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Paraphrase follows faithfully the outlines of the text. But if you stand back far enough from the text so as not to see its specific words or smaller details and put down briefly in your own words what you believe the work is about, you will have a summary.

A summary is restating someone else’s words in your words. The goal of summarizing material is to briefly pass along the ideas belonging to another.

How briefly? Well, you could be very brief, summarizing Hamlet, for example, in a single sentence: “A young man, seeking to revenge the murder of his father by his uncle, kills his uncle, but he himself and others die in the process.” Has too much been left out? What do you feel is essential to add? Let us try again. " In Denmark, many centuries ago, a young prince revenged the murder of his father, the king, by his uncle, who had usurped the throne, but the prince himself was killed as were others, and a well-led foreign army had no more trouble successfully invading the decayed and troubled state.” A group-mate might have written this summary: ”From the ghost of his murdered father a young prince learns that his uncle, who has married the prince’s mother, much to the young man’s shame and disgust, is the father’s murderer, and he plots revenge, feigning madness, acting erratically – even to insulting the woman he loves – and, though gaining his revenge, causes the suicide of his beloved and the deaths of others and, finally, of himself ”.

The last two, though accurate enough, sound like two different plays. To summarise means to select and emphasise and so to interpret: that is, not to replicate the text in miniature, as a reduced photograph might replicate the original, but while reducing it to change the angle of vision and even the filter, to represent the essentials as the reader sees them. When you write a summary you should try to be as objective as possible, nevertheless, your summary will never reflect the literary text alone but also your own understanding and attitudes.

Summaries benefit the reader because they offer a concise, general version of the original information. For a busy reader, summaries provide quick overviews of material maintaining the integrity of the original document without distorting the original views, ideas, attitudes, or their importance in the original. The process of summarizing someone else’s material enables you to better understand that material. Finally, summaries allow you to introduce knowledge within a research context: you can summarize someone’s argument in order to analyze or critique it. Summary is more economical than quotation because a summary allows the writer more control over the argument.


There are many different kinds of summaries, and they vary according to the degree to which you interpret or analyze the source. Some are pages long, others just one or two sentences. However, for all types of summary, the writer is responsible for generally stating, in his or her own words, the main information or argument of another writer.


The three most often used types of summaries are restatement (pré cis), descriptive and analytical summary.

Restatement or Pré cis

A pré cis is a shortening, in your own words, of a text of written work. You are to describe as accurately and briefly as possible the substance or ideas contained in a text. Here you take the point-of-view of the original writer. A pré cis gives the main assertion (controlling idea) of the original and should be quite short: six to eight sentences at the longest, regardless of the original’s length. No concrete examples or details (quotes or paraphrases from the original) are used here.

One of the first difficulties to overcome in writing a pré cis is getting the facts straight. You should make no statements unsupported by the text. Make sure that all you say about the text is factually correct.

Another difficulty is putting the material into your own words. To do so, read the work carefully at least three times, put the work aside, then begin writing. This will force you to use your own words without the temptation of borrowing directly from the original.

Selecting the most effective details is also a difficulty. Work to pick out those details that are of greatest significance. Some details are more important than others, and you must chose details according to the scale of importance.

Do not make any conclusions about the original, its audience, or anything relating to the text. Your job is to provide your reader an accurate, but brief, map of the original and what you think about the writing or the topic of the text is not relevant here.

Descriptive Summary

Should give all the information contained in the restatement, but it must go beyond it. The article being summarized becomes an object that you observe and then convey to the reader. Again, you are providing your reader a map of the original, but with a bit more detail than the pré cis.

A descriptive summary should give your reader an effective and accurate map of the original. It should be proportional to the author’s intentions and should let the reader know what kind of evidence the original presents. This explanatory material, still in your own words, may be inserted between the sentences of the pré cis, describing the material used by the writer to make the point discussed by the pré cis.

Still no direct examples or paraphrases from the essay within the summary.


Analytical Summary

With the analytical summary, the writer takes a more active role than in the other types of summary.

Writing an analytical summary, give all the information contained in a descriptive summary, but go beyond it. This summary requires the thematic structure of a central idea, a thesis statement, and support of this thesis using the material of the original. This summary will be an essay discussing the original.

Analytical Summary should give a clear indication of the audience and purpose of the document being analytically summarized. One or two quotations from the document being analytically summarized can be appropriate here.

