Difference Between Summary and Synopsis

Summary vs Synopsis

Writing a summary is a skill that is taught early to students. It is to write a short, condensed version of a story or play retaining the viewpoint of the original author. There are other words also for performing the same task such as synopsis, gist, and abstract that are enough to confuse a non native. Condensation or abridgement of a work can be referred to as summary or a synopsis. Let us find out if there is any difference between the two skills or tasks.


If you have a large book containing a story or a play, you are not tempted to go for it thinking it would consume a lot of time. However, if there is a short version of the same play or story containing the main points, most people evince interest and read it. Thus, summary is nothing but rewriting a work of prose to make it short and condensed.

There is no attempt by the person writing the summary to be judgmental, and he does not pass a personal remark or opinion. He tries to present the viewpoint of the author just keeping it short.

Summary is quite short, maybe just a page or two at the maximum no matter how long a work like a story or a play may be.


Synopsis is more or less the same as a summary as it has been defined in various dictionaries as an outline, condensation, or even summary of the main points of a work, book or an article. Synopsis carries the gist of a work of prose without presenting the viewpoint of the writer of the synopsis.

Précis writing is a skill that is sought to be taught at an early age to students. Synopsis is another word representing the same skill. Synopsis is short, but longer than summary and in some cases, it is deliberately kept 25-30 pages long.

Summary vs Synopsis

• Synopsis, summary, précis, gist, abstract etc are all shortened and condensed versions of a long story or play

• Both synopsis and summary retain the viewpoint of the author, but a summary is very short, may be a page or two long but synopsis can be at time 25-30 pages long.