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How To Write a Precis

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The vital info about precis: its definition and requirements

If it happens you have never performed such type of writing, rhetorical precis might seem somewhat new and rather challenging. So, let us figure out what this piece of writing means and how to properly perform it. A precis writing is a brief summary of the particular book, essay or article. Its main purpose is to show the chief points of the initial text, its key message and mood. An excellently written work must be short, elaborate and clear. While writing a precis outline, you should clearly understand that this type of work has requirements and precise structure. If you look through precis examples on the Internet, you will see that it is prohibited to give your personal opinion as this work totally differs from a critical survey, rendering or essay. The chief goal of your writing is to get readers acquainted with a certain reading. That is to say, it is necessary to follow the author's style, thoughts and writing manner. Only in this case, the reader will be able to catch the main idea of the original writing.

The main features of the precis everyone should know

If you are assigned to write the précis, it is essential not to be confused with the other types of writing. So, try to not mistake it with a:
  • Brief outlook of the article;
  • Selected thesis from the text;
  • Facts that aren't connected with each other;
  • Lay abstract;
Also, a successful writer should memorize the main features of a properly structured precis writing:
  • It is necessary to write only your own words following the author's voice and tone.
  • Copying the source text is prohibited, so it is better not to cheat in this case.
  • It is necessary to logically order all sentences in the work.
  • Pick the catchy details from the original text in order to shorten it. You can generalize all the facts or choose a certain problem to cover.
  • Pay attention to the semantic links between the paragraphs.
  • Do not use personal pronouns as you are going to write in the third person.
  • It is not allowed to write additional information that is not mentioned in the source text.
  • Try to avoid repetitions.
  • After reading the book precis, a reader should understand its fundamental idea of the original text.
  • It is preferable to write a text in the Present Indefinite Tense.
  • When writing a precis, take into account that it should be no more than 1/3 or 1/4 of the entire source text.
  • It should not include sentences that could confuse the reader.
  • It is allowed to alter the sentences order, judgments, the structure of the text in order to make the rhetorical precis more comprehensible and consistent.
  • Direct speech must be changed into indirect.

Tips on how to write the précis

Students consider that precis writing is quite challenging. To produce an A-Grade work, you should carefully read the book (essay or article), determine its main idea, make research, and cover the chosen topic in greater detail. So here we collected the helpful tips which will help to create an excellent piece of writing.
  1. Carefully read the original text to get an idea of the main problem, the topic as well as the attitude of the author of the text.
  1. Read the text a second time, highlighting the main ideas. You can read the text in paragraphs, and analyze each semantic part sequentially. In each paragraph, find a thematic sentence (or sentences). Usually, this is the first sentence of a paragraph. In the thematic sentence, the main idea of the paragraph is formulated. You should also pay attention to the final sentence of the paragraph, as it summarizes the content.
  1. Write the key message of each paragraph or semantic part of the book, article or essay in one sentence. Use your own words, do not copy the sentences from the original text. It is very important to adhere to this principle, because if you use the words from the original text, you risk writing a very large text, violating the principle of brevity.
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