Best Ideas on how to Write a Summary Essay with Examples

Best ideas on how to write a summary essay with examples

13 Apr Best ideas on how to write a summary essay with examples

Writing a summary essay requires compiling a lot of information in a concise, need and understandable manner. The summary essay is written for others to read and it includes an overview of the original text. The purpose of writing a summary essay is to convey your understanding and essence of the source text to the readers so that they do not have to read it in its entirety. The summary essays can be written on scientific works, novels, books, TV shows, movies, articles or research papers. It is very important when writing a summary essay to keep a connection with the source text. Your interpretation of the text me sometimes lead the readers to distort or misunderstand the meaning of the original text. Stay away from criticizing or analysing the original text as the purpose of this type of essays is only to summarise the original text. The summary essay written by you should serve as a substitute for the source text and the person reading your essay should be able to understand the original work completely without having to go through it.

The steps to be followed for writing a summary essay are:

  1. Read the source text thoroughly one paragraph at a time. You should be able to understand the feeling of the writing style of the author, the tone and mood and the main ideas expressed through it.
  2. Divide the entire text into smaller sections. This will make it easier for you to understand and grasp the text and highlight the key points from each section. You can also mark the words and sentences that you wish to refer to in your summary and the ones that should not be included.
  3. Once you are finished reading the entire text, go through the highlighted sentences and key points.
  4. Write down one sentence that helps you to convey the main idea of the entire text. This sentence should include the name of the author and the title of the source text.
  5. Write the introduction for your summary essay which presents the main ideas of the entire text in brief.

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6. Continue to structure the summary essay with the help of the underlined sentences framing them in your own words. Remember to change the word order when forming the sentences. You can state the ideas and the key points identified by you and expand on them by including examples from the original text.

7. Only include important information from the source text and do not describe any minor or insignificant feature or incident in the summary essay.

8. After summarising the main ideas of the source text, write a concluding paragraph to finish your summary essay if specifically told by your teacher.

9. Go through your essay once again to ensure that it flows well and remove any unnecessary details. Add text to it if you find that it is not enough but the summary essay should be as concise as possible.

We have also included a few examples and sample format for a summary essay to provide you with a better understanding and assistance in writing one.

  • Introduction

This should only be one or two sentences that sum up the main idea of the source text. The introduction includes the title of the source, the name of the author of the source text and sometimes also include any pertinent background information related to the author or about the text included in the summary essay.

Example: Author Jon Jones has argued in “How the Civil War Began” that the reason for the beginning of the civil war was not slavery but instead it was a result of greed for cash and the clash of the cultures.


  • Body

This can be one or more paragraphs. For the body of the summary essay, you should paraphrase and condensed the original piece. Make sure that you include all the important data and omit any minor or insignificant points in it. The body should also include one or more of the examples or illustrations included by the author in the source text. Stay away from including any of your own ideas, interpretations, metaphors and illustrations in the summary essay. You simply have to repeat what the author has said in the source text in a few words. You are only using your own words in the summary essay and not including any of your own ideas in it.

Examples: Here are a few samples of the sentences included in a summary essay.

  • The issues addressed by the author (author’s name) in his book (name of the book) are ______________________.
  • The main claim made by the author in this article is that ______________________ and the sub claims are ______________________.
  • The author has argued that _______________________ while the others argue that _____________________. The author has refuted all these ideas by _________________.
  • The conclusion of the (source text) is that ____________________.


  • Conclusion

Customarily, a summary essay does not include a Conclusion and when the source text has been summarised the summary essay is concluded. However, if you are teacher specifically asks you to include a concluding paragraph you can write one.

The importance of summary writing lies in the whole idea that it provides a good opportunity for a writer to make a clear position. Through summary writing skills, one should be able to give an explanation of what the main point is and avoid any hanging ideas or realizations of the reader.

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