Especially with scientific work and in school, it may be necessary to write a summary when giving a presentation or studying for learning. The business plan is preceded by an executive summary known as an abstract or management summary in the business world.  

The advantage: In just a few sentences, the reader gets an overview of whether he needs the information in the pending text or worth reading for other reasons. In the developed economy, it is often necessary to get a quick insight into the subject. Whether English or Foreign language texts, self-written or third-party documents - there are rules that must be observed when summarizing. 

How Do You Write a Summary? 

Under “summarizing,” the process of a summary is generally considered. The main ideas must be contained in a few sentences in this summary; the reader must get a complete overview without having read the original document.  

A summary should be about a third of the length of the original text - a maximum of the half for complicated copies. Articles, for example, are often only gathered on half of the A4 page. Short stories are described on a maximum of two A4 pages. 

The tense of the summary is present tense. If retrospectives are necessary, the past tense can also be selected in exceptional cases. The 3rd person singular is the most common form used in such a text.  

Passive constructions, the addition of indirect speech or indirect questions give the summary an upscale style but are not a must. Colloquial language should not appear in summary. 

A summary should also describe the original text in your own words. Opinions, examples, text interpretations, and interpretations are out of place in a summary. Of course, the texts should also be written in perfect grammar and without spelling mistakes. Technical terms are not recommended, especially in hospitality areas. 

How is a Summary Structured? 

The introduction of a summary contains the title of the text, the author's names, and the year of publication. It is also necessary to state the type of text here. These facts are usually formulated in a short and concise sentence. The core thesis of the text follows this before the content is reproduced. This is usually done in chronological order, but in exceptional cases, it is also possible to order them according to importance. 

To write everything necessary for a summary, the copywriter can use the following W-questions as a guide: What is it about?  

  • Who is the doer?  
  • When does the text take place?  
  • What is happening?  
  • Where does it take place?  
  • Why is it taking place?  
  • With what episode does it take place?  

Supporting characters can be neglected in summary, but mentioning the main protagonists is essential. There are additional requirements for a summary for various business sectors. 

An executive summary, for example, should describe: 

  • What it is about. 
  • Which decisions have to be made. 
  • Which options there are. 
  • Which option is recommended. 

A graphic can also be used in a management summary if it should be more meaningful than many words. Clarity is an important criterion here. In the end, there is a short repetition of the thesis and a conclusion. The closing part is mostly what the reader will remember. 

Tips and tricks: how can I write good summaries? 

By reading it yourself! Ideally, this should be done several times.  

In the first round, you limit yourself to the main content and the heading. In the second step, further details can be observed.  

Then, make notes! If you note important things with bullet points while reading, it will be easier later when writing. 

Finally, please check the order! A summary should have an introduction, the main part, and, in the end, a sentence with a conclusion. Narrative elements should not appear in the summary.