Summary Skills• Introduction: Over the years I have noticed that students at O’ level find the summary question (which appears in Paper II of the English examinations) a challenge.• This is not because these students are not able to identify the relevant points of the question.• More often than not, they find it difficult to carry out the following tasks: • Make appropriate paraphrases (those that do not alter the meaning of the sentence) • Condense the meaning of sentences. • Make appropriate word or phrase substitutions
Lesson Agenda• By the end of these sessions, students should be able to: • Identify what is a good paraphrase, • Condense the meaning of sentences and • Substitute words and phrases appropriately • Apply these skills in the context of a summary at O’ Level
What is a paraphrase?• Re-writing a sentence into a shorter form while not altering its original meaning.• Paraphrasing is important in summary writing because it reduces the number of words used while not changing the meaning of the sentence or content.
Steps to paraphrasing• Step 1: Read the main point again to understand the meaning of the point• Step 2: Keeping the meaning in mind, substitute phrases and clauses with single words – (Generalizations)• Step 3: Check to see if the meaning of the point has changed.• Step 4: Write the sentence into your summary.
What is a paraphrase?Original passage:“Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as aresult they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probablyonly about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directlyquoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount ofexact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. “Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.”A good paraphrase:“In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keepquoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usuallyoriginates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the materialrecorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).”
Let’s practice• See worksheet…• What was your chief challenge in coming up with a paraphrase?• How did you ensure that the meaning was not changed?
Lesson Recap• What are paraphrases?• How do they improve your summary?
Condensing TheSentenceWriting a tighter summary
What is condensation?• In Science… • “…To reduce to another and denser form, as a gas or vapor to a liquid or solid state. (from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/condense)• In English… • a similar process occurs, accept that instead of water vapour, words and phrases are “reduced” and trimmed of unnecessary repetitions and sometimes of details to achieve a shorter more concise interpretation.
Why do we need to condense asentence?• Simple…to achieve the following: • Create a more efficient message • Reduce the possibility of confusion • Reduce the number of words used (especially in an exam!)
Condensation means…• Pruning the redundant • Avoid repetitions: • “…many uneducated people, who have never attended school, continue to vote for better schools. • The hunter shot down a total of 14 birds. • In spite of the fact that, he was too young, he still managed to enlist in the armed forces before World War II. • Professor Lim is a recognised expert in the field of labour economics.
Condensation means…• Reducing Clauses to Phrases • Original: Smith College, which was founded in 1871, is the premier all-womens college in the United States • Shortened: Founded in 1871, Smith College is the premier all- women‘s college in the United States. • Original: Citizens who knew what was going on voted him out of office. • Shortened: Knowledgeable citizens, voted him out of office.
Condensation means…• Reducing Phrases to words • Avoid using words such as quite, very, really, etc. Would saying something is very inadequate add any new meaning to the idea expressed? • Original: The Lim family were upset over the pay revisions in the civil service. They felt that these revisions were quite insufficient in view of the cost increases in Singapore. • Shortened: The Lim family were upset over the civil service pay revisions as they felt that these were insufficient.
Condensation means…• Phrases you can omit…be careful of them!• These phrases have over time been added to writing so as to make the article or passage more authoritative…however they really do not add anything to the piece of writing.• Examples are: • All things considered, the pay rise for ministers was necessary. • As a matter of fact, I just sent him the article today. • Due to the fact that, their livelihoods have been restored, many villagers are returning to their original surroundings • For all intents and purposes, foreign domestic helpers already have an off day, whenever their employers are not at home. For more examples visit: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/concise.htm
Condensation means…• Eliminating Clichés and Euphemisms • A cliché is an overused expression that has lost its meaning over time – these should be eliminated from your summary as it does not add any new meaning to what you are stating. E.g • The ministers engaged in meaningful dialogue with the residents of Block 457 over the incident with their water tank. • A euphemism is an expression that has been doctored so as not to convey /conceal its original or intended meaning. E.g. • A spokesman for the RAF told a press conference that the Allies had launched several day time surgical air-strikes on the villages in the Temerloh area of Pahang
Let’s practice• Take no more than 20 mins with this exercise…let’s see how much condensation we can achieve today…
Lesson RecapSteps to writing a Summary• Step 1: Analyse the question & list the topic to be summarised.• Step 2: Pick only the relevant points• Step 3: List the points and double check if they are relevant• Step 4: Start paraphrasing• Step 5: Write up draft and carry out a final edit.
Lesson recap…• What is condensation in English? • What does condensing a sentence mean? • What are the ways that sentences can be condensed? • What are Euphemisms and Clichés