Text only Version of the Online Writing Lab
St. Louis Community College - Meramec

Learn How to Summarize

What is a Summary?

  1. A summary states the main idea of the text.
  2. It includes major examples, statistics or facts that support the main idea.
  3. It does not include minor information, repetitive examples or insignificant details.
  4. It is written in your own words.
  5. It is always shorter than the original text.


Why Should You Summarize?

Your purpose for writing a summary is to condense someone else's words to just their main ideas, but written in your own words.

For example, you might be asked to summarize any of the following types of text material:

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Revised July 2006
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