What is Summary?

A summary is a concise version of a long detailed text while keeping the context clear. A summary can also be called an abstract, synopsis, executive summary or recap of the original. It highlights the main points of the original text, but it is smaller than the main article.

Purpose of Summarizing Service

The main purpose of a summary is to present a smaller, condensed and concise version of the original document that not only highlights the main points, but presents a clear picture of what the original text is all about. It helps a reader to understand what the original text implies, without going through the entire lengthy document. Usually, a summary is one-third of the original text; however, depending on the circumstances, summaries can also be smaller than this. Many summaries are just a page of what is written in ten pages of the original documents. Thus, there is no fixed rule and depending on the requirement of the audience or the reader, the length of a summary varies. It is quite evident though that the basic purpose should be to help the readers/audience understands the main idea of the original content.

Moreover, a summary is very important in areas where readers want to save time and yet want to understand the idea behind the original text. Without summaries, a reader would have to read the entire text that definitely needs a lot of time. For example, if a person has to choose an article that presents a certain topic, he would then instead of reading various articles, he will only read their summaries – it will help him to find out what he requires in a quick manner.

What is Good Summary?

A good summary not only summarizes the content, but does not lose the context of the text. Many summaries might present a smaller and a more concise version of the original text, but loose the context – it is deemed as a bad summary. A good summary is not only a concise representation of the original text but also maintain the context of the content.

Importance of Summary

Summaries are important where a writer wants to present a smaller version of what he has written. As mentioned earlier, summaries are usually one-third of the original document but can be more concise or lengthier depending on the requirement. Nevertheless, there are certain limitations to a very small summary. Generally, a very small summary is considered as a good summary and does not reflect all the main points of the original text. It is bound by the number of words and many important points have to be missed out; therefore, a reader does not get a clear picture of what the original text is all about.

Example of Summary

The example below reflects what a good summary is and how a bad summary misses the main points and brings a too concise version of the original text.

Original Text

This is the original text of Barbara Graham’s “The future of Love, Kiss Romance Goodbye, It’s time for the real thing”. (Adapted from Behrens et al, 9-13, 2001)

What’s most unusual about our culture is our feverish devotion to the belief that romantic love and marriage should be synonymous. Starting with George and Martha [Washington], continuing through Ozzie and Harriet right up to the present day, we have tirelessly tried to formalize, rationalize, legalize, legitimize, politicize and sanitize rapture. This may have something to do with our puritanical roots, as well as our tendency toward oversimplification. In any event, this attempt to satisfy all of our contradictory desires under the marital umbrella must be put in historical context in order to be properly understood“. (Behrens et al, 9-13, 2001)

Unacceptable Summary

Here we can see that the below summary uses a lot of words from the original text and does not present the main idea of the original text.

The example of Geroge and Martha and Ozzie and Harriet we have formalized, rationalized and legalized rapture. Due to this we have a very historical idea of love, marriage and romance. (Behrens et al, 9-13, 2001)

Acceptable Summary

The following summary presents a clear picture of the original text:

         Our tendency towards oversimplification has twisted the idea of romantic love and marriage. Due to stories from the past, our society believes that passionate love always leads to a happy marriage. (Behrens et al, 9-13, 2001).