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Four possible opening sentences to a summary of "A Brief History of English.

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1. In the article "A Brief History of English, the author, proposes that it is important to
know English history in order to be able to understand the real English language. He
explains that the English language history which shifts gradually for a long period of
the time. It is very clear, condensed. He made it easy to follow complicated history of
English. His writing is based on chronological from 400 a.d. to the present.

Teacher's Commentary: In fixing this, start with the first sentence. Remember to give
the name of the author and the date -- Paul Roberts (1958). Check what he says -- he
doesn't say it's important to know English history. He says it's important to know the
history of the language (which is somewhat different!). In the second sentence, I'm not
sure what point you want to make by saying, ". . . which shifts gradually for a long
period of the time." This is unclear. Sentence 3 and 4 are not part of a summary. A
summary should not include an opinion of the work. I'd take those sentences out.
Sentence 5 has the right idea, but the grammar needs work.

2. Paul Roberts, a well-known linguist and the author, presented the history of the
English language in his essay, "The Brief History of English," taken from a book
called "Understanding English" published in 1958. He points out some specific
historical events which affected the changes of the English language from A.D. 400 to
present, to explain how the English language developed.

Teacher's Commentary. This is good. However, in revising, I think you could shorted
the first sentence. You don't need to mention where the essay was taken from. Just
focus on the essay. You could say: Paul Roberts (1958), a well known . . . .in his
essay, "A Brief History of English." The only problem with the second sentence is the
term "affected the changes." This could be made simpler by saying, "changed."

3. Paul Roberts, famous essay, "A Brief History of English "(1958) was written to
help people understand the history of English. He presented his arguments with the
use of chronological events examples of different word use, and major changes
tracing back to the Anglo-Saxons.

Teacher's Commentary. This is good. In revising, I'd put the date right after the name
of the author -- Paul Roberts (1958). You did a good job of showing why he wrote the
essay. In sentence 2 I'd be careful -- does he present an argument? Is there really an
opinion in this essay or is this just a factual presentation of information? Also be
careful to punctuate the list with commas:. . . the use of chronological events,
examples of different word use, and major changes . . .
4. In this article, "A Brief History of English" was written by Paul Robert in 1958 that
explained and told the history and development of English language. According to
Paul, we had to understand the history of the language to learn English.

Teacher's Commentary. Be careful as you write this that you make sure that you pay
attention to grammar. Here are a few problems:

In this article, . . ., was written by Paul Robert. . . (there is no subject in this sentence.
"this article, "A Brief History"" can NOT be the subject of was written because it is
the object of the preposition "in." To fix this, you will need to insert a subject in front
of "was written" -- "which was written.

Also be careful of the way you use the clause "that explained. . . language." What does
this modify? 1958? I don't think so. I think you want to show purpose here -- so it's
best to use an infinitive -- to explain and tell . . .

Finally, generalizations should be presented in the present tense (we HAVE to


understand . . .)

In terms of style, remember to put the date in parentheses after the name of the author
(1958) and when you refer to the author do not use his first name, use his last name
(Roberts). You haven't really talked about the organization of the information in this
essay.