Summary is the act of giving a brief, concise and relevant account of the contents of a passage. In summary writing, you paraphrase and compress without distortion of details. Summary writing is the off shoot of a lengthy piece of writing, that is, compositions such as comprehension passage, articles, speeches, essays and stories give rise to summary writing.

To summarize a piece of writing, one must strictly adhere to the rules governing summary writing. Below are major rules and tips that ensure a good summary writing:

  1. First and foremost is the reader’s ability to comprehend the passage. It is imperative to read and understand the passage before attempting the question.
  2. Present your answers in your own words. Avoid mindless lifting of words from the passage for this would attract zero mark.
  3. Avoid including irrelevant materials in your answers. Your answers should have only facts that are expressly stated in the passage.
  4. It is advisable to give a general preamble before stating your answers. The preamble should be framed from the question and must not be grammatically wrong. Do not repeat what you have stated in the preamble in any sentence.
  5. Present your answers in complete sentences. Do not write in phrases or clauses for this would attract only half the mark allotted.
  6. Present your answers in the active voice not the passive voice. The active voice has subject-verb-object arrangement while the passive voice has object-verb-subject arrangement.
  7. Avoid using figurative expressions such as idioms, proverbs or figures of speech to replace words in the passage or as answers to summary question.
  8. When a question requires comparison, do not forget to compare and do not be one-sided in your presentation for this would attract only half the mark allotted. For example:

Q: In five sentences, one for each, state the reasons why candidates in cities perform better than those in the rural areas.

ANS: Candidates in cities have access to good textbooks. (No comparison).

ANS: Candidates in cities have access to good textbooks while those in rural areas do not. (Comparison)

The latter answer would attract the full mark while the former would attract half mark.

  1. When many points are packed in a sentence and you are required to make many sentences from it; identify all the points in the sentence and use each point to make a sentence.
  2. Avoid repetition in your answers.
  3. Identification of topic sentence in each paragraph helps you to identify the answers and frame your answers appropriately.



  • Linking words are as follows:

However, conversely, subsequently, because, similarly, as well as, but, moreover and so on.

  • Reporting verbs are as follows:

Told, reported, remarked, related, narrated, asserted, insisted, said, complained, announced and so on.



Attempt the questions in summary writing in pg. 174 Intensive English Textbook.

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