How to Write A Precis: Step-by-Step Guide
You’re sitting in class daydreaming, and suddenly you hear the Professor assigning homework.
He’s talking about writing a precis.
“What is a precis?”
If you’re on the internet trying to figure out how to get your assignment done, then congratulations, you are at the right place.
"A precis is a summary of an article or book. It should summarize the main points and include any major themes, ideas, or conclusions."
Do you want to know how to write a precis? If so, keep reading! This post will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
Definition of Precis
What is a precis? It is derived from the French word précis, which means “a concise summary.” Thus, the literal meaning of the term is precise or cut short.
Unlike a summary that condenses and presents the main ideas only, a precis presents every detail and should be one-third of the original text. It is a clear and to-the-point summary of the key ideas of a passage, but it is more detailed than a summary.
It isn’t merely a paraphrased text. When asked to write a precis summary, ensure that the key points are reflected along with its tone and mood, etc.
The key to writing a précis is simplicity. You may be given an scholarly article or dissertation summary, but your job isn't just about summarizing.
Instead, you need to analyze and present the main points concisely in your words so that readers can make up their own minds with what they read!
Let’s move on to the next section to see how to write a precis?
Characteristics of a Precis
Following are the characteristics of a precis:
- It is a critical summary of a published piece of writing.
- Not a re-written version of the original piece.
- Written in your own words and not in words from the original piece unless you are quoting it.
- Its length is ⅓ of the length of the original piece unless you are told otherwise by the professor.
- A precis format includes the thesis that the original author supports, methods he used, results and conclusion.
Qualities of a Precis
A precis is a critical piece of writing. Make sure that yours has the following qualities.
- It should be well-written so the reader can easily understand what you are trying to convey. Use clear and simple language.
- It must be correct and error-free, add correct facts and figures, and check for grammatical and punctuation mistakes.
- Stay objective; only provide useful information and not your personal opinion.
- It should be coherent with the original text.
- Keep it concise; avoid adding unnecessary information.
Elements of Precis
Following are the essential elements of a precis:
A reader should understand what the writer wants to say. A precis is a short summary of the story. It should be easy for people to understand.
When you write a precis, you should look for punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure mistakes. You should also double-check all of the dates, addresses, facts, and figures that were used.
Being objective means telling the truth about your information. It means that you should only talk about facts and not give your opinion.
When you are writing a summary, you want it to be concise. Therefore, you should avoid repeating things and using unnecessary words.
Coherence is making sense. Say what you want to say, but make it clear. Your audience does not want to get lost or confused when they read. Use strong words that help them understand better.
Precis outline is similar to an essay; it consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
- The author
- Publishing date within parenthesis
- A verb to represent the thesis
- The thesis statement
The introduction consists of information about:
The body of the precis has separate paragraphs dedicated to each section of the original piece of work where you present the author’s thoughts, ideas, and purpose.
Don’t forget that you can’t give your own opinion or interpretation. Instead, your focus should be to analyze the author’s take on the main idea or issue.
With your conclusion, simply restate the main idea without any personal statements.
To further strengthen your understanding, we have added the basic precis template for you to follow. Just go through it step by step to have a well-written precis.
How to Write a Rhetorical Precis?
Before starting the writing process, keep in mind that your precis should be able to make the reader understand the original work without having read it.
As any other academic writing, start by conducting thorough reading and research. Just because it is a small piece of writing doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be easy or quick.
The essay writing process can be divided into examining the original work, creating a structure, and the writeup itself.
To find out how to write a precis, let us discuss the steps in detail:
- 1. Read the Content
- 2. Draft an Outline
- 3. Write your Precis
- 4. Proofread
To write a good rhetorical precis, you need to read the original text. You can do this in two ways. First, skim over the text but try to remember it all. Second, look at where it was published and what section is most important.
Take notes about what is said in the title and figure out what the document’s content might be about. Then, when you are done skimming, take notes with key ideas and responses to those ideas with strategies that the author used to persuade people.
An outline makes it easier to write. It also helps readers understand what you are writing about. Once you get all the information, put it in four sentences that have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
After creating an outline, start writing the precis. Make sure to follow the format discussed above. Start with the introduction paragraph, then provide supporting body paragraphs, and at last provide a conclusion.
Make sure to follow your outline while writing so that you do not miss any important detail.
Take a break from writing your precis to make sure it is free of mistakes. Once you are done, read it again and fix any errors before submitting the document to your instructor. Your credibility will be reflected in how accurate your work is.
How to Write a Precis - Example
It is important to go through examples before you start writing it yourself, as it will give you an idea of how to start writing your own precis.
We have gathered informative precis examples for you to seek help from.
Rhetorical Precis Worksheet
Rhetorical Precis Sample
Precis Writing Tips
To write a winning rhetorical precis, follow the tips mentioned below:
- Read the text under critical analysis carefully and note down the essential points and arguments. Then, try different reading practices to better understand the work.
- Focus on what the author is trying to communicate through his work.
- Point out the evidence and appeals used by the author.
- Restate the thesis stated by the author in your words according to your interpretation. Remember to keep it short and to the point.
- The key is to describe the original piece in your own words.
- Go through the summary again to ensure you haven’t missed any important points and used a logical structure.
- Before handing in your document, make sure that it is clear and concise without any grammatical errors.
- When it comes to writing a precis, you need to cite the attributes taken directly from the piece under analysis.
- Also, keep in mind that teachers only assign a precis to check how well students can communicate their thoughts and want them to develop critical thinking and writing skills.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to write a precis?
Precis is a summary of something complex. A good precis can be written as follows:
- Read the information and note down the important points
- Summarize those points in simple words
- Polish it to make a final draft
How long is a precis?
A precis is about 100-200 words. It is a shortened version of the original text. Sometimes, your teacher will tell you the word count for a precis or give other instructions on writing it.
In which person, a precis is written?
Precis writing is a third-person account of the subject matter. It starts with "the author says" and includes paraphrases instead of direct quotes. As a result, it’s easier to read for someone who may not know how to quote directly in an argument or essay.