Practical Recommendations for Writing an Effective Summary

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Practical Recommendations for Writing an Effective Summary

In order to write a good summary a student should begin with mentioning the source and the author of the text. It is extremely important that a student states the author’s main idea without distorting it or adding his own comments. Moreover, a student should use his own words when writing a summary. However, when a particular phrase in the original is especially striking or interesting, a student may decide to use it in his summary, but should always put quotation marks around the phrase.

The first step in writing a summary is to divide a text into paragraphs. The next step is to label each paragraph with a subheading indicative of the paragraph’s main idea. If several headings address similar subjects, a student may group them together under one heading. Finally, the last step in writing an effective summary is to use the list of subheadings and groupings as a roadmap which highlights the main points of the article.

Additional tips on writing an effective summary:

(1) A summary should be written in the present tense. The rationale behind this rule is to acknowledge that the author’s ideas continue to exist even though the author has finished writing about them.

(2) A writer should periodically remind his reader that he is summarizing someone else’s ideas by using such phrases as: “the article states that”, “the author goes on to say that...,” etc.

(3) A writer should revise his writing at least two times.

(4) A writer should proofread his summary and edit it ruthlessly as, according to Meister Elkhart’s famous saying, “Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.”

(Adapted from P.Sebranek. “A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning”)


Task 4. 44. Following the above mentioned tips make a summary of the text assigned by the teacher as your home reading (or of a scientific article) in 200 words.

Task 4. 45. Translate the following information into English, using a dictionary. Then use it while working on the special text assigned to you fpr home reading.

Реферат- це скорочений письмовий виклад суп реферованого матералу. OcHOBHi вимоги до реферату в щлому таю:

1) об'ективний виклад реферованого оригшального матер1алу, тобто виклад лише тих даних та факта, яю листаться в оригшаш;

2) повнота викладу, тобто фшсування Bcix суттевих положень оригшалу; 3)едшсть стилю, тобто використання тих самих мовних засоб1в, едносп термшологп, скорочень тощо.

BiflOMi два основн1 прийоми скорочення тексту: компреаяi супреыя. Компреая- це скорочення тексту за допомогою битый економних мовних

(лексичних, граматичних, стилютичних) 3aco6ie тощо. Форма викладу -

реферат, яким е конспективний виклад суттевих положень тексту оригшалу в


Текст такого реферату складаеться з трьох частин: вступу - introduction

(вихщш дат), опису (виклад ochobhoi щеУ i bcix суттевих положень

оригшалу) та заключноУ частини - conclusions (основш висновки по тексту в


В реферат} стата викладаеться суть оригшалу за планом, який може не

сшвпадати з планом побудови оригшального тексту. При цьому перекладач не

повинен давати власну оцшку змюту оригшального матер1алу.

В такому реферат! шюстрацн або залишаються в текста, або описуються.

Об'ем реферату - приблизно 2000 друкованих знаюв.

Одним з вщцв такого реферату (до 200 cnie) е експрес-шформащя. CynpeciH - це скорочення тексту шляхом усунення з нього другорядних деталей,

повторень, загальновщомих факта, багатосл1в’я, образних пор^внянь тощо.

Форма викладу - реферат як техшчний переклад окремих суттевих частин

тексту оригшалу. Реферативний переклад використовуеться в процес* обм}ну науково-техшчною

iнфopмaцieю при обробщ матерал*в, що не потребують TepMiHOBoro

використання, але мають певну практичну i потенщйну щншсть для

спещалктав. Отже, реферативний переклад - це повний письмовий переклад наперед

ввдбраних частин орипналу, яю складають зв’язний текст. Такий переклад в

залежноста вщ потреб коротший вщ оригшалу в 5-10 раз1в. В npo4eci робота

над ним вимагаеться усунення Bciei зайвоУ шформацп. Робота над реферативним перекладом складаеться з таких еташв:

1) попередньо ознайомитись з орипналом, з проблемою, технолопею; уважно

прочитати текст; усно перекласти статпо;

Students’ reseach work

2) розмггити текст за допомогою квадратних дужок для вилучення його другорядних частин та повторень;

3)прочитати останню версио з метою усунення можливих смислових дис­
пропорцій та неув’язок; ' '
4) зробити повний письмовий переклад частин оригшалу поза дужками. Цей
переклад повинен бути зв’язним текстом, побудованим на цш же лопчнш
ocHOBi, що і оригінал.

Task 4.46. Read the text and answer the questions that follow:

Paraphrasing, quoting and plagiarizing are activities that involve the use of someone else’s ideas, but whereas paraphrasing and quoting are legitimate writing strategies, plagiarizing is a serious offense.

To paraphrase means to.summarize someone else’s ideas in your own words. To quote means to copy information from another source and enclose it in quotation marks in your paper.

When you paraphrase and quote be sure to cite the source of your information. If you do not cite the source, then you are plagiarizing. You are stealing the ideas and using them as your own.

("Adapted from PRACTICE EXERCISES for the Test of English as a Foreign Language by Pamela J.Sharpe)

1. What are the three writing strategies mentioned in the text?

2. What do they have in common?

3. What is the difference between them?

4. When are quotation marks used?

5. Is it obligatory to cite the source you take information from?

6. When is it considered that you are stealing the ideas?

Task 4. 47. Get acquainted with the following information on paraphrasing and discuss it in small groups. How do you understand the quotation? Use the information practically while working on writing a review of the text assigned by the teacher.


“Adam was the only man who, when he said a good thing, knew that nobody had said it before him.”

Mark Twain

Paraphrasing requires using one’s own words to state someone else’s ideas and words. This process resembles translating; however, unlike translating, paraphrasing involves writing in the same language and restating someone else’s ideas. One might use paraphrasing to make a text easier to understand and remember or to change the style or the language of the original. Unlike a summary which requires shortening an original text, paraphrasing does not typically alter the length of the original.


Practical Recommendations on Paraphrasing:

1. Carefully read a sentence for several times, cover it and try writing from memory using your own words;

2. Begin a sentence differently and change as many nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs as possible without departing from the original meaning of the sentence;

3. When paraphrasing, think not only about the meaning of a passage but also about its tone. If a writer is sarcastic, funny or angry, your paraphrase should reflect that sarcasm, humor or anger;

4. Break one long sentence into shorter ones or combine ideas in short sentences into a longer one;

5. Use active voice because it is more direct and vigorous than passive voice. For example, write “I shall always remember my first visit to Lviv” instead of “My first visit to Lviv will always be remembered”;

6. Put statements in positive form in order to avoid hesitation and noncommittal language. For example, write “He usually came late” instead of “He was not very often in time”;

1. State each important idea as clearly and briefly as possible;

8. Arrange ideas in logical order;

9. Put quotation marks around words and phrases taken directly from the source.

(Adapted from: P.Sebranek. A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning)


Task 4. 48. Read the text that follows and single out helpful hints for making a successful presentation. Prepare a presentation on the topic.


By Herbert Gottlieb

(1) Over 100 papers were presented at the winter meeting in Chicago. The topics varied greatly in the quality and time of presentations. They ranged from gifted teaching that held the audience spellbound (зачарований) at the edges of their seats to incoherent mumbling (незв’язне бурмотшня) and a listless (байдужий) dull man­ner that could be tolerated only by an overcourteous (занадто 1и»чливий) audience.

(2) With the availability of advanced abstracts and concurrent session, the audience, by its very presence, expresses the interest in the topic you will present. Don’t

Students ’ reseach work


disappoint them. In preparing your paper a small amount of extra preparation will be appreciated. "Without this, only those who have a special need for the information and those who are too tired to move to another room will remain.

(3) Unfortunately, not everyone is a bom teacher. For many speakers a reminder calling attention to some of the basic rules of effective delivery can be helpful.

(4) The first and most urgent requirement is that you have something new and relevant to say to an audience. Next, consider the steps you can take to make sure that your presentation produces the desired effect.

(5) Prepare your talk in advance. Ten minutes is sufficient to present only one big idea in sufficient detail for most of the audience. Those who wish more detail can get it during questioning period that follows each presentation, or can correspond with you after the meeting. At the leisurely pace of 130 words a minute, a 10-minute paper should contain no more than 1300 words. This would occupy approximately six full pages of double-spaced typing {друкований текст з подвшною eidcmanw м1ж лтшками) with good wide margins (поля). If slides, overhead transparences (npoaipKU для використання на проекторе are included, limit your paper to five typewritten pages or less. Some speakers feel that if they prepare too much material, they merely need to read faster. Don’t try it! You may finish your paper, but few in the audience will finish with you.

(6) Rehearse the presentation. When the entire paper has been written out, edit it mercilessly (без жалю) to delete any unnecessary words or phrases that detract (в1дволтати) from the main idea. Then rehearse it several times using a tape recorder or a sympathetic listener.

(7) If you find it impossible to include all of the essential details in the allocated (видыеиий) time, here is a trick that you can try. Leave out a whole section of your presentation, but just give enough information to the audience interested. Then, at the end of the paper, the additional information can be worked in while answering questions from the audience. If, on the other hand, the audience does not express enough interest to ask questions, perhaps it is better that the material was left out.

(8) Some people feel that a word-for-word reading of a carefully composed paper is a poor practice since it lacks the warm personal and human touch of an extem­poraneous (Ыпров1зований, зроблений без тдготовки) delivery. They argue that one might do better by obtaining a copy of the paper and save the expense of attending a conference where such papers are read verbatim (досл1вно, слово в слово). Others feel that extemporaneous papers should be banned (заборонений) because speakers do not keep timing.

(9) To achieve a balance between a well-composed paper that is dulled by reading and an extemporaneous paper that suffers from poor planning and unnecessary repetition, try for the ideal situation. Carefully compose the paper. Then, rehearse it so well that you are able to look at the audience during the delivery and give them the feeling that the presentation is extemporaneous.

Unit 4

(10) Always include an introduction and a summary. Even if a paper is only 10 minutes long, it is wise to spend a minute introducing the topic by showing how it fits into the subject matter and another minute at the end for a summary of the main points. This is well expressed by the adage (euaiie). “Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Then, tell them what you told them.”

Task 4. 49. Read and translate the text using the dictionary, if necessary, and answer the questions that follow:

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