Hi, I'm writing a few summaries and I want to know if there is anything I could do to improve them - such as cutting out unnecessary details (please explain why they are unnecessary) or substituting much more clearer words to make my expression more succinct or any other ways that you fell could .
As a rule during my test, I can only write 3 sentences maximum.
Passage 1: In the 1930s, when the radio was just beginning to be a popular form of entertainment, most people did not realize that it would, in time, become an important medium for news reporting. A dramatic even that changed people’s idea of what radio could achieve took place over a period of 69 hours when a Canadian radio reporter named Frank Willis captured the attention of all of North America with his dramatic on-the-spot reports from a mining disaster in a small town in Nova Scotia. When Willis heard that three men had been buried alive in a cave-in at the Moose River Mine, he hurried to the site and began transmitting on-the-hour reports on how the rescue efforts were being carried out. His graphic descriptions were broadcast for a few minutes ever hour for 69 hours by 58 radio stations in Canada and 650 in the United States. This broadcast that changed the image of radio ended after two of the three trapped miners were found alive and brought to the surface.
Summary 1: Canadian Frank Willis helped spread the usage of radios across North America after his detailed live broadcasts were made of a mining incident. His live coverage was transmitted over many radio stations regionally. It ended after some of the people involved in the mine were rescued.
Passage 2: A tree called the American chestnut was remarkable. Its wood was strong, straight-grained, free of knots, and easy to log. As a result, many manufacturing industries were dependent on its wood. In addition, the nuts from this tree could be eaten by humans and animals. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 20th century, a fungus was accidentally brought to North America on Asiatic chestnut trees. This fungus penetrated the bark of the American chestnut destroying its central core leading to the tree’s demise. Although extensive efforts were made to fight the fungus, it spread rapidly because its spores were easily transferred by the wind or on the feet of birds over huge forested areas throughout North America (some areas were untouched by the fungus). Within 40 years of the arrival of the fungus in North America, billions of trees had died, and the mature American chestnut was virtually eliminated. Today, along many streets in Canada, there are healthy chestnut trees, but they are not related to the American chestnut. They are called horse chestnuts, native to Greece, but imported from England, however, their wood is not usable and their nuts, inedible. Despite the fungal decimation of the American chestnut, scientists are trying to cross-breed it with Asiatic chestnuts to make it immune to the fungus, thus restoring the American chestnut.
Summary 2: The American chestnut tree was useful to both human society and nature. A fungus carried by the Asiatic chestnut tree became an invasive species thus decimating the native chestnut tree. Solutions such as using different chestnut trees have been implemented as well as combining the two tree species.
Passage 3: One of the most amazing highways in the world begins in Dawson Creek, British Columbia and, nearly 2500 kilometres later, ends up in Fairbanks, Alaska. Although tree-quarts of it is in British Columbia, this roadway through the northern wilderness is called the Alaska Highway. In Canada, after leaving Dawson Creek, it passes through Fort St. John and Fort Nelson in British Columbia, and Whitehouse in the Yukon. Construction of the Alaska Highway was begun during World War II because the United States government was convinced that Alaska was going to be attacked by Japanese military forces and, therefore, it needed a more dependable supply route than was offered by either sea or air. Ships were vulnerable to submarines; airplanes could be grounded by bad weather. In the summer of 1942, 10 000 United States soldiers were sent to the area to bulldoze a road over five mountain ranges. Although many people thought the road would take several years to build, a rough highway between Dawson Creek and Fairbanks was cut through the wilderness in eight months. After the soldiers had done their part of the work, an all-weather gravel road was completed by 16 000 American and Canadian civilian workers. The Japanese never did invade Alaska, but after the war, the highway became a major factor in the expansion of forestry, mining, and tourism in northern British Columbia.
Summary 3: There is a long highway that crosses Alaska and British Columbia called the Alaska Highway. It was built in several months by American and Canadian personnel to be a reliable route of transportation compared with sea vessels and aircraft. The highway did not play a part in World War two but is now used as a point of interest for civilian industries.
Last edited by Ulysses; 31-Jul-2009 at 18:56.
(2) Insert 'from the site' - again another important feature, and only 3 words.
(3) perhaps the word 'finally' which would indicate that the broadcasts happened over a long period of time without actually giving the specific information.
Summarising helps to make us think of the use of adjective and adverb expressions which are very descriptive.
(4) You can expand the sentence by including how the tree is useful - you don't need to write another sentence at all. If anything, the first summary sentence is a bit short.
(5) Again, you can include the idea that some parts were not affected eg. 'with the exception of some areas'. Thus, the idea is maintained even in the summary.
(6) Think how you could indicate the period of time in the summary - it's quite an important fact.
Another skill in summarising is conciseness and at the same time keeping all the relevant facts. People sometimes think that sentences need to be short but this isn't always the case; if they are too short they can be a bit like bullet points.
So keeping the above points in mind:
(7) What about the distance - it would be appropriate to include how much is in BC. By the way, quarter is the word you need to indicate a part of a distance. Quart is a term specific to volume.
(8) You could mention something about the numbers of people involved.
(9) What do you think is the significant feature? You compared it to the sea and air routes - what is the reason for a land route?
Some food for thought. The ideas are not meant to be exhaustive; for summaries 2 and 3 they are meant to be more like pointers.