How to write a great summary without any problems

A Summary writing starts in German from grade 7. Class.

For example, you are to summarize the content of a short story, a chapter from a novel, or a poem.

I always notice that some of you have difficulties because you confuse the summary with a retelling.

Unlike a retelling – which can be quite lengthy – a table of contents really only includes the most important thing.

1. Preparation:

Prepare your synopsis by looking at

  • clarify the initial situation (people involved, place and time of the action),
  • Organize the text into narrative sections; and
  • Concisely summarizes the most important plot points.
  • Some Guiding Questions can make it easier to understand the text:
  • Where do you recognize a conflict?
  • How does the tension develop??
  • What role does the narrative perspective play?
  • What does the conclusion do?

Underlining and marginal notes help you.

2. Writing a table of contents:

A summary is always divided into at least an introduction and a main section:


In an introductory sentence you first state author, text type, title and year of publication of the story. These are the so-called information data.
This is followed by details of the initial situation (place, time, characters).

Then state as briefly and accurately as possible what the story is thematically about.

This part of the introduction – namely the actual Theme of the story to recognize – is the most important point, because here you show whether you have understood the text.

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main part:

Here you name the most important steps of the plot and show how they are connected.

It’s best to use your preparation notes (narrative sections / plot steps) for help.

Pay special attention to these four points:

  • 1. Use as tense the Present tense (only in case of antecedent: perfect tense);
  • 2. Replace direct speech with Indirect speech (subjunctive I, possibly. Substitute forms).;
  • 3. Pay attention to independent choice of words: Don’t make the mistake of copying from the text; use your own words;
  • 4. Link your sentences by conjunctions and adverbs,
    causal: because, since, therefore;
    temporally: after, before, than;
    opposing: but, yet, however, but, on the other hand;
    inferring: so that, so that.

The style of the table of contents is detached, neutral and factual. Write the way you would write a report.

Avoid Tension in your summary, adjectives and comments. Also quotations have nothing lost in the content reproduction.

3. Edit synopsis

When you have written your text, be sure to read through your synopsis again before you turn in your work.

Pay attention to spelling and whether you have always used the present tense.

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