How to Start a Summary?- A Clear Guide

How to Start a Summary

A summary, in simple words, is a short converted form of the original text with only important phrases and sentences which makes it easier for later and quick references. A summary is written in one’s own words and its essence lies in the concept that even if it is written in one’s own words one cannot insert personal opinions, thoughts, comments, or perceptions in it. Let’s know How to Start a Summary?

When And What to Summarize 

Situations are large in number when there is an urgent need to summarize any source text. Such as:

  • Keeping notes of any source text increases the understanding of the text and helps in remembering it.
  • As an assignment or submission to prove that your understanding of the text is thorough and clear.
  • To review others’ work, probably an author or a researcher.

Summarizing comes in many forms. For students writing for an academic task, it generally comes as to write a summary of an essay, excerpt of an article, or research paper where the writer will be in contact with the other writer’s ideas to summarize. Or sometimes one has to review or act as a critique to it when summarizing a complete source text as an article comes into play. Whatever the task is, the Summary is easy to write and easy to access, and in the following paragraphs that will make evident and this article will act as a foundation stone when it comes to write and present a proper summary with every factor of it being covered.

What Needs To Be Done Before Starting a Summary?

The core of summarizing any original text is that the writer should be well aware of the original text and must have a clear understanding of what is conveyed in the text that is needed to be summarized. It makes it easier because if one is well versed about the text then he/she will find it easy to put it down in their own words and what is important is that the summary which comes along will in turn help in understanding the highlights way better than going through the text again and again. After the summary is done, it will act as a later reference which is a win-win situation.

How to Start a Summary and Writing Format of Summary?

A summary is initiated with an introductory sentence and a paragraph that includes the text’s title, author, and the main point according to the writer which gives a kind of overview and important details to the readers before heading into the summary. After having a proper start, the summary must include the main idea of the text and should be written in the writer’s language. It should cover the arguments and ideas instated by the author and should be in brief sentences. 

To have a strong opening line for the summary also acts as an eye-catching factor for the readers and plays a really important part in it. The first line of the summary may include a significant reporting verb such as “claim”, “insist” or “argue” and can have “illustrate”, “explain”, or “present” as verbs which make the introductory paragraph crisp and clear.

An example for the opening line is given below:

For example: “In the novel “origin” by Dan Brown, presents………” In the book, Brown claims ……..

Writing the main idea of the original text can be made easy by answering who, why, where, and what. Simply put, the writer should be able to access who is being addressed in the original text and what topic or the idea is being pointed to. When all this is done, the writer may describe why the author is accessing this idea and all of that in strict alignment with the core idea that is present in the original text. 

A sample format of how to write a summary is given below under the points made so far.

For example, The article “How to Start a Summary and its Writing Format” by Oliver Brennan emphasizes the important rules of writing. The author states… “Point1” …..For example…. “Details” …. “Point2” …. For example … Oliver believes that ….. In turn …….. As follows, Brennan’s article describes that….. “Main Idea” …..

In the above-mentioned example of the summary, Point means the idea provided by the author and Details means the arguments made by the author. Here, “The Main Idea” is the place where the points are written with the help of only important sentences and to wrap up the arguments of the author in a concise manner.

Another important point to take care of while starting the summary is that the writer of the summary must avoid copying exact sentences and direct quotations from the original text. The summary itself is something that has to be written in its own and different words and thus it expects the writer to be well versed about the text, use different words, avoid using exact quotations, and be specific in approach by avoiding wordiness and using straight-to-the-point language.


  • Summary writing is always done in paragraphs.
  • It is always written in its own words.
  • A summary always starts with an introductory sentence including the title, author, and main point of the original text.
  • A summary is always related to the ideas present in the original text and not the opinions of the writer.
  • Constantly using the source text is important to state and defend the claims made by the author.
  • The last sentence should be able to wrap up the summary and can use the main point as a rephrasing.

Organizing the Highlights of the Paragraph 

In the whole process of writing a summary, one important factor that ensures that the summary written is a grand success and near-to-perfect efficient is the way how the writer organizes the important details and highlights of the original text before writing the summary. The flow of ideas plays a much important role when organizing the text. The ability of the writer to pen down the flow of ideas in his/her own words is what summarizing the text is all about.

There are many ways to ensure the flow of ideas is proper and is under the original text. Taking notes side by side while reading the paragraph has proved to be beneficial. While reading the text, if the writer jolts down every important idea or the argument made by the author takes care of the mistake of missing out on the important points and notions of the author in the text. Noting down the keywords, phrases, points, quotes, and ideas that seem important helps in proper coverage of the essence of the text.

Once all the highlights are noted down, the writer must take it upon himself/herself to write all that in his/her own words without disrupting the flow. Here, the writer should avoid way too many creative and sophisticated words but must be able to avoid copying the text and write in their own words. While writing, supporting examples from the text can make a summary more eloquent and easy to remember. Using twists in the plot, certain pivotal incidents, and scenes from the texts have been always helpful because it tends to stick easily in the brain and once recalled can help to recap a major part of the text way more easily.

How Summarizing a Text Helps?

Anything quick, easy to understand, and concise help in a recap, right? Summarizing does it all. To revise an original text when we have to appear for an examination, interview, or before a lecture proves to be time taking which increases anxiety and the important task can go disastrous. Thus, it’s better to pen it down in your own words and only emphasize the important points beforehand so that a quick recap is possible in the end. This has proven extremely beneficial especially in the case of students in colleges or schools when they have to study important concepts and formulae to remember just before the exam.


By now, all the important factors are being covered as to what should be done to write a good summary. From providing a strong opening line to write the main idea using the ideas in the main text to wrapping up the summary following the title. The steps mentioned above ensures that the core concept of writing a summary, that is, crisp and clear in the writer’s own words, is not disrupted in any sense and turn, helps the writer to intensify the true sense of writing the summary. Below are the most asked questions asked regarding summary writing just to clear anything left. Cheers! Way to Go!

Q&A Regarding Summary Writing

  1. Is it necessary that the summary should be in the past tense?
    Not a hard-fast rule, one can use past or present but it should be in accordance with the original text.

  2. Should I mention references in the summary?
    No it’s not at all necessary in summary.

  3. How to end my summary?
    The end of a summary should have a conclusion statement in it. Example: “I end my summary with…….”
How to Start a Summary?- A Clear Guide

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