I was standing next to someone at the crosswalk out in front of South Campus Hall and I noticed the word “Forward” tattooed across her ankle. Single words inked on skin are a huge trend right now, and a quick search shows that the words people choose represent a summary of life goals, belief systems, or ideals.
Choosing one word to represent you or encapsulate some aspect of your being into a single concept is a bit like writing an extreme summary, like condensing a four hundred page book down to four. First, you need to understand the very essence of what you’re summarizing, and second, it should be comprehensive but brief. What you say must be relevant, clear, and concise.
With a tattoo it’s fine to leave other people wondering what you’re getting at,
but with an article or book summary your reader shouldn’t have to guess what you’re trying to say.
Here are some tips for writing a good summary:
- Read the article as many times as it takes to understand it completely.
- Underline the thesis and topic sentences.
- Write a draft capturing the main ideas you underlined.
- Consolidate similar ideas into one sentence.
- When you revise, make sure you have included only the original author’s ideas, and not your own commentary.
And remember to proofread before you hand it in.