Summaries are useful for explaining situations quickly and clearly in academic writing. Therefore, you’ll often come across phrases like “to sum up” to keep your summaries clear.
However, is “to sum up” the best formal phrase to include? Or does it get a bit repetitive?
This article will explore some alternatives to keep things interesting and fresh.
- In summary
- To summarize
- In conclusion
- In essence
- In short
- To put it briefly
- To be brief
- Simply put
Keep reading to learn how to say “to sum up” in your essays (and sometimes emails). We’ll also provide examples to help you with each.
1. In Summary
You can use the phrase “in summary” as a formal alternative to “to sum up.” It shows a brief overview of what you plan on looking at in the upcoming essay.
The reader will understand the intention behind your summary. If used appropriately, it shows what they should expect from your essay and how you’re going to get to your point.
Don’t forget to review the following examples:
- In summary, I do not think pursuing these issues any further is wise. Nothing good will come from them.
- In summary, this essay will explore the pros and cons of the issue at hand. I will also provide my insight.
2. To Summarize
Another great alternative is “to summarize.” It’s slightly more long-winded than “to sum up,” but it works well as an academic and formal alternative.
Essays really benefit from using phrases like “to summarize” every now and then. Of course, you shouldn’t let it become too repetitive.
Use it once or twice in an essay to show how you would like to summarize your writing.
Here are a few examples to help you understand it better:
- To summarize, you must consider all options before making a final decision. It’s the only fair choice.
- To summarize, these are the only available categories. You must choose one that works for you.
3. In Conclusion
Conclusions and summaries are very similar in most contexts. So, “in conclusion” could be a good synonym for “to sum up” to keep things fresh with your essay writing.
You should only use it when rounding up a point or clarifying your intention. It’s great to include this in an essay because it allows your reader to follow along with your thought process.
These essay samples will also help you:
- In conclusion, there have only been three occurrences in the past. I believe this will be the fourth.
- In conclusion, I will explore the positives associated with this type of sustainability.
4. In Essence
It may not be quite as common as some other options, but “in essence” is a great alternative to “to sum up.” We highly recommend it to round up your information.
Generally, “essence” refers to the most critical piece of information. So, you can use it after explaining something fully. It’s a good way to be brief and tell the reader what you mean.
We recommend using this one after complicated explanations. It breaks down the most important things to remember for the reader.
Check out these examples to see how it works:
- In essence, I want to find out what causes these problems. Then, I should be able to pass judgment.
- In essence, they were incorrect about their assumptions. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop them from continuing.
“Ultimately” is a suitable alternative to “to sum up” when summarizing your points. We recommend using it but try to limit how often it appears in your essays.
It’s not as formal as some of the other options. You may find it more useful when writing ungraded or casual essays rather than important ones that impact your final grade.
You may also review the following examples:
- Ultimately, I would like to explore both points to determine which is more applicable. I do not want to have a biased opinion.
- Ultimately, this essay will demonstrate how to complete the task sustainably. There is always a solution.
6. In Short
Keeping things short and sweet makes essays more readable. The more you break things down and help the reader understand you, the better your essay will be.
That’s where a phrase like “in short” comes in.
It’s a great way to summarize your points. It keeps things simple for the reader.
We highly recommend it after a lengthy explanation. It’s a great way to help someone understand your thought process or where you’re going with your essay.
Here are a few great examples to help you with it:
- In short, you should know what to expect from these improvements. However, I will lay it out for you.
- In short, there have been many alternatives, but they have yet to be more effective.
7. To Put It Briefly
We also recommend a more conversational alternative like “to put it briefly.” However, you probably don’t want to use this one in your essays.
Instead, this phrase works best in professional emails. It shows that you want to be brief and summarize the email’s contents.
Of course, if the recipient wants to ask any questions, they are free to do so. From there, you could send them more information.
But initially, “to put it briefly” is a great way to keep things short and sweet. It allows you to convey your thoughts without needing to be too wordy.
Perhaps this email sample will also help you:
To put it briefly, I do not believe you’re the right fit for this role. I’m afraid I can’t go into more detail at the moment.
All the best,
8. To Be Brief
Another great formal email alternative is “to be brief.” Again, it allows you to highlight the most important points in an email without losing your recipient’s interest.
We recommend using it when emailing business partners. It shows you want to get a quick point across because you don’t want to overload them with information.
Generally, it’s a good way to keep your writing simple yet effective.
We also recommend reviewing this sample email:
To be brief, we have already considered changing providers. Do you have any ideas that might help us?
Going back to essays, “concisely” is a great option that often gets overlooked. We recommend using it as an introductory clause to sum up your points.
It works well at the start of an essay to explain what you’re trying to achieve. It’s similar to setting up an early conclusion to help the reader understand your writing.
Explaining your intentions early helps to keep readers interested. You should always try to be direct and clear (or “concise,” if you will) to ensure your readers follow.
Check out these examples to see how it works:
- Concisely, it would make more sense to explore both options. Then, we can settle on the best outcome.
- Concisely, it’s important to weigh up the debate. There are two points of view for a reason, after all.
10. Simply Put
Finally, you can use “simply put” as a more informal alternative to “to sum up.” Don’t worry; it still works in most essays.
However, we recommend using a phrase like this in less important essays. So, it might be more beneficial to include it while writing an ungraded school essay.
It still allows you to demonstrate your ideas quickly and concisely. It’s just slightly less formal than some other options.
You may also review the following essay samples:
- Simply put, I believe it’s inappropriate to pursue these ventures. I would also like to offer some alternatives.
- Simply put, this is the only way to continue working with them. Otherwise, all ties must be cut.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.