A summary is a condensed version of a larger piece of content, capturing its essence without delving into minutiae. It serves as a quick snapshot, allowing readers to grasp the main points of a work without engaging with the full text or media.

Summaries are ubiquitous in our daily lives, appearing on everything from movie posters to academic journal abstracts. Despite their prevalence, crafting an effective summary can be challenging for many.

This guide aims to demystify the process of summary writing, offering practical tips and examples to help you hone this crucial skill. Before we dive into the how-to, let’s address a fundamental question:

What is a summary?

A summary is a concise overview of a longer piece of content, such as an article, book, movie, or speech. 

It captures the main ideas and key points of the original work in a condensed form, typically about one-third to one-quarter of the original length. 

The goal of a summary is to provide readers with a quick understanding of the source material’s core message without including minor details or personal interpretations.

Examples of summary

Examples of summaries can be found on various platforms, including movie databases and anime websites. 

Let’s look at two examples:

From IMDb, here’s a summary of “The Godfather”:

“Don Vito Corleone, head of a mafia family, decides to hand over his empire to his youngest son, Michael. However, his decision unintentionally puts the lives of his loved ones in grave danger.”

This summary beautifully encapsulates the essence of the movie without revealing major spoilers. It introduces the main character, Don Vito Corleone, and the central conflict of passing on his empire. 

It also hints at the consequences of this decision, creating intrigue without giving away specific plot points or twists.

From MyAnimeList, here’s a summary of “Attack on Titan” (Shingeki no Kyojin):

“Centuries ago, mankind was slaughtered to near extinction by monstrous humanoid creatures called Titans, forcing humans to hide in fear behind enormous concentric walls. What makes these giants truly terrifying is that their taste for human flesh is not born out of hunger but what appears to be out of pleasure. To ensure their survival, the remnants of humanity began living within defensive barriers, resulting in one hundred years without a single titan encounter. However, that fragile calm is soon shattered when a colossal Titan manages to breach the supposedly impregnable outer wall, reigniting the fight for survival against the man-eating abominations.

After witnessing a horrific personal loss at the hands of the invading creatures, Eren Yeager dedicates his life to their eradication by enlisting into the Survey Corps, an elite military unit that combats the merciless humanoids outside the protection of the walls. Eren, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and his childhood friend Armin Arlert join the brutal war against the Titans and race to discover a way of defeating them before the last walls are breached.”

This summary effectively introduces the world of Attack on Titan, its main conflict, and the key characters without delving into intricate plot details. It sets up the premise of humanity’s struggle against the Titans and introduces Eren, Mikasa, and Armin as central figures. 

The summary provides enough context to understand the story’s setting and main themes without spoiling major plot developments or twists that occur throughout the series.

How to write a summary in five easy steps

Writing a summary is an essential skill that helps condense complex information into a concise, easily digestible format. Whether you’re a student, professional, or casual reader, the ability to create an effective summary can enhance your understanding of texts and improve your communication of key ideas. 

The following five-step approach offers a straightforward method to craft accurate and informative summaries, allowing you to capture the essence of any text without losing crucial information. 

By following these steps, you’ll be able to produce summaries that effectively represent original works while being accessible to your readers. Let’s explore each step, beginning with the fundamental first stage: thoroughly reading the text.

1. Read the Text Thoroughly

The first step is fairly obvious: read the material you’re summarizing carefully and completely. Whether it’s an article, book, or video content, give it your full attention. Avoid the temptation to skim or rely on other summaries. This direct engagement ensures you don’t miss crucial points and allows you to form your own understanding of the content. If it’s a complex text, you might need to read it multiple times to grasp all the nuances.

2. Take Notes of the Key Points

As you read, jot down the main ideas and essential details. Focus on capturing the core message of each section or paragraph. Don’t worry about writing in full sentences at this stage; bullet points or short phrases work well. Your notes should highlight the author’s primary arguments, significant facts, and any pivotal moments in the narrative. This step helps you distill the content and creates a foundation for your summary.

