How to write a summary

Today we have discussed the topic summary writing. However, there are still some aspects I want to address. First, keep in mind that the overall aim of a summary is to give an account of the most important facts, ideas, events of a certain text. Your addressee is a reader who is unfamiliar with the original text and who depends on your summary to gain access to the necesseray information.

If you browse different text books and/or the internet you will find many tips and techniques on how to write a summary. Many of these are included in the worksheet I handed out today and which will serve as our reference guide for this class. However, unfortunately there will still be points that need to be clarified:

I) ‚Present events in chronological order‘: Especially when dealing with literary texts this aspect can be problematic. A literary text will often reverse the chronological order to create a certain effect, e.g. suspense. If this is the case, it might be better to state this fact at the beginning of your summary and then to summarize the text paragraph by paragraph or chapter by chapter. In short: Presenting the events in chronological order does not necessarily mean that you write your summary chronologically, but that you make visible and comprehensible what the chronological order of the events in the story is.

II) ‚Use the present tense‘: Your summary should use the present tense. However, if you refer to events that have happend in the past or if you refer to future events you actually have to use other tenses as well.

Here you can find a possible solution to the task: Summarize the short story ‚Red‘ by Dallas Woodburn

 

 

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