Table of contents

In a summary of contents, the essentials of a plot and main problems of a text are summarized in concise report form. A good synopsis conveys only as much as is absolutely necessary to. The reader should

  • Be able to classify the work, know quickly: is it z. B. a crime novel or a romance,
  • Learn about the time in which a story is set,
  • get the desire to read or watch by being allowed to "peek" into the action for a short time.

Table of contents

Table of contents

A variant is to pose questions as an introduction to the summary of contents.

In the following case in this way immediately the first facts are brought to the reader. Such an introduction is followed by a generalized evaluation of the whole book:

"Who has ever been to the Curonian Spit? Who knows the nature-filled, deserted structure of the Bohemian-Bavarian forest? ".
(Tucholsky, Kurt: Collected works in ten volumes. Volume 6, Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1975, pp. 117)

"Who believes??
"Newton was wrong?" Yes, double and triple! And how then?
For a long time it is printed, but no one reads it."

(Schiller, Friedrich: Samtliche Werke, vol. 1, Munich: Hanser, 1962, pp. 275)

Word choice

Another possibility is to raise a question only at the end and to arouse curiosity after having summarized in a few sentences all that is to come. The the tension can also be increased by having the introduction converge on a specific statement.
Note also the choice of words, which is intended to "capture" the reader:

Unfortunately, some people like to tell us their dreams, which are usually nothing more than the dubious amusements in the child’s and servant’s room of the brain, after the father and master of the house have gone to bed. But "all men, except ladies," says the wise man, "are defective!"
This may be a pedagogical hint for us. For since in this respect we all possess not only many great virtues, but at the same time some small defects, by which others are harassed, we may perhaps have reason for forbearance against a confrere who is in a similar position.
Even friend Eduard, good as he otherwise was, started off as follows:

(Wilhelm Busch: Eduard’s dream. In: Works. Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe, Vol. I-IV, Volume 4, Hamburg: Standard-Verlag, 1959, see also PDF "Wilhelm Busch – Eduard’s Dream") pdf

Characteristics of a table of contents :

  • The content of the text must in the correct order be reproduced.
  • The tense of the summary is the present tense.
  • Direct speech is used as Indirect speech reproduced. The subjunctive mood is always used. If the forms of the indicative correspond to the subjunctive I, the subjunctive II is used as a substitute form in indirect speech. In indirect speech, the pronouns are in the 3rd position. Person.
  • The style of a table of contents should be factual, sober be.
    Linguistic embellishments should be avoided.
  • The content of the text will concise and informative rendered in one’s own words. You must be careful not to use colloquial words, but linguistically always use the High German language.
  • The scope should be limited to one page.

Differentiation according to content

A distinction is made between the extended table of contents and the structured table of contents.

A Extended table of contents consists of an introduction, a main part and a conclusion.

The introduction should contain

  • Text type/text genre, e.g. B. poem, novella,
  • Title,
  • Author,
  • Subject,
  • Intention of the author.

The main part of the summary gives the essence of the content:

  • Main characters,
  • Events,
  • Setting,
  • Time frame,
  • Action contexts,
  • trains of thought (e.g.B. Prerequisites, causes, consequences, results).

The conclusion can contain a short interpretation of the

  • Intent,
  • Effect and
  • the linguistic means

contain the main points of the text. However, the concluding part is not a necessary part of a content summary.

The Structured summary indicates the main content of the text and the structure of the text template. It is based on the points that were described in the extended statement of contents under the item main part.

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