I wonder how these words differ in meaning:

  1. To shorten (which means to make something like a piece of speech or a text shorter)

  2. To condense (which means to reduce something in length)

  3. To summarize (which means to express in short and clear form.)

I know that they are what they are and as what I mentioned above, but I guess when they come to mean (regardless of their other possible shades of meaning) something related to a speech or context which you are going to decrease their words for any reason, which pair among these three are always interchangeable or at least which ones are closer in meaning?


  • Let's say a student has written an article which as a routine has an abstract at the beginning. The students refers to their university professor and wants to check it whether the article meets the writing standards as their professor had mentioned or not. The professor finds some minor flaws with the article and lists them all. One of them is about making the abstract a little shorter, while the abstract includes much more words that the predefined amount. So the master says:
  1. You should summarize your abstract.
  2. You should condense your abstract.
  3. You should shorten your abstract.

How these three sentences differ in meaning? What connotation does each word have?

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