More about Summaries

Last week we learned how to write a Summary.

And what are we going to deal with today?

Different ways to approach a summary.

Let’s start.

Step 1

Read the following text.

Many diseases, totally unheard of many years ago, are now well known. They are often referred to as modern diseases. The chronic fatigue syndrome – CFS – is one of the most common diseases in this category.

Actually, it is not  such a new disease. It was first described in medical literature in 1969, but it didn't suddenly appear then. It had probably always been there. And yet, only when it became common, did it get proper public attention.

Patients complained of continuous fatigue, mild fever, sore throats, sore muscles, headaches, weakness, mental confusion and sleep problems. The large variety of symptoms made it very difficult for physicians to identify the disease. The patients were often unable to clearly define or describe their feelings. It was clear, however, that their well being had been seriously affected.

The symptoms were at first attributed to psychological reasons. "It's all in the head," many specialists said. There is still no definite answer as to the causes of this disease, but most experts agree that although psychological stress might be one of the causes, it is by no means the only factor leading to CFS. This disease is now considered an infection that may seriously affect patients for a very long period.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months and that cannot be fully explained by an underlying medical condition. The fatigue worsens with physical or mental activity, but doesn't improve with rest.

The problem is that there is no specific test to diagnose CFS. The patients must go through a series of tests to rule out all other possibilities first. Many experts blame the disease on environmental and social factors such as pollution, stress and unhealthy diets. The drugs prescribed are aimed at treating just the symptoms and only for a short period of time. Absolute rest, mild physical exercise and a healthy diet are recommended as part of the long term treatment.

Step 2

Let's work on a summary of the text.

  • You may wish to start as follows:

The passage deals with…

  • Now copy only the main sentence of each paragraph. The main sentence is the sentence that provides essential information. If absolutely necessary, add a few words from other sentences.
  • Try to shorten each of the sentences (one for each paragraph) by deleting any information that is not essential (adjectives, adverbs, subordinate clauses, etc.) Exclude all repetitions
  • Reorganize the sentences using the following expressions:

anyway, actually…
in addition, besides…


         And that’s all for today. More writing activities in my next post.

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