 21, 2019:

Hi Hazel, I am very happy to have you share this information by giving students a link to my website or showing my website information in class. However, please do not violate my copyright by copying and printing or posting this online without having students go to my website to view it. I cab offer my materials free to students and teachers because I make a small amount of money from advertising when people view my website.

Hazel Carlos on January 21, 2019:

This information is so clear. May I share this information with my students in English 1302? The students have been assigned annotated bibliographies.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on November 24, 2018:

Hi Jessica! I'm so glad this was helpful and congratulations for getting up the courage to finish your degree. I recently met a woman in her 60s who is going to graduate with her AA degree this month and is planning to keep on going! I have lot of other articles on different kinds of writing. If you type the kind of paper you are doing in Google and then add my name or Owlcation, you can find them. Good luck!

Jessica on November 23, 2018:

Thank you so much. This was so helpful. I am back in school trying to finally finish my degree after decades. I have to write a summary of a Case study. Then I have to write my first paper after decades.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on November 14, 2018:

You should keep the same name of items in the summary article that cannot be easily changed to a synonym. However, you should not keep the same structure of sentences. Actually, in a summary your sentences will only tell the broader picture not the details. Therefore, your sentences should not match the original.

Grasstow on November 14, 2018:

should i keep the same structure and name of items?

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on November 08, 2018:

You can just use the name of the first author and add "et al" which means "and others."

Blessed on November 07, 2018:

I know I should begin a summary with the author's name and so forth, but if there are 4 authors, how do I go about including their names.

happiness on November 03, 2018:

thanks, the site made me a good summary writer in class.

Feri on October 20, 2018:

Thank you sooo much for all the information!!

now I know how to write a summary with your helpful words and examples... great

Ade on October 15, 2018:

OMG....This is the best explanation i have ever seen..now i know what needs to be done with my assignment. You're the best. Thank you.

Muhammad SyaFiq bin Othman on September 21, 2018:

Your explanation very helpful and easy to understand. Now I can write good article summary for my assignment. Thank you very much.

Amal on September 09, 2018:

Finally, someone actually gets to the point. And gives a practical, useful informations. I personal appreciate that. Now, I’m ready to write a summary.

Florence on August 07, 2018:

Thank you for the information of how to write a summary. Very helpful. I am a first year at university, and referencing was a challenge for me. This article is definitely going to help me.

leah on July 14, 2018:

Your explanations on how to write a summary article helps a lot.

susan on June 21, 2018:

I caught very effective information from your explanation about how to write a summary of which kinds of words and how i can start the sentences...thank you

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 21, 2018:

Hi Syawal, I do not have any articles about how to write short stories. That is a good idea!

syawal on May 20, 2018:

Thank you very much bcoz from this article I can understand a little bit about how to write a summary.Did you have article about how to write simple short story?

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 14, 2018:

Cyrille, the last sentence depends on whether your job is just to write a summary or whether you are also supposed to respond with what you thought about the article. If you are supposed to respond, then the last sentence should tell whether you were convinced by the article. If you are just summarizing, then the last sentence should say what the author wants to convince the audience to do, say, think, or believe.

Cyrille Brown on May 14, 2018:

Hi! I don't know how to make the conclusion of the summary of an argumentative article

Ekr on May 10, 2018:

10q This is very helpful .

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 04, 2018:

Hi Mudradevi, You can do either present or past tense if you are consistent throughout, but generally, I think present tense works best. It would go like this:

In "We See the Future," John Joshua states that...

The author describes his thoughts about...

mudradevi on May 03, 2018:

do we need to write summary in past or present tense?

Jennifer on April 25, 2018:

We are using this in class right now. The teacher love this, because this is how sh want us to write. She loves this!!

ZWIDEH SHECKEDNER KHUNGA NKHOMBO on April 16, 2018:

Thank you for helping me...its a very good work

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 03, 2018:

Hi Bethany, I think that you are quite correct except that the response would not be personal. Instead, your response would be an outline of how you would teach that topic. I think I would try to clarify with the person who gave you this assignment whether they want an outline or a narrative (paragraph form) of writing. I think that summarizing the article as a beginning would be helpful, especially if you are going to teach this information. I don't have information about developing curriculum, but I do have some articles about outlining an explaining article, which is what this probably would be like.

Bethany on March 02, 2018:

I was told to read several articles and then write a "curriculum outline" over each one (this is for a job where I will be required to teach certain topics, closely related to the required reading).

