How to Write a Précis

Writing a Good Précis

The main question is, what is a précis writing? This is one of the most common questions students ask when they are tasked with kind of assignment. A précis is the miniature portrait of any written piece of work. More concisely, the précis is required to retain the absolute essential claims in the passage alongside the mood, tone and more fundamentally the theme. Students are cautioned against expunging the primary theme but retain the author’s voice and opinion. What matters in précis writing is the presentation of the critical points and evidence as depicted from the passage. Clarity and coherence to the main points are vital aspects while writing a summary. Rumpling thoughts with long sentences are greatly discouraged since they make the passage to loose key meaning. Sensible and logical presentation of ideas and key points is inevitable in developing a good précis.

What is a précis

By extension, précis refers to a brief text summary reflecting the fundamental points, mood, and tone as depicted from the original text. Ideally, a good précis should be restricted to the main theme. It should be clear and precise in structure. Long and complicated sentences may render it irrelevance and ambiguous. Restrict from expressing a personal opinion in the précis unless it is a critical book review. Precise is needed for writing an essay and a research paper to guide learning through unfamiliar content. Moreover, the original voice and opinion of the author must be depicted in the précis. This will provide a glance to the new readers with limited ideas about the original text.

What to consider before writing a précis

Before you start, you should abide by the following rules and regulations.

  • Understanding the size of the précis. It should constitute just a quarter of the source in length. The students should only focus on the main points and be clear and concise to the points.
  • Summarize the original text. Despite the facts that a précis is not a summary, the writer should concisely make a summary of the original text.
  • The clarity of the text should be adhered to at every section of the essay. Despite having some arguments of the summary, the writer should convey the message in a simple but clear structure.
  • The précis should remain correct. The grammar and vocabulary alongside the punctuation should be correct and authentic to facts and figures.
  • Finally, the writer must ensure there is consciousness while writing the précis. Unnecessary details alongside complicated sentences and repetition should be avoided.

What makes a good précis: Basic rules

  • The précis is presented in the words of the writer. The writer ought to condense, compress and paraphrase whatever is presented in the article.
  • Sequential and logical presentation of ideas must remain utmost adherence in the while presentation. The fundamental ideas should be logically ordered with good transition from one paragraph to another
  • The précis is written in reported or passive voice. The writer will simply act as a reporter thus should maintain the third person rule of report writing.

The précis should not contain any additional information or explanation outside the original text. Refrain from adding new ideas and information to the text.

Tips on how to write a précis

Though there is no designed template to be followed to come up with a good précis, the student can boost their writing process through adherence to the following tips.

  • Creation of thesis statement based on the article to be summarized. The statement should be overarching to express the primary theme of the original text.
  • Dividing the précis into subtopics. The new sub-headings in the précis indicate the new ideas. The writer should, therefore, keep this mind to develop a good précis.
  • Taking notes is another essential tip to come up with a good précis. Regardless the number of times the writer is reading an article, notes taking will enable the writer to keep all the primary points and logically arrange theme in the summary.
  • Thinking about the primary theme in every section. Ordinarily, the writer should present new ideas in single but well-structured sentences.
  • Introducing the work is key while writing a précis. Introduce the author of the article, the purpose of writing the summary while restricting from misleading facts.

Revising a précis

It is important for the writer to revise the work until he or she is satisfied with the accuracy of the article. When the précis is too long, reduce the length to the fit into the required length of about a quarter length of the original text. Ideally, the revision should lies on the principal value of the précis as a composition exercise.

Tips on précis revision

The following tips are imperative during the revision process of a précis.

  • Check the thesis statement.
  • Check the length of précis.
  • Check on the author’s conveyed meaning.
  • Reread the article then compare it with the summary.

Example of a strong précis

“In the Dawn Griffin’s article, Evaluating on Factors which Impact Children from Single-Parent Families” (2015), list the negative factors which prompt American teens to commit crimes and atrocities.”

Example of a weak précis

“Griffin makes his argument by involving supporting evidence obtained from FBI reports, describing the most recent criminal activity, and offering additional considerations regarding the form of child’s mental disorders.”

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