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Everything you need to know about writing precis

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Are you struggling to create a perfect précis for your college? Do not worry! This blog will discuss the format and provide necessary guidelines to write a flawless précis. But, before you know everything about crafting a proper précis, you need to know what a précis is.

A précis is a summary of an entire text. It comprises of a minimal word count and has to be on the point. While writing a précis, the writer should keep in mind the tone and mood of the text on which the précis will be written. There are specific rules of writing a précis. The essential elements of writing a précis have been pointed below.

  • Concise and to-the-point:- The first thing that you need to remember while writing a précis is that you should not stretch the length of the content. A good précis should not be long and complicated. The word count of the précis should be managed systematically. You need to know how you can incorporate all the vital points in the précis without making it unnecessarily lengthy. Additionally, you should maintain parity in your précis. Do not make one point too long and the other one too short.
  • No personal opinion: – You need to remember that while writing a précis, there is no scope for personal opinion. Thus, it is imperative to write the whole précis in a general format. The goal of your précis is to guide people about the writing in a nutshell. Thus, the voice and tone of the précis should reflect the author’s tone and not yours.
  • Chain of facts:- Make sure that the précis does not comprise of unnecessary sentences. You have to find out if the précis is informative enough and ensure that it does not have irrelevant data. You need to put a chain of factual information relevant to the text. Each sentence of your précis should be unique, specifically aiming at defining the text.
  • No copy paste from the main text:- You should always remember that a précis doesn’t mean copy pasting from the text. You have to get the idea about the text and write the same in your language. Paraphrasing can be done, but sentences should not be copied.

These are some of the essential aspects of writing a précis. Now, let us discuss in detail the different précis format of writing.

The basic format of writing a précis

There are rigid guidelines when it comes to writing a précis. Read more to get a clear idea.

  • Forming the introduction:- Like any other article, essays or assignment, a précis also consists of an introduction. It is the first part of the writing, make clear what are you going to talk about. Soon after introducing the topic, you should give a brief idea about the text and the author. Do not drag your introduction or make it too lengthy. Keep it short and to-the-point. You should keep in mind that the tone of the introduction should be according to the tone of the text. A précis is all about giving a brief idea of the long text. Thus, it is vital to maintain the word count of the introduction.
  • Creating the précis body:- The body of the précis should not be too long. But, you should also remember the fact that the body of the précis is where the main summary of the text should be written. While writing the body of the text, you need to be specific and to the point. Do not mention every point in detail, but make sure to talk about each and every aspect of the same. Do not forget to elaborate the key points in the précis. Again, do not drag it too long.
  • Drafting the conclusion:- It is very important to draft the conclusion flawlessly. Your conclusion should have the message that the original text aims to convey to the readers. Make sure that the whole writing has a certain consistency and it is logical in every aspect.

As you know the basic format of a précis, let us know how the outline of such a write up is created.

Tips to form the basic outline of a précis with examples

For creating an outline of your précis, you need to go through the following steps.  A perfect précis needs a systematic method for the outline. Some of the steps are discussed below.

  • Reading the original text several times: – If you think that reading a text once is enough to write a précis, you are wrong. You have to read the text multiple times to understand the message that the author wanted to convey. A précis is not about portraying your own opinion. You have to decipher the author’s opinion clearly. Otherwise, it would be difficult for you to write a précis on that text.
  • Annotate the text– A précis is a small summary of the text. Therefore, it is indeed difficult to incorporate every single detail in the same. But, while creating the outline for your précis, it is important to highlight and mark the essential areas. You have to find out which sections need to be included in your précis. Mark those areas to avoid any confusion and ensure a better understanding. You can use different colors for highlighting different sections. For example, to understand the important quotations you can use red ink and for relevant information you can use blue.
  • Create your notes: – Whatever information you have collected from the text, you need to create small notes in your own words. This will help you to understand how you are going to structure the précis. Moreover, the interpretation can also be done perfectly.
  • Segregate the important sections: – In the body of your précis, you have to create the outline for the same. Therefore, you can make different sections related to different categories. This will make your précis look more professional.
  • Summarize each section:- After creating the outline for the sections, you should also create a different section where you can summarize the text in just 1-2 sentences. Creating the outline properly can also help you to craft the whole précis way faster.

