Nicholas Carr’s Article Summary

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/ Teacher says: For Essay #1, you will write a summary of Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” It is found on pages 424-39 of They Say/I Say with Readings. Your summary should consist of several paragraphs and should be typed in a double-spaced format with a size-12 font. Although many details will need to be eliminated, the goal is to come as close as possible to 800 words without omitting essential facts from the original text. Thus, 800 words is more or less the maximum length allowed on this paper. You have leeway of just 30 words above or below the stated limit.   When you make a summary, you take someone else’s writing and produce a shorter version of it in your own words. The value of writing a summary is that it forces you to notice the overall structure of a text so that you become more aware of ways to organize your own essays. Also, as you select certain details from the original to keep and others to omit, you start to understand the role of supporting evidence in your own writing. Furthermore, writing a summary forces you to make every word count. If a summary is too long, then people might as well read the original text instead.   In addition to the general advice given above, follow these instructions:   1. In your first paragraph, mention the title and author of the text that you are summarizing. Also describe what the original text looks like: i.e., how long it is, when and where it was published, how it is structured, what its rhetorical purpose is, and who its intended audience seems to be. (I will discuss how you can determine an author’s rhetorical purpose and intended audience on the next page in this module.)   2. Retain the order of the original text, even if its events seem to be told in a non-chronological manner.   3. As you prepare what to include, identify the main point of each section, chapter, paragraph, page, or scene of the original text. These main points should constitute the bulk of your summary, but feel free to consolidate them when you write them up. For example, several paragraphs in the original might be covered by one paragraph of your own.   4. Eliminate many examples and details from the original text, but maintain a sense of balance that is proportionate to it. The more space that the author devoted to a topic, the more coverage you must give to it as well. On the other hand, if the writer barely touched on a detail, then you may be able to skip it altogether.   5. Avoid quotations; put everything in your own words except for special terms used by the author. However, some students in past years have interpreted this direction to mean that they can just copy the author’s sentences without putting quotation marks around them. Wrong! In such cases, the words still belong to that other person, not you. Even worse is the fact that using them without quotation marks means that you would be committing plagiarism, which automatically earns you an “F” on the assignment.   6. Write your summary from a third-person point of view, regardless of what point of view is used in the original text. Thus, avoid reference to yourself; don’t use “I” or “me.”   7. Be neutral; do not give your opinion. Thus, when you are done, do not say that the original author did a good job or a poor job; instead, just conclude by describing his last point.

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