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How to Write a Good Article Summary

Updated on July 30, 2012
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.


So, you've written an article. You know it is good. You worked hard on it. Now, you need to write an article summary so readers can get a good idea of what you have written about and entices them to read the whole thing.

How do you do that? You just wrote the article. Can you really get it written down to just a few sentences?

Yes, you can. And here is how.

Purpose of a Summary

In days gone by, article summaries were used to give a reader a hint as to what was in a magazine. It typically was one to two sentences. The world has changed with most articles appearing online. That means the search for articles have changed. Now, search engines look through article summaries to match keyword searches to provide the quality results.

That is where article summaries come into play. These summaries describe to the reader what the article is about without giving away everything. It is a three to four sentence summary of what the reader will find and is generally worded to grab the readers attention and make them want more.

First Sentences

It can be hard to write an article summary of your own work. Why? Because you know it too well. You want to reveal too much or write too much. You don't need to rewrite the entire article. You just need a few sentences.

Most writers put the topics of each paragraph in the first sentence. Start off by reading the first sentence of each paragraph you have written. Don't read anything else. In fact, do this a day or two after you have written the article if possible. This helps you distance yourself and be more objective in your writing.

These first sentences will help guide you in writing your article summary.

Be Concise

Let me restate that you are not rewriting the article. You are summarizing it. This means less talk and more to the point. You need to sum up the gist of article from three hundred to a thousand words to just three or four sentences. No more. You don't want too much less either.

Your goal is to be concise will not losing the power of the article. This is not always easy to do. It takes practice. You might even have to rewrite a few. Ask some friends to read over what you wrote and get their opinions.

Defining Good

Article summaries are easy to create, but are they good? That is a good question. Want to know if your article summary is a good article summary? Answer the following questions:

1. Does it state the purpose of the article clearly?

2. Is it concise?

3. Does it entice the reader to want more?

If you can answer yes to each of these questions, you have a good article summary.

Do you read article summaries?

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Voted Up and Useful. You did a very good job of highlighting the article summary. Thanks for sharing.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great hub! This is hard for many I think. All said though, I've improved since I started writing for Hubpages though.

      Voted up


      PS. thanks for sharing Billy or I'd have never come across it

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great topic for a hub! I don't think I've seen one on this subject. Well done and great information and tips.

    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great hub! Article summaries are often overlooked but they're often what gets someone to read the article!

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Your hub reminded me of a task that's long overdue - putting summaries in each of my hubs. Hahaha! But you are right, it's kind of difficult to create article summaries because one has the tendency to give away the entirety of the content.

      Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips. Voted up and shared with friends!