ENGL 102
Writing and Research
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Definition - 4 thesis examples - basic guidelines - grading elements - 4 complete examples - Summary #1 assignment

Here are four examples of possible first sentences of a summary of the essay on page 110-113 of the WARAC:


Andrew Leonard’s essay “We’ve Got Mail – Always” argues that email is the internet application that has had the most effect on most people.


Andrew Leonard has a true love/hate relationship with email, according to his essay “We’ve Got Mail – Always.”


“We’ve Got Mail – Always,” by Andrew Leonard, presents both the negative and positive effects of email on people’s lives.


The world is a smaller, faster place these days, and email reflects that change and may have helped create it according to “We’ve Got Mail – Always” by Andrew Leonard.

Basic Summary Guidelines:

All of these summaries are objective, no value judgments about the source. At the same time, each one states just a little differently what the thesis or main idea of the essay was.

A summary should always be short. A good summary is usually a maximum of one page, no more than one paragraph in length.

The first line is actually a type of summary called a sentence summary. Writers usually want or need to add a bit more detail. However, remember that the purpose of a summary is to reduce the source down to only the most important, general ideas. If the reader wants the specifics or details, they can read the source.

You might want to tell us that an author gives us twelve ways to avoid bankruptcy. You might even want to break it down further and tell us that those twelve ways include legal, financial and institutional methods. However, you would NOT want to list each of the twelve ways individually.

The successful summary includes:

Here are the full summaries of the source using the first sentences given earlier as a starting point:


Andrew Leonard’s essay “We’ve Got Mail – Always” argues that email is the internet application that has had the most effect on most people. Not everybody uses the Internet, but everybody who uses the internet seems to use email. According to Leonard, people find themselves overwhelmed with email. People find themselves checking their email constantly, afraid that they’ll miss something. Leonard also recognizes the increased communication opportunities created by email, but overall presents a sense of frustration with how much it controls a person.


Andrew Leonard has a true love/hate relationship with email, according to his essay “We’ve Got Mail – Always.” On the one hand, he admires the speed, the ability to communicate long distances, and how easy it is to use. On the other hand, he also complains about being overwhelmed by the amount of email, the spread of spam, and how you can never quite escape from work as long as there’s Internet access available. Leonard points out that people are writing more than ever, but then admits that most of it is written quickly and not very well.


“We’ve Got Mail – Always,” by Andrew Leonard, presents both the negative and positive effects of email on people’s lives. Leonard uses many personal examples to show both the good and bad. He indicates how it’s easier to stay in touch with people far away or who have disabilities that keep them from using the phone. However, he also shows how he feels pressure to stay in constant contact with people, even when he’s supposed to be on vacation. According to Leonard, people are communicating more than ever thanks to email, but that this simply increases both the good and bad sides of communication. We hear from long-lost friends, but we also get pornographic spam.


The world is a smaller, faster place these days, and email reflects that change and may have helped create it according to “We’ve Got Mail – Always” by Andrew Leonard. We can communicate around the world as easily as we can to the next house thanks to email. The speed of email sometimes makes people feel out of control. According to Leonard, the fact that we can reply so easily makes us feel pressure to reply quickly. People reply faster than they should and don’t think things through like they would with a letter. The author uses personal examples to show how he stays in touch with people around the world, but also how he feels the need to check his email when he’s on vacation on the other side of the world himself.

The Summary #1 assignment is to take one of the articles from the What’s Happening at the Mall section of the WARAC, pages 248-326 and summarize it.

Summarize ONLY one article, please, not the whole section.

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