A summary is a brief restatement, in your own words, of the content of a source—a passage, an article, a chapter, or a book.


Summary Assignment Rakesh Mittoo





Inter-Departmental Correspondence

DATE: September 4, 2019


TO: All Communication Students in GMGT 2010, Sections A01-A04


FROM: Rakesh Mittoo, Instructor


SUBJECT: Summary Assignment


For this assignment, you will be writing a summary of the chapter “Knowing Yourself”

excerpted from Warren Bennis’s book On Becoming a Leader. Your summary should be

approximately 550 words.


A summary is a brief restatement, in your own words, of the content of a source—a passage, an

article, a chapter, or a book. This restatement should focus on the central idea of the source, and,

therefore, a summary can be only one or two sentences long. A longer, more complete,

summary, which is the kind you will be crafting, will state the central idea of the source and

include the main ideas that support or explain the central idea. It may even refer to some

important illustrative examples.


A summary is hierarchical in structure, for it begins with the most important central idea,

followed by the supporting ideas and examples. A good summary will even reflect the order in

which the ideas are presented in the source. In this summary, condense the ideas in this chapter

as completely as possible and mirror its organization as well.


To read this chapter (or any article) and produce the draft of your summary, use the following




 Write in the margins as you read the article. Jot down brief notes that identify content and

summarize or explain ideas.


 Don’t highlight unimportant details, examples, or redundancies.


 Locate and underline the thesis or central idea of the article. If you can’t locate an obvious

thesis statement, write one that states the central idea.


 Then, identify the major topic divisions/sections of the article. Subject headings may be

useful guides to this organization. Highlight all of the supporting ideas in each section.





Summary Assignment Rakesh Mittoo





Writing the Draft


– Begin your summary by referring to the author and the title, and by writing down the

thesis/central idea in your own words.


– Following this information, give a brief summary of each major section of the article, condensing the supporting ideas.


– Select a few significant, illustrative examples or specifics that support the main ideas.


– Write the summary, imitating the organizational pattern of the article/chapter.

Editing Strategies


– Use vivid and exact language to make your summary clear and interesting. Refer to the

thesaurus, if necessary.


– Use effective transitional expressions between statements within a paragraph and between



– Use present tense in referring to the author and the article. For instance, the “author states”

instead of the “author stated”; the “article contains” instead of the “article contained.”


– In your first reference to the author, use both names; for subsequent references, use only the

last name.


– Make sure you retain the same tone and emphasis as the writer maintains.


– Don’t include your opinions on the issues.


– Don’t include direct quotations from the article. Present the information in your own words.


– Combine sentences wherever possible and appropriate.


– Eliminate wordiness, redundant expressions, or unnecessary details.


– Rewrite and edit until this version meets the required length.



DUE: See the Course Outline




Summary Assignment Rakesh Mittoo



A paraphrase: Replaces the language of the original with your own Renders the idea as clearly and accurately as possible Helps clarify abstract or complex material How to do a paraphrase

 Understand the source passage(s).

 Substitute with your own words.

 Change the structures of sentences.

 Rearrange your sentences so that they read smoothly.

 Do not imitate style or plagiarize. (Do not copy the language of the source)

 Acknowledge the source. Do not use quotes in a paraphrase or a summary

Paraphrase Techniques

1. Change a sentence or part of it from one grammatical form to another:

 Certainly, life exists on other planets. It is certain that life exists on other planets.

 Weather conditions being favourable, we shall fly. If the weather conditions are favourable, we shall fly.


 The girl with dark hair is my sister. The dark haired girl is my sister.

2. Use synonyms when you are paraphrasing:

 A biting wind caused them to shiver. (piercing, chilling, nipping) Example for Practice: It was a beautiful day, and I didn’t want to be inside.

Paraphrase Summary

Recasts the message into your language Same

Has roughly the same length Is a short or compressed version. Your summary is 600 words.

