Difference Between Summary and Conclusion

Main Difference – Summary vs Conclusion

Summary and Conclusion are two terms that are often used in academic writing. A summary is a concise statement or account of the main points of a text. A conclusion is the end of a chapter or text. The main difference between Summary and Conclusion lies in their purpose. The main aim of a summary is to sum up the main points whereas the aim of a conclusion is to conclude the text smoothly. Based on these different purposes, different features can be seen in these two components.

What is a Summary

A summary is an abridged version of a text that only contains the main points. The main purpose of a summary is to condense the text into a smaller text. A summary should present the central ideas and concepts clearly and concisely. However, it is possible to omit certain facts that are not essential to the text.

Sometimes a summary can be a synopsis of a book, film or a play. Here, an outline of the plot of the story can be considered as the summary. Furthermore, an executive summary, which can be seen at the beginning of a report, proposal, business plan, etc., summarizes all the content, highlighting the key points in the document.  An executive summary should contain information such as subject matter, methods of analysis, findings and conclusions. This is similar to an abstract and should be written after completing the whole research.

Difference Between Summary and Conclusion

A summary can be the synopsis of a book

What is a Conclusion

A conclusion is an essential part of any document. A good conclusion is both interesting and attractive; it should give the reader a good impression of the whole document. A conclusion should contain a summary of the main points, deductions made on the basis of the main points, solutions to the problems discussed in the text,  findings, and recommendations. It is also important to write whether the purpose of the research has been achieved.

At the same time, you should avoid introducing new facts in the conclusion, rewriting the main points in the same words, focusing on the minor points of the text, and using sentimental, emotional appeals in an otherwise analytical and academic essay.

Main Difference - Summary vs Conclusion

Difference Between Summary and Conclusion


The summary is an abridged version of a text that only contains the main points.

The conclusion is the end or finish of a chapter or text.


The main purpose of a summary is to sum up the main points.

The purpose of a conclusion is to conclude the text smoothly.


An executive summary is at the beginning of a document.

A conclusion is at the end of a document.


A summary should also have a conclusion.

A conclusion can include the summary of the main points.Difference Between Summary and Conclusion - infographic

English for academic study: reading and writing. Source book John Slaght, Paddy Harben and Anne Pallant. Reading: Garnet Education, 2009.
English for Academic Study Series: Study Skills for Academic Writing Trzeciak, John.Prentice Hall, 1994.

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