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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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5.1 What is a summary?

A summary can be a few words or many pages long. One of the main reasons for summarising is to give a reader your understanding of what you have read. In the next activity you are asked to think about what a summary is.

Activity 8

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

Summarising is an active process. Which of the following actions are involved?

When you summarise, you should:

a. 

Make the summary shorter than the original.


b. 

Miss out some of the details contained in the original text.


c. 

Write in your own words.


d. 

Express the original writer’s facts and opinions accurately.


e. 

Give an opinion about the original writer’s views.


f. 

Compress the same meaning into fewer words.


The correct answers are a, b, c, d and f.

a. 

You reduce the length.


b. 

You reject information in the original: you include key points but reject some of the detail.


c. 

You reword to show that you have understood, and to avoid plagiarism.


d. 

You reproduce the original writer’s facts and opinions.


f. 

You repackage the information into a lower number of words.