Summarization is a useful technique that can come in handy in various writing situations. For students, learning and mastering summarization is important since it is a regular part of their assignments. For writers and bloggers, summarization is important since it lets them create meta descriptions, synopses, and excerpts for their content.
In this post, we’re going to be looking at some tips that you can use to condense and shorten English text effectively, i.e., without losing its original meaning.
Tips to Shorten English Content Effectively: Summarization 101
1. Determine the length that you want to shrink the content down to
The first thing that you should do is determine how short you actually want to make the content. Not all summaries are the same. There is no single standard for summarization that has to be followed everywhere.
In some places, you may have to shrink the content to 50% of its size. In some places, you may have to shrink it to 20%.
Depending on the requirement at hand, you will have to tackle the process differently. This is why it is important to determine the length of the summary before you get started.
2. Read the content carefully
The next thing that you should do is read the content a few times in detail. The purpose of this is to understand all the points and aspects contained in it so that none of the important ones are left out.
Reading the content is a fairly simple thing to do. You just have to do it a couple of times, with each session having some gap between it and the next. And the other thing you have to do is just be very meticulous about reading all the details.
3. Jot down the main points
One of the best approaches to writing a summary is to extract all the main points from the passage and then elaborate on those main points in brief terms before piecing it all together.
To follow this approach, of course, you have to first note down the points themselves.
To decide which points are worth noting down (and further explaining), you basically have to look at what role each of them has on the overall meaning and context of the text. For example, here are three sentences.
The man was walking on the road. The road was made of asphalt. The day was sunny.
No, in these sentences, there are three main points:
- The action of the man
- The material of the road
- The weather
The material of the road, in this instance, is completely extra and irrelevant to the passage. Thus, we can only use the other two points to create a summary like this:
It was sunny, and the man was walking on the road.
4. Use short words and short sentences to elaborate the points
Once you have the points all made, the next thing you need to do is elaborate on them and explain them before piecing them all together.
When you’re expanding on the points, you basically have to use short and concise language. The words you use should be short and descriptive and the same goes for the sentences.
To keep the sentences short, you basically just have to use active voice instead of passive except for instances where the latter is necessary.
If you take care of these aspects, the final summary will be nice and short.
5. Use an online tool to get help in the summarization process
Creating a summary can be tough, especially if you are not used to it. If you can’t think of how to shorten a piece of text effectively, you can always take the help of an online summarization tool.
There are different tools available online that can shorten a provided piece of text in a matter of seconds. You can use them initially to get an idea of how the summarization process works.
Of course, since tools are tools, you should use them cautiously. You should watch all the outputs to ensure that there is no illogical addition or any major omission of any of the points.
You can find tools like these easily with a single search on Google.
And that is pretty much it.
Mastering summarization is not difficult. The process is pretty simple and straightforward, and there are some simple tips that you can follow to make it even more effective.
In this post, we’ve looked at some of the tips that you can follow when shortening text to make the output as descriptive and concise as possible.