5, 4, 3, 1 Sentence Summary Examples for Books, Movies, and Articles

Writing summaries helps to digest the information.

A good summary needs to be able to digest, condense, and present to the reader the essence of a text or a story. Summary writing is a valuable educational device for high school or college students or for readers in general. Learning how to summarize the essential core of a text or story in your own words helps to focus your attention and appropriate the information in an efficient and effective manner.

There are many different types of summaries. People may want to write a summary of a short story, a good book they read, a movie, or any other sort of content they have consumed. Book reviews (or any other sort of content that includes a summary) are, oftentimes, much longer than one to five sentences, but there are specific categorizations for shorter summaries, including the 5, 4, 3, and 1 sentence summaries. In this article, we will talk about 1 sentence summaries and 3 sentence summaries.

1 How to Write a One Sentence Summary

One sentence summaries (also known as loglines), as the name suggests, are summaries consisting of only 1 sentence, which is roughly 25 words total. These summaries are not meant to include all important details of a work or serve as a retelling of any kind; it is simply meant to get someone interested in whatever it is you’re summarizing.

These summaries will take a large work that might have many significant plot points, complex main characters, and vivid storytelling and boil it down into a concise, simple statement.

Take J.K. Rowling’s ‌Harry Potter‌‌ and The Sorcerer's Stone‌,‌ for example.

You might write something like:

A young boy goes to a magical school where he trains as a wizard and must fight for his life against the Dark Lord, who killed his parents when he was a baby.

2 How to Write a Three Sentence Summary

Writing a three sentence summary can be a difficult task, depending on the writing style you’re used to and the type of work you are summarizing. If this is your first time writing a three sentence summary, here are a few tips to make the writing process a little easier.

3 1. Find the Thesis Statement

Skim the text that you are‌ ‌summarizing‌‌.‌ Write down the author's thesis statement, the heading and subheading titles, and author's conclusion.

4 2. Find the Tone and Main Ideas

Carefully read the text and underline the central main ideas.‌ Pay attention to the author's arguments as well as the tone of the text.

5 3. Draft Your Summary

Write a draft of the summary.‌ Use the draft to outline the main points of your summary. Determine which essential points need to be included and which can be left out.

6 4. First Sentence Overview

Write an overview of the text in the first sentence of the summary.‌ The first sentence is a synopsis that summarizes the text or story in a nutshell. Imagine that you are responding to the question "What is the article or story about?"

7 5. Second Sentence Plot or Arguments

Describe the author's central arguments or the story's main plot in the second sentence.‌ This may be the most difficult part of a three sentence summary because you may be condensing a complicated multi-layered argument or a complicated storyline into one sentence.

8 6. Conclude with Evaluation

Conclude the summary‌ with an overall evaluation of the article or the story.

Good luck in your summary writing!

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.