3. Identify Main Arguments

Review your notes and look for the overarching themes or arguments. What is the author trying to convey? What evidence or examples do they use to support their points? Try to boil down the content to its most fundamental ideas. This step requires critical thinking as you separate the essential information from supporting details. Remember, a summary should capture the essence of the original work, not every minor point.

4. Write First Draft of Summary

Now, transform your notes into a coherent piece of writing. Start with a sentence that introduces the original work’s title, author, and main topic. Then, present the key points you’ve identified in a logical order, using your own words as much as possible. Aim to be concise yet comprehensive, capturing the main ideas without getting bogged down in specifics. Your summary should be significantly shorter than the original text, typically about one-third to one-quarter of its length.

5. Edit & Proofread

Once you have your first draft, it’s time to refine it. Read through your summary carefully, checking for clarity and accuracy. Ensure that you’ve captured the author’s main points without inserting your own opinions or interpretations. Look for areas where you can be more concise or where you might need to add a bit more explanation for clarity. Check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It’s often helpful to step away from your summary for a short while before this final review, as it allows you to approach the text with fresh eyes.

Use Blainy AI to summarize articles

Writing a summary is a crucial skill, but it can be time-consuming and challenging, especially when dealing with complex or lengthy texts. This is where Blainy AI’s summarizer feature comes in handy. Blainy offers a powerful AI-driven tool that can quickly analyze and condense articles, saving you valuable time and effort.

To use Blainy’s summarizer, simply input the text or article you want to summarize into the tool. Blainy’s advanced AI algorithms will then process the content, identifying key points and main ideas. Within moments, you’ll receive a concise summary that captures the essence of the original text.

easily write an article summary using blainy AI summarizer

This feature is particularly useful when you need to quickly grasp the main points of an article or when you’re dealing with multiple sources. While it’s still important to develop your own summarizing skills, Blainy’s summarizer can be an excellent starting point or a time-saving tool when you’re in a pinch.

Remember, while AI tools like Blainy are incredibly helpful, they work best when combined with your own critical thinking and understanding of the subject matter. Use Blainy’s summary as a foundation, and then apply the following five steps to refine and personalize your summary if needed. 

Final thoughts

Mastering summary writing is a valuable skill that enhances both academic and professional pursuits. While our five-step process provides a solid foundation, tools like Blainy AI’s summarizer can significantly streamline the task. This AI-powered feature quickly analyzes texts and generates concise summaries, saving time and effort. 

However, it’s crucial to use such tools as a starting point rather than a replacement for critical thinking. The ideal approach combines Blainy’s efficiency with your own analysis and understanding. 

As you practice summarizing, whether with AI assistance or on your own, focus on capturing main ideas concisely and accurately in your own words. 

This hybrid method of utilizing technology while developing personal skills equips you to effectively handle the information-rich landscape of modern academics and professional life.

Frequently asked questions 

What is a summary?

A summary is a concise overview of a longer text, capturing its main ideas and key points. It’s a condensed version that presents the essence of the original content without including minor details or examples. A good summary should be able to stand alone, giving readers a clear understanding of the source material’s core message without needing to read the full text.

How long is a summary?

The length of a summary can vary depending on the purpose and the length of the original text. Generally, a summary should be about 10-25% of the original text’s length. For academic papers, summaries are often limited to 300-500 words. For books, they might be a single page or several pages long. The key is to keep it as brief as possible while still conveying all the essential information.

What’s the difference between an abstract and a summary?

While both abstracts and summaries provide condensed versions of longer works, they serve different purposes:

  • An abstract is typically used for academic or scientific papers. It’s usually very short (100-300 words) and appears at the beginning of the paper. It outlines the research question, methodology, results, and conclusions.
  • A summary can be longer and is more versatile. It can be used for various types of texts, not just academic papers. A summary focuses on conveying the main ideas and key points of the entire work, often including more detail than an abstract.

What is a good example of a summary?

Here’s a brief example of a summary of the fairy tale “Cinderella“:

When Cinderella’s cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq and from her Fairy Godmother.

This summary captures the main plot points and themes of the story without going into specific details, providing a clear overview of the tale in just a few sentences.

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