I feel this is similar to a summary but maybe it should be formatted like an outline for an essay. I would love to hear what you think! I'm very confused.

Carly Ownbey on February 07, 2018:

i am so glad you made this because i am not good at this kind of stuff

Cynthia Bass on January 21, 2018:

Thanks for helping me. I haven't wrote a summary in awhile and this will help me.

Mirkomil on January 20, 2018:

thank you a lot. monday i have english exam and it will help me

mari on January 02, 2018:

Thank you for helping me. Actually it's my first time taking help from you. So thank you. I'll make sure to take help from you next time as well when I'll again get in some problem.I'm sure you will help me again. So thank you again.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on January 01, 2018:

Yes Mari- a definition could be appropriate if the audience may not know the word or how it is used in that context.

mari on December 30, 2017:

Can i write a definition in my summary? Will it be okay to write it?

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on November 29, 2017:

Hi Karen, you can use the actual noun of the person's name, or a word that describes the person or their relationship to you. For example:, mom, teacher, friend, the woman wearing purple, the lady with long hair, the middle-aged woman, Mrs. Jones or my friend.

Karen Kenny on November 29, 2017:

Good Morning! I was just wondering if you might have a list of words to use in place of "I", "you" and "we"?

Karen Kenny on November 14, 2017:

This article has been so HELPFUL! Thank You!

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on October 31, 2017:

Hi Helencab! I'm so glad that my ideas are helping your students. One of the most enjoyable parts of posting these articles has been to see people all over the world using them.

Helencab on October 31, 2017:

Thanks a lot! I have been looking for something like this for my students of 2nd Bachillerato (in Spain) and it's perfect!

marii on October 24, 2017:

great tip!

giselle on October 14, 2017:

Thanks for the grateful tips!

Hanane Moumaddid on October 06, 2017:

thank you so much ...

Jorge Kwyntin on October 01, 2017:

it helps a lot for summary writers like me..

thank.........you VK

Natha on September 23, 2017:

Great article, very helpful :)

netha on September 18, 2017:

nice work

Rebecca on September 02, 2017:

Congratulations, this was very helpful to me.

Thank you

Raphy on August 29, 2017:

extremely helpful. thanks

Avian Report on August 28, 2017:

This is a nice piece of work!

Thank you.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 10, 2015:

Hi Edu--If you assignment is to write about an article, then you usually need to summarize (tell the main ideas of the article) before you talk about it. Sometimes you summarize the whole article and then tell what you think. Other times, you might just summarize smaller parts of the essay and mix it with what you think. You might want to see my article on How to Write a Reading Response paper.

Edu on August 10, 2015:

I would like to write an essay from an article.

Is there any other way of writing the essay or summarizing the article is the only means to be my essay?

Sourat on November 26, 2013:

I love it very very satisfied

unverm on October 17, 2013:

Thanks a lot...

Zukiswa Dube on April 13, 2013:

thankyou so much this is loud and clear i was so frustrated don't know where to start my summary.

Eldar on March 26, 2012:

That's the most clear explanation that i've been looking. Thank You though

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 25, 2012:

So glad to have you join us on Hubpages xstatic. I've been a teacher of writing for years and I've published in print, but I love this medium because you get a chance to have much more feedback. And you can always go back and edit your Hubs! Besides, you can write on anything you like.

Jim Higgins from Eugene, Oregon on February 25, 2012:

I bookmarked this one. I was an English major, but have not written formally for a long time. When I strated to write my first Hub the other day, based on an article I read elsewhere and some personal experience, I decided I needed to brush up on the process. This is a big help, and I will read more of your Hubs.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 24, 2012:

Thanks donnaisabella--what a pretty name! Glad you find the information useful. I really only started posting here for my own students and have been amazed at how many people look at my pages each day on writing. However, I've written these up because so many times I felt the books didn't explain very well. Best wishes!

Isabella Mukanda from Fort Myers on February 24, 2012:

Very helpful information. Thanks for sharing. I wish I had this 26 years ago, what a difference it would have made. But guess what, I will still need it in a little while!

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on January 26, 2012:

I'm so glad I've helped you Asmaa. So many English books really don't give very clear directions. That is why I've written up a summary of the best instructions I've found over the years in different textbooks (plus my own ideas!). Hope your essay goes well!

Asmaa on January 26, 2012:

Thank you so much!!!!

You helped me a lot!

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