Summary writing or summarizing as it is called is a really useful skill. That is especially true for writers and students as they are the ones most exposed to writing. Teachers frequently assign summary writing tasks to students. That can include, summarizing a book, a chapter of a book, or an article/essay.
Writers on the other hand may have to create concise content so that their audience can read it in a short amount of time.
For example, a business writer may have to create a summary of a proposal/plan or presentation that their audience can read first in order to be better prepared for the real content.
So, the point is that summarizing is useful and is used a lot, so, it is better to learn how to do it. In this article, we will teach you how to summarize an essay.
How to Summarize an Essay?
Summarizing an essay has a few major steps. Follow them, and you too will be able to effectively write summaries of all types of essays.
1. Read the Essay and Find Out the Main Argument
Essays are usually argumentative. They start by mentioning an issue and proceed to present arguments to deal with said issue. The point here is to understand what these arguments are.
Typically, there is one central argument and a bunch of supporting arguments. it is your job to find them out. You can only do that if you read the essay and understand it. Without understanding, you won’t be able to summarize the essay effectively.
To help you understand, keep a diary with you, and note down anything you feel is important to the central theme of the essay. This diary of notes will be revised multiple times to see if you have captured the correct points and after the revisions are done, you will be able to clearly see the main points.
2. Maintain the Logical Structure
You are not restating anything in a summary, you are simply making it shorter to read. So, it makes sense that you follow the same logical flow as the original author when writing a summary.
This also holds true when you are taking notes. The notes should be in the same order as the original essay. Let’s take this essay from our blog as an example; Benefits of Morning Walk.
The summary of this essay is as follows:
- Man’s life is filled with burdens, anxieties, and diseases, lacking peace of mind and relaxation.
- Morning walks and exercise are essential for improving health and well-being.
- Parks and grounds provide a refreshing environment with trees, plants, and fresh air.
- Regular morning walks help in reducing metabolic, cardiac, and respiratory disorders.
- Morning walks offer beautiful views, greenery, birds, and cleanliness, refreshing the mind.
- Activities during morning walks include jogging, light exercises, yoga, games, meditation, and laughing clubs.
- Morning walks provide opportunities for socializing, meeting acquaintances, exchanging pleasantries, and forming bonds.
- Benefits of morning walks include increased energy, punctuality, better food habits, enhanced mood, and a sharper mind.
Overall, morning walks are a perfect exercise that not only improves physical health but also brings numerous additional benefits to one’s daily life.
In this summary, we can see that the logical flow of the real essay is maintained. The essay starts by explaining that daily life is stressful, morning walks help relieve that stress by improving health. Then it goes on to list the advantages of taking walks in parks. More benefits are listed and the summary is closed. And this is the same logical flow as the original essay.
3. Cut All Unnecessary Details
In summary, unnecessary details are not required. They only add to the length of the write-up and that is not the point of the summary.
So, what kinds of things are considered unnecessary? Examples are not necessary to add to the summary. In the essay we used in our previous examples, extra details such as the presence of laughing clubs, their activities, and descriptions of people doing things in the parks are not necessary. The summary only needs to include the benefits of morning walks, not the description of other people doing their activities.
Similarly, minor details are not necessary either. They can be safely cut from the essay during the summarization. The essay that we summarized in the previous step had plenty of small details such as
“There are trees and plants that emit life-giving oxygen.”
This line was said in relation to parks. Most people already know this, so there is no need to write it in the summary. In this way, you can cut away everything that you don’t require and stick with strictly what is necessary. If you do it right, you will have a very concise summary of an essay very soon.
Alternative Method to Write an essay summary
If you feel like that is a bit difficult to do, or maybe you are short on time and require a summary ASAP, then you can try this approach.
In this approach, you do not have to manually summarize anything, instead, it will be done automatically. Basically, you have to use a summarizer. A summarizer is a tool that can create a concise version of any content that is given to it.
There are many summarizing tools available online and you can select one that you like. To use a summarizer, you have to do the following.
- Input your essay
- Select the length of the summary
- Confirm the summary generation
And the tool will give you an output. This simple three-step process is applicable to most summarizers available. In the image below, you can see the summary of the essay we used in our example (benefits of morning walks) made with the help of a summarizer.
However, even if you do use a summarizer to write the summary of an essay, you need to proofread the results to check if the summary is according to your standards or not.
And that’s how you can create a summary of an essay. We mentioned three steps for creating a summary if you want to do it manually. And we also showed you how to use a summarizer if you want to do it automatically.
Ultimately, the manual method will be more beneficial in the long run as it will improve your mental faculties. But in case of emergencies, you can use the tools as well.