A judgment should be made concerning the document being analytically summarized. The writer might speculate on the implications (to the audience of your choosing) of the document being analytically summarized.

The analytical summary must still provide the reader of the summary with a clear and effective understanding of the message contained in the original.


Organizing Your Analytical Summary


The introduction should contain the name of the work being summarized, the author, and the general situation surrounding the text. The introduction is the best place to include the thesis around which the remainder of the analytical summary will be built.


The body should build on and directly support the thesis. Present the main ideas as they occur in the essay and demonstrate how that material supports the contention of the thesis. Follow closely the work you are summarizing and use an occasional word, phrase, or passage from the original to give your reader a ‘taste’ of the original.


The conclusion should look back to both the body of your essay and the introduction, possibly explaining how your interpretation/analysis of the original is important in a broader context. This broader context needs a direct relationship to the summary’s thesis.


Summary Conventions

1. Summaries can range in length from two sentences to several pages. In any case, use complete sentences to describe an author’s general points to your reader. Don’t quote extensively. If you quote, use quotation marks and document the quotation. If you fail to document the quotation, even one word that the author used, you are plagiarizing material (presenting another person’s information as if it were your own).

2. Use the author’s last name as a tag to introduce information: " Smith argues that population growth and environmental degradation are causally related."

3. Use the present tense (often called the historical present tense) to summarize the author’s argument.


A good summary is a form of criticism, and learning – largely by practice – how to summarise is an essential part of a journalist’s profession. Although you will seldom be called upon merely to summarise a work, a good deal of writing requires that at some point or other you do summarise – a whole work, a line, or a passage. But be ware: a summary is not a do-it-yourself critical-essay-passage. A mere summary, no matter how accurate, will seldom satisfy the demand for a critical essay. Furthermore, summary is not the answer to any questions you may be asked about a text nor the evidence and conclusion for any topic you may be asked to write about.

2.3. Read the following passage and choose the best restatement summary for it:


In 1860, Santa Ana, some general brought chewing gum from Mexico to the United States. People liked it very much. It was easy to make. They made it in their homes. At first people used the gum from different trees. Then for many years they made chewing gum from “chicle”, the juice of the gum (or “sapodilla”) tree, which grows in places with warm climate like Mexico or Central America. First they took the juice, then heat it to clean it, then added sugar, colour and flavour. When the juice cools it becomes hard. You can cut it into pieces or balls. Then you can cover it with candy. Around 1950 people started to use a different juice called “sorbitol”. It became very popular because it’s better for people’s teeth than sugar. Today gum is still a favourite snack in the USA.



a) Chewing gum is a favourite snack all over the world. Though its history began in the 19th century it is still very popular. They used the juice of a tropical tree to produce that gum.

b) The history of chewing gum goes back to the 19th century to Mexico. The process of chewing gum production is very complicated and requires much time and attention. Chewing gum is quite popular with people.

c) Chewing gum was first introduced in the USA in the 19th century. They use the juice of the gum tree adding some sweet and flavour to produce the gum. It is still a very popular snack.

2.4. Read the article about nuclear power and its possible dangers and match the statements that follow with the correct paragraph number to make the summary of the article. What type of summary have you got?


Nuclear Power

1. For the pupils at Thurso High School the visit to the nearby Dounreay atomic energy plant in Scotland was simply part of their course. But to 18-year-old Sharon Coghill it was much more. Nine years ago Sharon, who lives 12 miles from the station, discovered she had leukaemia. She believes that the proximity of her home to Dounreay may be a contributory factor to her cancer. There is no medical evidence to support her claim – indeed, two independent inquiries have failed to find any connection whatsoever.

2. But five years ago a government committee found that in the area surrounding some, but not all, nuclear power stations, levels of childhood leukaemia were higher than expected. Today, as then, no one is any closer to establishing why this is so. But Sharon says, “I feel that there is no way we can dismiss the idea of a link and I would like to see more investigation.”

3. At present around 15% of the energy we use comes from nuclear power. The Government will probably want that figure to increase to about 20% in the future because gas, coal and oil supplies are dwindling fast – the world’s oil supplies may well run out within 100 years. And burning oil and coal releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere creating the greenhouse effect.

