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How to Summarize an Article: Tips and Samples

How to Write a Summary

You’re assigned of summarizing an article but unfamiliar how it works. In this case, we’ve prepared summarizing tips you might find useful. Here they are:

  • Do not copy word for word, but use your own.
  • Keep the summary brief, but make sure elements from the original are included on it.
  • Always cite your sources.
  • Do not inject personal opinion or interpretation. This is not a review or analysis paper. Make sure that the message of the author is what’s in your summary and not yours.
  • Change the way you attribute or cite your sources to avoid boring your readers. Examples include, according to, __ said that, study says… Paper summarizer would recommend avoiding these ones.

Summary Samples

An Excerpt (Web.Williams.edu)

Primarily girls are told by advertisers that what is most important about them is their perfume, their clothing, their bodies, their beauty. Their “essence” is their underwear. “He says the first thing he noticed about you is your great personality,” says an ad featuring a very young woman in tight jeans. The copy continues, “He lies.” “If this is your idea of a great catch,” says an ad for a cosmetic kit from a teen magazine featuring a cute boy, “this is your tackle box.” Even very little girls are offered makeup and toys like Special Night Barbie, which shows them how to dress up for a night out. Girls of all ages get the message that they must be flawlessly beautiful and, above all these days, they must be thin.


Advertisements convey the message that the very essence of girls is their underwear. They were often told that the most important things they have is their clothing, perfume, bodies and beauty. So a male ad model telling that the first thing he would notice in a girl was her personality would be considered a ‘liar.’

An ad for a cosmetic kit from a teen magazine, featuring a cute lad, contradicted this thought and said it was a tackle box because even young girls were offered Special Night Barbie, modeling how a girl should dress up, along with toys and makeup, conveying the very same message that girls should look beautiful and most importantly ‘slim.’

How to Summarize an Article: The Extras

Before writing it, read and understand the gist of the passage or paragraph prior to writing, helping you come up with a clear picture of what the message of that particular section is.

Then, get the keywords—those significant words conveying the main ideas presented by the author in his or her work. This will help keeping the main points to discuss in your summary.

Keep your summary shorter than the original, and to do it, avoid changing words into their synonyms and write mindfully. Do not include everything stated in the article, but only get the gist of the story or passage to come up with an effective summary.

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