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English: skills for learning
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5.4 Organising a summary: order of information

Sometimes, a summary writer changes the order of the original material to make it fit with their own text. This is acceptable, provided that the meaning of the original text is kept the same.

Activity 11

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Read the following two texts and compare the original with the summary.

How has the student changed the order in the summary? Does the summary still make sense, and does it include all the relevant points made in the original text?

Type your answers in the box below before comparing your answer with mine.

Original text

The global nature of the HIV/AIDS crisis means that it needs to be tackled at a global level. In other words, international action is required. A key organisation at the international level is the United Nations (UN). This is a form of global government. It is funded by contributions from governments around the world and has its own parliament, the General Assembly, in which practically every country in the world has a seat. The General Assembly meets regularly to discuss and vote on important issues.

Summary

The United Nations (UN) is a key organisation in the fight against AIDS because of its international nature. The UN is funded by several countries and has a General Assembly at which most nations are represented, so it is in an ideal position to tackle global issues.

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Answer

The numbers and bold text below show how the information in the original paragraph has been reordered in the summary. The parts which have been omitted from the summary are not in bold. Nevertheless, the summary flows logically and still contains the key points.

Original text

[1]The global nature of the HIV/AIDS crisis means that it needs to be tackled at a global level. [2] In other words, international action is required. [3]A key organisation at the international level is the United Nations (UN). [4]This is a form of global government. [5] It is funded by contributions from governments around the world and has its own parliament, the General Assembly, in which practically every country in the world has a seat. [6] The General Assembly meets regularly to discuss and vote on important issues.

Summary

[3]The United Nations (UN) is a key organisation in the fight against AIDS because of its international nature. [5] The UN is funded by several countries and [6] has a General Assembly at which most nations are represented, so [1] it is in an ideal position to tackle global issues.