Example Summary Essay

Former Student

Professor Pedrick

English 101.8

24 July 2007

Email: the Wave of the Future

In today’s advancing world, the gaps between people are closing in.Technology allows us to communicate with people all around the world with the click of a button.The ease of use and the time efficiency of email are suddenly replacing the slower obsolete snail mail.The gamut of users has a hard time adjusting to the impersonal and new technology email.This difficult transition between what people are used to and what is new, plagues millions of people a day.However, Mark Hansen has the solution with his essay:“Email: what you Should and Shouldn’t Write.”Most email users often run quick spell and grammar checks but fail to see how their message comes across to the readers.Sure an email can be grammatically correct and have the best punctuation, but it could leave the reader offended and hurt by its straight bluntness.Hansen solves these internet social mishaps with a simple set of eleven rules that almost always prevents these offensive moments.Among these rules is: avoid beginning an email with a criticism.For example, if someone wanted to address someone he or she hasn’t seen in a while, he or she wouldn’t start the email with “hey how come you never call me, are you stupid or something?”This would put the reader in a bad mood right away.Another great rule Hansen mentions is: make sure the message is concise and straight to the point.For example, don’t have the email be eight pages long and only have the message say: “take out the garbage.”In addition to those great rules, Hansen states that one can offend a reader with too much bluntness; it sounds rude.All of these rules provide much needed insight to the basic regulations to help prevent email mistakes and misunderstandings, while at the same time, Hansen’s point is clear and is easy to follow, and his writing style, support, and purpose are well written out.

Hansen has good points about emails in his essay.His thesis is clearly stated in the first paragraph and says, “Even well-meaning individuals write messages they would never say aloud.These eleven rules will help in the use of email” (Hansen 562).Each rule helps strengthen his main point and was clearly highlighted to show the significance.The main thesis is supported by valid and valuable points.For example, when he exclaims, “picture the recipient’s reaction to your message,” he supports his point of writing to cater to the audience’s viewpoint (Hansen 563).Hansen uses a situation example to put the reader into a problem of talking to a person and how the person would react.Hansen also explains in this point that when a person talks to someone face to face, he or she has physical body language to lessen a joke; however, when someone writes an email, this luxury doesn’t exist.Another valuable point Hansen utilizes is to avoid beginning an email with a criticism to make sure the mood of the person is good when reading (563).This point is very valid because no one wants to start a conversation with something that sounds like an insult.Hansen further proves this point because in an email, the blunt use of words is pointed out more and is highlighted versus when a person starts a conversation on a phone or face to face.Hansen asserts it’s always better to start a conversation with a positive note rather than a negative note.

These points Hansen proclaims in his essay are indeed valid and are the case for most people, but are they sufficient enough to support the thesis?Of course they are.Hansen breaks down the many mistakes when writing emails, and then with each problem, he provides a short, concise solution that anyone could do.For example, “Remember the human elements in communication,” which Hansen suggests when writing an email because people have to keep it very personal and be well-mannered (564).Although people have to use cold heartless technology as a means to communicate, it doesn’t mean the person they are communicating with is cold and heartless as well.These common courtesies Hansen reports are what help solve the problem of the impersonal feeling of the email.Hansen clearly points out one of the main problems with email and attacks the problem with a viable, easy to understand solution.Another problem and solution Hansen reveals is to “make sure your message is not too cryptic” (563).Hansen want the writer to always keep in mind the audience and make sure the audience doesn’t have to “read between the lines” so that the writer’s message is clear (563).Hansen again reasserts that communication is the key to maintain an email correspondence.People shouldn’t have to make the other person decipher what is being said.Hansen solves this problem by suggesting that one must write similar to the way one talks.All of the problems and solutions Hansen offers as support are indeed enough to help the thesis keep its validity.

Hansen writes about all these problems and solutions on email, but how does he deliver the meaning to the reader?Simple, it’s all in his “style,” the way he writes to the audience and how he uniquely caters to them.Hansen’s style is of a journalist or short-column writer.He establishes a topic, in this case problems dealing with email, and then further elaborates the problems with situations and personal experiences that anyone who reads the article can relate to.Next, he presents his own opinion on how to solve the problems in a clear, concise manner or tone.This method not only is straight forward but makes it easier for the reader to get into the work.However, this is not the only method Hansen employs; he also uses a bullet or numbering system to further break down each issue and solution.His paper is very organized and allows maximum clarity for the reader to follow.

Hansen seems to have everything in order to address the audience and help solve their problems.Hansen uses many tactics to help organize and present his thesis and support.He uses a numbering system and organizes problems and solutions to highlight significance.This in turn helps any reader quickly absorb the information and solutions for use.Hansen has an almost comical, commonsense style to his writing.He also points out the solution but after people read it, they say to themselves “well that’s obvious.”His main points of the problems of email use are well supported by his use of examples and personal relations.Hansen really shines through in the solution parts of his essay where he explains how anyone might solve the problems easily.Hansen really achieves grabbing the audience and presenting his purpose.He has given an adequate assessment of email and its problems.The solutions are easily relatable for users and are very viable.Everyone needs to use these solutions to ride the wave of the future instead of getting caught in the undertow.

Writing the Summary Essay:

A summary essay should be organized so that others can understand the source or evaluate your comprehension of it.  The following format works well: 

Introduction (usually one paragraph)

1.    Contains a one-sentence thesis statement that sums up the main point of the source.
         This thesis statement is not your main point; it is the main point of your source. Usually, though, you have to write this statement rather than quote it from the source text.  It is a one-sentence summary of the entire text that your essay summarizes.

2.    Also introduces the text to be summarized:
            (i) Gives the title of the source (following the citation guidelines of whatever style sheet you are using);
            (ii)  Provides the name of the author of the source;
            (ii)  Sometimes also provides pertinent background information about the author of the source or about the text to be summarized.
The introduction should not offer your own opinions or evaluation of the text you are summarizing. 

Body (one or more paragraphs):
This paraphrases and condenses the original piece.  In your summary, be sure that you:

1.     Include important data but omit minor points;
2.     Include one or more of the author’s examples or illustrations (these will bring your summary to life);
3.     Do not include your own ideas, illustrations, metaphors, or interpretations.  Look 
            upon yourself as a summarizing machine; you are simply repeating what the source text says, in fewer words and in your own words.  But the fact that you are using your own words does not mean that you are including your own ideas. 


There is customarily no conclusion to a summary essay.

When you have summarized the source text, your summary essay is finished.  Do not add your own concluding paragraph unless your teacher specifically tells you to.


–    Summaries identify the source of original text.

–    Summaries demonstrate your understanding of a text's subject matter.

–    Summaries are shorter (at least 60% shorter)  than the original text--they omit the original text's "examples, asides, analogies, and rhetorical strategies.

–    Summaries differ from paraphrases--paraphrases more closely follow the original text's presentation (they still use your words, but they are longer than summaries).

–    Summaries focus exclusively on the presentation of the writer's main ideas--they do not include your interpretations or opinions.

–    Summaries normally are written in your own words--they do not contain extended quotes or paraphrases.

–    Summaries rely on the use of standard signal phrases ("According to the author..."; "The author believes..."; etc.).

Tips on Writing Summaries

Step One (Prewriting):

Read the article quickly.

Try to get a sense of the article's general focus and content.

Step Two (Drafting):

Restate the article's thesis simply and in your own words.

Restate each paragraph's topic simply and in your own words.

Step Three (Revising):

Combine sentences in Step Two to form your summary; organize your summary sentences in the same order as the main ideas in the original text.

Edit very carefully for neatness and correctness.

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