Objective: 1. Accurate restatement. 2. No opinion Same

Doesn’t copy the language of the source. Same

Reflects the order in which the ideas are presented Same

Does not use quotes Same

Maintains the tone and emphasis Same

Links ideas Same

Does not follow hierarchical structure Is hierarchical: central idea, supporting ideas, and some specifics




Summary Assignment Rakesh Mittoo




Underline the most important information: thesis/central idea. Look for key words to identify main ideas.


 Digressions

 Repetitions

 Nonessential background

 Extended examples unless very central FOCUS ON THE IMPORT OF THE EXAMPLE

 Interest-provoking anecdotes

 Minor details


 Main/key ideas for each section

 Follow the logic of ideas and connections between them.



Notice the shape, flow, and overall impression of the whole. COMBINE SECTION SUMMARIES

Here is a paragraph for summary from Rosenblatt’s article in Time magazine:


Anyone who claims it is impossible to get rid of the random violence of today’s mean

streets may be telling the truth, but is also missing the point. Street crime may be

normal in the U.S., but it is not inevitable at such levels, and the fact is that there are

specific reasons for the nation’s incapacity to keep its crime down. Almost all these

reasons can be traced to the American criminal justice system. It is not that there are no

mechanisms in place to deal with American crime, merely that the existing ones are

impractical, inefficient, anachronistic, uncooperative, and often lead to as much civic

destruction as they are meant to curtail.

1. Identify the central idea. 2. Identify the main (supporting) idea. 3. Write one sentence for each. 4. Be selective in word choice, yet convey the complete thought.




Summary Assignment Rakesh Mittoo





Overall Comments on Students’ Summaries and a Checklist

 Incorporate correct name of the author, title of the chapter/article, and the book in your introductory paragraph. Make sure this para also contains the paraphrased central idea

and the overview statement.

 The introductory paragraph should be two to three sentences long.

 Body paragraphs should be at least four to six sentences long.

 Maintain paragraph structure—unity, coherence, and development—in your summary. Especially, try to link ideas together so that your paragraphs are connected.

 Use effective transitional expressions, such as however, therefore, as a result, according to etc., that help to relate ideas. Also, try to combine sentences where needed.

 Do not summarize paragraph by paragraph. For example, you may choose to condense some paragraphs into only one paragraph for your summary.

 Focus on summarizing major ideas from the original or source. As well, capture the logic or development of key or main (supporting) ideas. Choose a few specifics which illustrate

the idea.

 Reflect the structure of the source article/chapter in your summary.

 Establish appropriate distance and context for the material you’re summarizing. Do not comment on the article by praising or criticizing the writer. Do not add your opinion to

the writer’s ideas in the body of your summary or in the last paragraph.

 Maintain the same tone and emphasis as the author’s.

 Be alert to sentence errors: fragments, comma splices, or run-on (fused) sentences.

 Use thesaurus and dictionary to ensure effective and correct use of words to communicate the ideas in the source.

 Format according to MLA/APA guidelines for academic writing: 1-inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right), ragged-right margin (not justified margins), double spacing,

indentation for a new paragraph, and so on.

 Avoid pronoun shifts and the use of “you” pronoun.

 Avoid wordiness as well as short, choppy sentences.

 Do not construct one-sentence paragraphs for summary assignment or other papers. If you have such a paragraph, attach it to the paragraph where it should belong.

 Do not use lists or bullet points for the writer’s ideas or points.

 Do not use headings or subheadings even if the writer uses them.

 Do not use direct quotes for ideas from the article. Present information in your own words.

 Do not omit relevant details that would change the original author’s point of view.

 Avoid font size larger or shorter than 12 point font size.

 Proofread your summary. Check to see that the message will be just as clear to the reader as it is to you. Check for errors in spelling or typos.

 Do not restate the ideas of the article or the chapter in the last paragraph of you summary. The concluding paragraph should not be longer than two or three lines.

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