How to Summarize an Article (Essential Help Guide)

Have you ever pondered on how to summarize an article? Summarizing an article can be difficult if you are not used to it. It’s common to summarize articles as a part of a reading assignment, in class, or out of interest. It’s a good idea to write summaries to test your understanding of a topic

What Is a Summary?

A summary can be likened to a natural filter, which works to weed out extraneous and unnecessary details. That does not mean that a summary is replacing the source material. It only provides the focus and direction that the reader should need and want.

A summary is a concise version of a work or text. It is a version of a text that is an edited excerpt of the text that focuses on key points, ideas, and significant events. A summary often covers a lot of material in a short amount of time and is generally easier to read.

Writing a summary paragraph, summarizing a website, or summarizing an article are some ways people summarize.  A summary usually has a different structure than the original text.

A summary paragraph is an excellent place to start writing anytime for works, articles, websites, or other purposes. Some people say summary paragraphs are the most critical part of the writing process. 

A website summary, is essential for anyone that plans to write for the internet. When writing a website summary, write something that gives a reader a quick overall idea of the website. 

But today, we will focus on how to summarize an article. Let’s dive in!

How to Summarize an Article

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A summary is an abridgment of information that covers the main ideas. Since it condenses a lot of material into a short period, it is a valuable tool for achieving understanding. 

The summary is merely a short recap of the original article. It should ideally focus on the most important parts of the original article and include only the most necessary information and some explanation.

These tips will help you write a concise summary that makes sense. Here are some tips on how to summarize an article:

First, read the article. The more you know about the subject matter, the easier it is for you to write a thorough summary. 

Second, make a list of critical points and the sequence they will make their way into your summary. 

Third, remember what you read in the article and apply it to your summary. 

Finally, logically organize your summary, beginning with the introduction and first few sentences and ending with the final sentences.

How Long Should a Summary Be?

There is no set-in-stone answer to this question. There are many factors involved in writing a summary that will determine the length of the summary.

For example, how much detail do you want to include in the summary? What amount of detail is sufficient for the summary? Is it acceptable to make use of abbreviations in your summary? These are some of the many questions you will have to answer before you conclude.

The length of a summary will vary depending on the size of the source material and the objective for writing the summary. Often, your goal will play a significant role in determining the length of your summary. For example, Writing a marketing-oriented summary for a lifestyle magazine will likely be shorter than writing a medical article summary. 

 An important consideration about how long your summary should be is how much time you can reasonably expect to spend writing the summary. 

When to Summarize an Article

At what point do we summarize articles? This question is, in so many ways, different for each person. The most general summary, of course, is when the article has been read, but this isn’t always feasible. 

If a thesis statement has been taken from the article, it’s okay to summarize at the end. Also, if an article has been a struggle to read, it’s most efficient to summarize the main idea to be understood.

Other times, the point is when the article is finally interesting but is still not completely understood. This last section is where the reader’s brain can take the most time to understand the article, making it most inefficient. At this point, we can summarize the article with the least amount of effort. 

However, the vital thing to keep in mind is whether such a summary is helpful. 

What Makes a Good Summary

A summary lets readers quickly understand and grasp the central idea of a lengthier article. It sees the most critical points and includes the main argument and evidence. 

The best summary doesn’t assume the reader understands all the details and context of the original article. It aims to summarize the article’s main idea in the most concise way possible. 

An excellent summary also makes sure the reader knows the article’s main points and can quickly assess where the key points lie. 

If you are looking for the right words or phrases to include, then a conclusion is also reasonable to keep in mind. The conclusion of your summary should be something a little more in-depth than a cliffhanger. Always conclude your summary by leaving the audience with a unique idea or quotation. You could even summarize to motivate them to read the rest of the article further.


A summary is created to meet the needs of a few, like those who are too busy to read the full article. Summaries are often used as a guide around a series of articles. Depending on the article’s length, the summary should range from one paragraph to a few pages.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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