How to write a good summary

What do I have to keep in mind when writing a summary?

You go to school in Germany and are at least in the 6th grade. Class? Then you will sooner or later come to terms with the essay type Inhaltsangabe (and of course other essay types, such as z.B. Interpretations) in contact. Maybe you have already written a summary yourself?

Often you have to write such essays as an exercise at home, but it may well be that an exam, school assignment, test – or whatever you call graded exams in school in your state – has to be written on the topic. (This also depends a bit on which class you are currently in).)

In this case, you need to be well prepared and know which individual steps follow each other so that you don’t panic during the exam and can get a good grade instead. Because don’t be afraid, you can learn to write synopsis!

Are you looking for tutoring in your area?? German tutoring Dresden bspw. shows you what is possible.

In the following article, we will explain to you how to write good synopses step by step, and what you need to keep in mind.

















Summary – Definition

But first, let’s start at the beginning and ask ourselves: What is a table of contents??

Well, as the name suggests, this type of essay is all about describing the Content of a text, drama or even movie to reproduce.

It is important to note that this is not a retelling of the story. This means: details, embellishing phrases or elements of suspense have no place in a summary! Just as little as your own opinion (this is an important difference to other types of essays, such as the essay). You should rather write factually and neutrally, that is, to give only the most important points and information about the text.

What is a table of contents?

The table of contents is a summary of a work. | Source: Unsplash

Your goal must be that a person who has not read the text (the drama, the movie) (or. After reading your synopsis, you will know what the story is about, who the most important characters are, and what happens (we will get to the W-questions in a moment).

Note: A summary should be a short overview and must therefore be much shorter than the original text (otherwise you could just read the original to find out the content).

It’s kind of like writing a mini Wikipedia article on the work in question. Ask yourself: What information is really important, and where are details that are not necessary to roughly understand what it is about?

By the way: In this article we will go over the guidelines for the Writing a table of contents for the subject German at school a. For other purposes (review in newspapers or magazines, theater booklets, detailed Wikipedia article, etc.) you can write a summary of the text.) can deliberately deviate from the specifications or. other conventions may apply. Tutoring German elementary school helps you to improve yourself.

A synopsis needs to be well prepared

Just as with other types of essays, z.B. As with characterization, good preparation is almost half the battle.

First of all, you should always read the Read the assignment very carefully. Maybe there is a specific target audience for your summary, which can have an influence on the language register (i.e. the choice of words) and length. Perhaps you have been given a specific number of words or pages which you must not under- or over- write. exceed applies.

If you know what to do, you don’t start writing right away! First of all it is called text work, text work, text work.

In school, it is usually the case that the text (usually a short story) to be summarized is copy. This means that you mark text passages and you can also write notes and comments in the margin.

So, as with poem analysis, have your highlighters ready and let’s go! But this is not so easy. Often one tends to mark too much, and then half of the text shines at you, and you don’t know what to write at the end again.

How can I prepare a summary?

You should learn the forms of indirect speech – index cards can help you with this! | Source: Pixabay

So if you’re wondering what on earth to mark, it’s best to guide yourself by the following W questions:

  • Who are important persons of the plot?
  • Where the action takes place?
  • When the plot plays?
  • What happens in history?
  • Why pass certain parts of the plot andwhat effect have them?

Your markings should only highlight passages that help you answer these questions, and you must be careful not to miss the "what" question?" not too much and no unnecessary details, but really only mark very important plot steps.

You’re wondering what else you can learn before writing a synopsis?

More preparation tips: look for different Conjunctions and expressions/phrases out to connect your sentences in a nice and varied way, and repeat the forms of indirect speech. You can find more about this in the subchapter Main Part.

German tutoring can help you improve your writing.

Summary – Structure

The table of contents is no exception among the essays in German. If you z.B. you have already written an essay, you know that essays usually consist of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

However, this type of essay may not require a conclusion for once. But you will certainly discuss this in class beforehand. maybe there is also something explicit in the task description.

How is a summary structured?? So what comes in which part? Let’s take a closer look at the structure of a content summary .


As the name suggests, the introduction should introduce the essay, i.e. lead to the topic. This also means that in this part you should not deal with any content aspects yet.

To write a suitable introduction, you can remember the acronym TATTE. It stands for:

  • Textsorte
  • Autor
  • Titel
  • Thema
  • Erscheinungsjahr

And these are exactly the elements that should be in your introduction.

Here is an example: "The short story [text type] ‘Das Brot’ [title] by Wolfgang Borchert [author] was published in 1946 [year of publication] and is about a married couple who do not have enough to eat [theme]."

Length: The introduction of a summary should be kept very short. Often it includes only this one basic sentence, before the main part starts right away.