Some of the examples of précis are given below:-

Example 1:- For starting the précis, you can use a quotation of the author.

In his thesis “The negative impact of social media” (2015), David argues that….(insert a quote here)

In conclusion, you can mention “David’s tone assumes that social media can have an adverse affect on a child’s psychology. He has referred to the dangerous ‘Blue Whale Game’ as an example to show how teenagers were affected by using social media.

Example 2:- For determining the author’s purpose of writing the text, you can frame the same with a different connotation.  If you want to write a précis on a poem written by John Keats, you should write the introduction differently

“By reading Ode To A Nightingale by John Keats, the modern deconstruction of the poetry is evident. We can understand how poetry can become subjective without following any rigid form.”

Here, in the introduction, the précis explains how John Keats views poetry in its own modern outlook.

Example 3:- For summarizing each section, you can directly start with the explanation.

“In this section of the book, the author aims to say…..”

The explanation should be in your own language, and without any copied text. However, make sure that you are not putting your ideas and passing it as something that the author has said in the particular section.

Key features of précis writing

After creating the outline for your précis, you need to start with the task of writing. Read about some of the key elements of précis writing.

  • Clarity in the text:- The text that you form should have proper clarity with every explanation. Use simple sentences and make sure that no confusion remains with the interpretation.
  • A relevant title: – You should also provide a title to your précis. Do not use the same title as the original text. Give a suitable title that is related to your précis.
  • Logical connection: – When you write a précis, you should make it logical from every aspect. It can be said that every section that you highlight from the main text and include in your précis should have connectivity.
  • Strictly stick to the text: – When you write a précis on a particular text, it is wise not to take information from any other texts. However, 1 or 2 references can be cited. However, too many information from any other text can make it irrelevant.
  • Highlight critical factors:– The factors that are critical in the main text should be highlighted in the précis. You have to remember that the précis is the summary of the main text. Highlighting the critical factors of the original text is important. This will give your readers an idea about the author’s interpretation.

Now, as you know how to craft a précis flawlessly, let us know how a rhetorical précis can be drafted.

Essentials of writing a flawless rhetorical précis

According to rhetorical précis definition, it is all about a highly structured four sentence paragraph that highlights the key elements of the original text. When you need to sum up your understanding of any text rhetorically, you need to write this précis. In a rhetorical précis, you need to include the name of the writer, the context of the delivery, the major point of argument, the supportive sentences, etc.

Rhetorical précis definition states that when you write the précis, there should be no additional information other than the critical elements of the text. You should write the whole précis according to the author’s viewpoint. In 1-2 sentences, you have to describe the opinion.

How to create a rhetorical précis outline?

In a rhetorical précis outline, three ingredients are a must.  These are ethos, pathos and logos.  Ethos means discussing the surrounding issues by writer and also ensuring his/her credibility. Pathos means the emotional connect that the readers might have with the write up and logos depicts the universal reasoning of the précis along with finding out the logic of the text.

Now, discussing the main rhetorical précis outline, it should be known that the basic structure should always be maintained. The structure is as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

As the basic outline is created, you can prepare for the other sub-categories in these sections.

According to the rhetorical précis format, the introduction should be straightforward and as precise as possible. Apart from that, the body part should include ethos, pathos, logos and an in-depth critical discussion should be done.  Culminating the whole story is important, so that it reflects the message given by the writer.

By maintaining this simple rhetorical précis format, you can craft a flawless précis.

By now, you are aware of the basic formatting and writing process of a précis. So, do not worry and craft the perfect précis today!

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Hi, I am Mark, a Literature writer by profession. Fueled by a lifelong passion for Literature, story, and creative expression, I went on to get a PhD in creative writing. Over all these years, my passion has helped me manage a publication of my write ups in prominent websites and e-magazines. I have also been working part-time as a writing expert for for 5+ years now. It’s fun to guide students on academic write ups and bag those top grades like a pro. Apart from my professional life, I am a big-time foodie and travel enthusiast in my personal life. So, when I am not working, I am probably travelling places to try regional delicacies and sharing my experiences with people through my blog. 

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