How Do You Write a Summary of a Text?

Begin a summary of a text with an introductory sentence that includes the text's title and author. Next, restate the thesis or purpose of the text, and write the summary using your own words, with very few or no quotes from the original text.

In general, limit the summary to the main points of the text without the minor details or examples. Include critical details, such as key names, dates, events, words and numbers to preserve the text's meaning. Enclose any direct quotes from the text in quotation marks. Do not write any personal opinions or interpretations of the text such as those that appear in analytical writing. Consider the audience for whom the summary is written and adjust the writing to reflect the proper emphasis.

Organize the summary so that it is approximately one-third the length of the original text and organized in the same order as the text. To summarize short texts, such as articles or papers, write a summary that is only a few sentences or a few paragraphs long. Longer texts, such as books, require a summary the length of an article or academic paper, while the summary of an extremely long book is sometimes the length of a short book.