Why Writers/Speakers Use These
• See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQiqHgE0h3U&feature=player_embedded
• To make points that are interesting
• To strengthen arguments
• To clarify things hard-to-understand material
In Summarizing . . .
• Focus on the purpose: a good summary
focuses on the writer’s purpose.
Provide just enough information to point the
reader to the example, story or detail to look for
Do not overstate;
Do not give too many details that need
explanation or background support.
Structures and Summary
• The speaker told a story about . . .
• The speaker told a story that . . .
• The speaker told a story of X to do (for the
purpose of) Y. . .
FROM THE VIDEO #1
• Bea Johnson told a story about how her family
downsized their home and their lifestyle.
• Bea Johnson told a story that showed how she
downsized her lifestyle while downsizing her
• Bea Johnson explained how getting a smaller
home got her started in the zero waste
Descriptions v. Generalizations
• Descriptions focus on visual details. They
don’t belong in summaries.
• Generalizations serve as “topic sentences” and
point readers to go looking for the details.
Generalizations are also connected to
FROM THE VIDEO #2
• Descriptive details about trash: a huge can of
trash/ once a week; a handful of trash
collected in four months.
• Generalizations: significantly reduced trash
• Bea Johnson says that her trash output has
gone from one big can a week to a small
handful of trash in four months.
• Bea Johnson shows how the zero-waste
lifestyle has caused her trash output to drop
to almost nothing .
Groupings and Categories
• Sometimes writers will provide long lists of
• The point is to look for the common element
in the list and create a category.
• Again, focus on the purpose of the list.
FROM THE VIDEO #3
• Bulk, bring bottles, cleaning
products, homemade, vinegar, micro-
fiber, compostable tooth brushes, milk in
reusable bottles, stores in mesh bags, jars to
the store, one for meat . . .
• Bea Johnson explains how she makes her own
cleaning products with vinegar and stores
items in jars and mesh bags she brings to the
• Bea Johnson shows how she reduces
packaging waste as well as chemical impact on
the environment when purchasing groceries
and common household items.