Summary vs Summation
Summary and Summation are two words in the English language that are used often as interchangeable words. They are not so in character and meaning. There is a big difference between the two.
Summary aims at dispensing with unnecessary matter and presenting only what is needed. Summation on the other hand aims at totaling all that is available. This is one of the main differences between summary and summation.
In other words summary is used in the sense of ‘briefing’ whereas summation is used in the sense of ‘totaling’. The word ‘summary’ is often used in the official sense. The chief accountant in an office would present the summary of accounts at the end of the financial year.
On the other hand the word ‘summation’ is used often in the mathematical sense. We find that expressions such as ‘summation of activities’ and ‘summation of sins’ are often used in literary sense. On the other hand the word ‘summary’ would mean ‘a brief account’ of anything.
‘A summary of the lesson’ would mean ‘a brief account of some important points in the lesson’. ‘A summary of the event’ would mean ‘a brief account of what actually happened in the event’. Summary in short aims at filtering what is not required and retaining what is required. On the other hand summation does not leave out anything for that matter. It is the grand total of all the individual things.
Observe the two sentences given below:
1. Summarize the II Act of Macbeth
2. The summation of the charges was high indeed.
In the first sentence the word ‘summarize’ is used in the sense ‘give salient points’. On the other hand the word ‘summation’ in the second sentence would mean ‘the grand total of all the charges paid’. The two words should be used with precision.