4. Only 1% of the radiation received by most people is the result of discharges from the nuclear power industry. We get five times that from television sets, air travel and watches with luminous dials. 11% comes from medical sources like X-rays, and 87% from environmental sources like naturally radioactive rocks and gases.

5. But the question that most people still want to be answered – whether they live five or 500 miles from a nuclear power station – is: are they really safe?

6. There have been leaks from various nuclear installations – including cities dealing with highly radioactive matter – and whether or not these are dangerous is a point of bitter controversy.

7. Parents of children suffering from leukaemia are convinced of their case. Two years ago, Susan D’Arcy’s daughter, Gemma, who is now five, was diagnosed as suffering from leukaemia. They live near Sellafield, a nuclear reprocessing plant near Cumbria, and Susan believes the plant to be a contributory cause of the cancer. She has joined the 28-strong group of parents trying to sue British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) that runs the plant for compensation. Twelve of their children have leukaemia and six have died of the illness. The case is likely to take between two and three years to come to court.

8. BNFL remains adamant that the parents have no cause for complaint. “A number of possible causes, including viruses, are being investigated and BNFL and the nuclear industry in general are providing financial aid for this work, ”says their spokesman.

9. So what is the answer? The Central Electricity General Board (CEGB) says that nuclear power is essential in supplying our energy needs. But the environmental group Friends of the Earth regards nuclear power as a totally unnecessary and extremely expensive way of dealing with the greenhouse effect – with untold safety problems. It says the solution is to reduce demand by applying more efficient technology.

10. As the argument rages the stakes get higher, with more radioactive waste being produced all the time. Only the generations to come will know who was right. The question is: will they thank us for our decisions?


Lindsay Nicholson

a) A group of parents are trying to sue BNFL

b) Child leukaemia is higher than expected in areas near some nuclear plants.

c) Only the next generation will know who is right.

d) There have been leaks from power plants but the danger is controversial.

e) The CEGB and Friends of the Earth disagree about nuclear power.

f) BNFL doesn’t accept any liability.

g) An 18-year-old girl believes she has leukaemia because she lives near a nuclear plant.

h) People are asking if nuclear stations are safe.

i) The government is increasing the use of nuclear power for important reasons.

j) Only 1% of the radiation most people receive comes from the nuclear industry.


2.5. Write three summaries of different type for the following text:

At a Border Station

One man was going to france on a business trip. He went to the booking-ofice to book a seat for the morning train to paris. The next morning the man arrived at the station and got into a train. The train ran to the schedule and some hours later stopped at a french border station.

The man together with other passengers, who were going abroad went out as he had to register his ticket and passport Then he filled in a declaration and gave it to the customs official.

Some minutes later the customs official allowed the passengers to take their seats in the train and said that he would inspect their luggage.

The man went into his compartment, opened his suitcases, took many boxes of cigarettes out of them and wanted to put all of them into his pockets. but There were too many boxes. When all his pockets full were, he turned to another passenger, who was sitting at the window in the same compartment.

‘Will you please take some of these boxes and put them into your pockets? he asked.

‘Why don’t you leave them in your suitcases? ’

‘Because I don’t want to pay duty on them.’

‘All right, ’ said the passenger, ‘give them to me. But I must tell you that i shall not return them to you/’

‘Why? ’

‘Because I am a French customs official.’


2.6. Write a descriptive summary for the text:


The British Artist Who is a Bigger Name Abroad than at Home

is Happy to be an Outsider

In France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands the British artist David Tremlett is a star. Last March, 1.500 guests packed the new Carre d’Art in Nimes for the opening night of a retrospective of three decades of his work, including four mural-sized wall drawings made specially for the show Next Saturday an exhibition of his drawings opens at the Gemeentes museum in the Hague, while at the end of November a larger, modified version of the Nimes retrospective transfers to the Barcelona.

Between planes, Tremlett lives with his wife (the gallery owner) and their two small children in Hertfordshire, but a t the moment he is in Amiens negotiating with the city over a proposal to turn an old warehouse into a permanent setting for his work.

Tremlett one is of those British artists who are far more better known abroad. Though he has many ardent admirers here (he’s been short-listed for the Turner Prize and has shown at the Serpentine Gallery), the really big marks of recognition – the Hayward Gallery retrospective, the shows at the Tate or the Whitechapel – have eluded him. On the surface, at least, this neglect is puzzling. Tremlett’s drawings have a tranquillity unusual in the art of this time. Unlike other ratists of his generation who make wall drawings, such as the americans Richard Serra and Sol Lewitt, he isn’t interested in dominating the architectural space in which he works. ‘My art isn’t about frightening or disturbing people. My desire is to produce rigorous beauty.’

