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Analysing reporting and direct quotes in a summary

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This task is based on another example of summary writing from a student essay. This time it is a summary of a section of Thomas Aquinas' The Five Ways, a famous tract that seeks to prove the existence of God.

  1. How many reporting expressions can you identify in this short summary?.

  2. You will notice that the student has included some of Aquinas' original words? How have these been incorporated into the essay?

Student summary of Aquinas' Fourth Way

The fourth way examines the gradation which is found in things. Aquinas draws our attention to details in things; that some are better than others, and other things are less so, in comparison to one thing which must be the maximum. For example, that which is hotter in comparison to that which is hottest. This he applies also, to qualities such as nobility, perfection, truth. He then quotes a passage from Metaph ii, which claims that the maximum of, say heat, is also the cause of all hot things. Aquinas concludes:

... there must be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God ( The Five Ways, p.85)

Check your answers

The student included four reporting expressions, highlighted in bold:

Student summary of Aquinas' Fourth Way

The fourth way examines the gradation which is found in things. Aquinas draws our attention to details in things; that some are better than others, and other things are less so, in comparison to one thing which must be the maximum. For example, that which is hotter in comparison to that which is hottest. This he applies also, to qualities such as nobility, perfection, truth. He then quotes a passage from Metaph ii, which claims that the maximum of, say heat, is also the cause of all hot things. Aquinas concludes:

... there must be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God ( The Five Ways, p.85)

Notice that the student has included Aquinas' original words as an indented quotation (with title and page number).

Notice also that the student's essay contains a summary of a summary (shown in italics).

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