How to Summarize Text

When we’re dealing with summarizing a text, you must be able to discover a story’s key point.

So actually, summaries are merely stating a story’s main point.

When you’ve been reading a whole story, you just need to take the most important things and write about those.

If you ever took a look at a book’s back, you probably will have seen a summary there. And so, that’s the summary of a book that may count 100 or 200 pages.

Authors summarize their books on the back so you’ll get a notion of what the books are about. So, this is what you should do to make a summary. Now, there are 4 (four) key elements that you must keep in mind when writing your summary.

The four key elements:

1. Focus and I said this before, on the story’s main idea.

2. Then Focus only on the key points and don’t worry about the details. You should worry about the essential points that are contributing to the general storyline.

3. The 3rd point is that you need to be focusing on is the story’s conclusion as, in practically all stories, there is some sort of problem. Usually, a story’s entire plot is structured around some sort of problem in the story, and this problem will be resolved.

So focus on what’s happening in the story’s conclusion. So you should focus on the story’s conclusion and write about that in summary as well. So, you’ll be writing about the story’s main idea, the main points, the main problem, and maybe slightly about the story’s main character, to go on with talking about the story’s end or conclusion, and in what way the character dealt with his or her problem.

4. Then comes the 4th point, which is a kind of long one. You need to focus on all the key information that the author wants you, the reader, to know. You may have noticed that, throughout the story, there were specific elements that an author wants his readers to understand. Now, what could those specific important elements be? Include those in your summary.

Now summaries are typically one (1) paragraph long. This isn’t very long, and it doesn’t have to belong. You don’t focus on details. You just focus on the overall idea of the story.

So, remember that you’re just trying to find important information elements and don’t get interested in the story’s details. Don’t even try to find the story’s details; just focus on the story’s main idea.

There will be cases, though, that you could have to write a summary of a pretty long story that has multiple scenes and settings. In such a case, your summary could need to have a few paragraphs’ that will outline the key points of the story’s major parts.

The summaries of long stories must always have a conclusion for wrapping up the entire story as well.

So, as I said, summaries are usually one paragraph long, but when we’re dealing with really long stories with many different settings, different scenes, and many problems that happen throughout the story’s plot, then you could be writing one paragraph for each of the major parts or main points of that story.

In that case, for those summaries, you’ll be writing more paragraphs and end up with a conclusion that will sort of summarize the whole story.

So, only produce a summary that’s longer than 1 (one) paragraph when you feel that you can’t include all relevant and important elements in just one paragraph. Again, the summary is stating a story’s main point.

Video Summary and Quiz

1. Which of the following does NOT belong in a summary?

Question 1 of 2

2. Generally, how long should a summary be?

Question 2 of 2


Next Lesson: Supporting Details


Last Updated on October 18, 2020.

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