Tremlett, who works primarily in pastels, tempers the austere formal discipline of his work with a lightness of touch that is highly personal. Tremlett, who works primarily in pastels, tempers the austere formal discipline of his work with a lightness of touch that is highly personal. A wall drawing might consist of a rectangular shape in dove gray set in against a field of blue. Working with assistants, he rubs these powdery pigments directly into the wall with his bare hands to achieve the rich, suffusion of color he seeks.

The truth is that the status of an outsider suits Tremlett very well. ‘What keeps me alive is a fighting spirit. I ruthlessly push myself, but try to retain the softness and tranquility. In the end, that’s all my work is about – thoroughness and beauty.

Above all, Tremlett’s work does not follow any trend. ‘I seriously believe that great artists live what they are making. If you remain in the zone of fashion, I think you are doomed to be second-rate. Artists who follow a trend aren’t making a standard of their own.’ In an art world driven by marketing and type, this in itself amounts to a radical agenda.

Richard Dorment


2.7. Write an analytical summary for:


The Print Media: Newspapers

Every edition of a newspaper contains hundreds of news stories and pieces of information, in much greater number than the largest news staff can gather by itself. More than most readers realize, and many editors care to admit, newspapers depend upon information brought to them voluntarily.

The Columbia Journalism Review noted, for example, that in one edition the Wall Street Journal had obtained 45 percent of its 188 news items from news releases. Because of its specialized nature, the Journal's use of news releases may be higher than that of general-interest daily newspapers. Public relations generates about 50 percent of the stories in New York City newspapers.

Approximately 1500 daily newspapers and 7200 weekly newspapers are published in the United States. Most cities today have only one daily newspaper, resulting in little competition between newspapers. Television, direct mail, and the Internet are now the main challenges to newspapers. While some metropolitan newspapers have circulation of more than a million copies a day, approximately two-thirds of the daily newspapers have circulation of 20, 000 or less. Newspapers published for distribution in the late afternoon, called evening or P.M. papers, outnumber morning (A.M.) papers approximately three to one. Especially in larger cities, however, a substantial trend toward morning publication is in progress. Knowledge of a newspaper's hours of publication and the deadlines it enforces for submission of copy is essential for everyone who supplies material to the paper.

Approximately three-quarters of American daily newspapers are owned by newspaper groups. The publishers and editors of a group-owned newspaper have broad local autonomy but must follow operating standards laid down by group headquarters.

Newspapers receive nearly 80 percent of their income from advertising and about 20 percent from selling papers to readers. They cannot afford to publish press releases that are nothing more than commercial advertising; to do so would cut into their largest source of income. To be published a news release submitted to a newspaper must contain information that an editor regards as news of interest to a substantial number of readers. Newspapers cannot be forced to publish any material, including news releases, nor need they receive permission from the government or anyone else to publish whatever they desire.



Final Test for Unit II


Task 1. Provide the pronunciation of the following words:

Quote [________], assertion [_____], paragraph [_____], concise [_______], essay [_______], judgement [_______].



Task 2. Give the Russian for:

argument …….. message ………. to speculate ………...

accuracy ………. thesis ………….. to distort ……………

assertion ……… passage ……….. to make judgement…….



Task 3. Give the English for:

пересказать …………………. содержание ………….

перефразировать ………….. рукопись ……..

передавать (смысл, идеи)…. источник (литературный)……

законный …………………………….

существенный/ важный …………..

Task 4. Chose the words that can be associated with:

a) to distort

facts, ideas, history, knowledge, mind, book, views

b) concise

dictionary, story, map, brevity, person, character, textbook

Task 5. Fill in the gaps with the words from topical vocabulary of this Unit:

1) Paraphrase is your own rendition of ……. information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.

2) Also, paraphrase is a …….. way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to …….. from a source.

3) Use ……. marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.

4) Summaries benefit the reader because they offer a …….., general version of the original information.

5) For a busy reader, summaries provide quick overviews of material maintaining the integrity of the original document without ……….. the original views, ideas, attitudes, or their importance in the original.

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