In your German tutoring in Berlin, any other city or in online tutoring via webcam you will learn everything useful about writing.

main part

So let’s take a closer look at the main section. Here, as the name suggests, the actual work happens.

Now it’s time to put down on paper what you have worked out during the preparation as continuous text. In the summary you proceed chronologically, i.e. in the order of the original text (or film).

Work through the most important points step by step, i.e. the W-questions mentioned above. In our example "The bread of Wolfgang Borchert, you would thus start by mentioning the female character (no names are given) and explaining what happens first, i.e. that she wakes up at night and goes to the kitchen.

Make sure to write in the present tense, as in the report, and to keep your style objective and sober. The only exception to the tense: If something in the text is in the past tense (past perfect), i.e. before the action of the story, it is rendered in the perfect tense in the summary.

In a summary, you are not allowed to interpret anything and not to express your own opinion, but only what is really written in the text.

This can be a bit difficult sometimes, because you are always reading between the lines, but the point of this essay form is to demonstrate your writing skills and abilities, and to summarize a text as concisely as possible, but in as much detail as necessary.

After all, the whole thing is supposed to be a bit more challenging than a simple elementary school essay, isn’t it??

It is important that you use your own words and do not simply copy them from the text. For this, it is good if you have a large vocabulary. How to get it? simply by consuming a lot of content in German, z.B. Read books and magazines, watch the news, or listen to podcasts.

This sounds very general, but it is not to be underestimated how much a large vocabulary and many synonyms can help you in the subject German!

Also, keep in mind that if you are reproducing what a character in the text says, you may not use direct quotations, but must reproduce what is said in your own words and indirect speech.

Example: "I am tired of life!" becomes "He said he was fed up with life."

But that also means Forms of indirect speech, so the subjunctive I and II repeat so that it does not fail when you want to reproduce what you have said!

The same is true for conjunctions, i.e. sentence combinations. Since you are reproducing different actions one after the other, there is a great danger of just "and then, and then, and then" to write. In the run-up to your exam or homework, look for different conjunctions and expressions in order to be able to combine sentences in a more varied way.

This definitely gives linguistic plus points!

Here are some examples:

Synonyms for "then/after "Synonyms for "before "SimultaneityCounterpartsFollowing
Following . Preceding . At the same time . Although . . . , so that .
Thereupon . Before . Simultaneously . While . . . that .
In the following . Before . . During . . Despite . In the sequel .
After . . Nevertheless . . which led to .
. whereupon . Nevertheless . . whereupon .
Although . .

Of course, this is by no means a complete list. It is just to show you that there are many different ways to connect sentences in German. Varied writing makes your text more pleasant to read and also has a significant effect on your grade!

So it is definitely worth repeating some expressions (and also the forms of indirect speech) or. to learn.


The conclusion of a summary can be kept relatively short (if one is required at all). Here you can learn z.B. refer to the possible intention of the text, i.e. the author’s intention.

What did he/she want to say with this text, drama, film?. effect? What thoughts should the readers or. Make spectator? What should be triggered in them?

If we briefly stay with the example of Borchert (a very popular author for summaries, but also interpretations in school, v.a. From grade 7. Class): You may know that it is counted among the so-called rubble literature.

That is, his stories are set after the war and often deal with the suffering people experienced and the hardship they still find themselves in because of the war’s aftermath.

You could, for example, refer to this aspect in the conclusion of the summary of "Das Brot" explain that the story shows the great shortage of food after the war and how difficult it was for families to cope with it in everyday life without losing face in front of their partners.

What are the main content statement characteristics?

When writing a table of contents, you need to pay attention to the special features of this type of essay. | Source: Unsplash

So now you know what the structure of synopses usually looks like. In the last chapter, we will summarize all the important aspects and tips concerning this type of essay for you!

Tips& Tricks for good content essays

At the end we would like to give you a small overview resp. Checklist of things you should consider when writing a synopsis.

  • Form: Flow text; no bulleted lists or incomplete sentences
  • Tense: Present tense; perfect tense only when the text refers to something that happened previously
  • Particular: Render the information/content in your own words; convert direct quotations into indirect speech
  • Introduction: leads to the topic, should be TATTE (s. (above)
  • Main part: summarize the plot; objective and factual style, no interpretation or own opinion!
  • Conclusion: if required at all, briefly refer to the intention of the text or to the content of the text. of the author’s story

Hopefully, you now feel reasonably equipped to write a table of contents in German. In any case, the most important thing is always not to be intimidated by the original text or by the given number of pages or words. If you like our tips& If you simply follow our tips and tricks step by step and prepare yourself well, you can’t really go wrong.

We already wish you a lot of fun and good luck with your next content writing!

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: