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Steps in Summarizing
1. Skim the original text and identify the author’s purpose and the main idea of the text.
2. Try to divide the text into logically complete parts. If it has subheadings, think about the idea that each section (or paragraph) contains.
3. Read the text again and take notes of the most important information in each section; you may also draw up an outline of the text.
4. Try to give a one-sentence summary of each section or item of the outline in your own words; avoid evaluation or comments. Use the words and phrases synonymous to those used by the author of the original text.
5. Think about most essential details that may be added to support the main points.
6. Formulate the introductory part of the summary including the name of the author, the title and the subject of the text.
7. Add appropriate transition words and phrases to show the logical connection between the parts of the summary.
8. If you prepare a summary in writing, go through the resulting text again and edit it.
An abstract, or synopsis (рус. аннотация) is a short written account of the original text, article, or book.
The purpose of the abstract is to give a potential reader the most important information about the text and prepare him/her for reading the whole text, or help decide whether to read it or not.
Abstracts may be written by authors themselves or by special reviewers, in case they are published in abstracting journals. The requirements to abstracts may vary, depending on the purpose and edition they are prepared for. Below you’ll find the most common language and textual characteristics of an abstract:
1. it consists of a single paragraph;
2. it contains 4-7 sentences;
3. it avoids the first person and tends to use impersonal active or passive constructions;
4. it rarely uses negative sentences;
5. it avoids abbreviations, symbols and numbers;
6. the most frequent tenses used in abstracts are the present and the past.
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