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How To Write A Precis? The Ultimate Student’s Guide

how to write a precis

There are many assignments you might get while studying in college or school. One of these might be a precis. In school, you study and read a lot, and sometimes teachers will require you to write a precis on what you’ve read or a subject or topics you might have been covering. Precis writing is always a useful skill to have, so read on to get an idea of what it is and how to do it the best way possible.

Before we begin it is important to understand the basic definitions. Knowing what a precis is, obviously, essential. Continue reading to find out the most important information.

What Is A Precis?

Do you know precis definition?

It is a summary of any written text or work. The work includes articles, novel, books or any kind of text. The main objective is to explain the work’s main argument, structure, and support, without the help of critical analysis.

A rhetorical precis analyzes content as well as the delivery of a written work. If you looked at any rhetorical analysis example (or precis example) then you must have found a highly structured paragraph with just 4 sentences. Sometimes, you will also find brief quotations to convey the writer’s sense of tone and a unique voice.

Précis writing might be challenging in the start but don’t worry will become easy once you understand its format. If you know how to write a summary of an article then understanding precis will be a piece of cake for you. In this article, we will teach you how to start writing a precis step by step (or how to write a rhetorical precis).

How To Write A Precis? Study The Text!

So, now that you know what a precis is, check out these steps on how to begin your precis writing journey:

  1. Read Thoroughly All The Written Work

    Since you understand what is a precis, now let’s talk about writing a precis. First of all, you need to take out time to read. Do make sure that you understand the author’s argument, the support as well as how they made their argument.

    You will, most likely, be reading the text several times. In case if you are writing a precis of a novel then it is advisable to divide it into section and read those sections three to four times rather than reading the whole novel twice.

    Have you heard the phrase “Divide and rule”? It means you divide something and then rule on every part and you will be using it while reading. Take a glance of the whole work and divide it into sections. If there are headings or subheadings, you can use them as a guide however you can also divide it into paragraphs.

  2. Annotate The Text

    Pick up your highlighter and start highlighting all the important information. After highlighting, start making notes for yourself. These notes will help you in writing a precis. Annotating is very important when writing a precis.

    Furthermore, you should use different color highlighters to highlight different data such as thesis, important details, and supporting arguments as well. You can also draw a margin where you can explain all the important arguments in your words.

  3. Paraphrase The Text’s Thesis

    When you are reading the text, you will notice that the author’s thesis contains argument. Moreover, you will also find that the thesis points out the evidence. In many cases, thesis is hidden in the first paragraph of text. In the case of longer text, you need to read each word carefully to find thesis. Don’t forget that the thesis is also known as author’s controlling idea.

    For example, if you read “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, the first part explains what is like to be a wizard. The reader finds it amazing with Harry himself (who also experienced this for the first time).

  4. Make Summary Of Each Section

    After dividing the sections, you need to make a summary of each section. Diving the written text is your choice, you can either divide into subheadings or maybe in paragraphs.Remember that more section can make your job more complicated because it will be harder to merge the summaries into a precis. There is an exception, sometimes you will find it necessary to have more sections.

  5. Determine The Purpose Of Writing

    If you read any precis writing examples then have you ever thought what was the purpose of writing it? If not then you should ask yourself now. The best part is that the author doesn’t state their purpose (mostly). This is the job for readers to determine the purpose. For example, if you are writing a precis about a story, the readers might get entertain but there is a hidden message behind the story. This message is the key to find the purpose.

  6. Create A Brief Precis Outline Of Argument

    It is not necessary to make an outline of the argument but it will help you to understand the argument. The format to create a brief outline is at the top, write down the thesis and after that write all the evidence which will back up the thesis. If necessary, you can also add a few supports as subpoints. In the end, compare your summary with the original work/text.

Precis Example

It is always a great idea to checkout an example of a precis writing to get a good semblance of what a finished task will look like. Take a look at a precis writing example below:

The article explores the urban significance and symbolism of Taj Mahal architecture, demonstrating that the complex is unique not only due to its grandness, but also its careful planning and multifunctional design, which epitomize the principles of entire Shahjahani architecture. The author emphasizes that Taj Majal is one of the most important architectural objects in the world, which she proves by referring to the works of historians, contemporary to Mughal. At the same time, she points out that it is very under-researched, just as other Islamic architecture of India, and needs more careful architectural analysis.

Koch observes that the most productive approach to study Taj Mahal coincides with deconstructive reading, propagated by philosopher Jacques Derrida. In her view, the idea of center-and-margin can help explain why many components of Taj Mahal have been marginalized due to the prominence of the tomb. Koch’s reconstruction of Taj Mahal riverfront scheme, based on the earliest topographical evidence in Agra, leads her to the conclusion that the residential garden type of the complex is to be put in the context of monumental imperial mausoleum. The author states that the entire complex of Taj Mahal initially consisted of two units with waterfront design: the Taj garden and its landlocked variant with subsidiary units. To prove this statement, she cites eighteenth- and nineteenth-century plans that include information on another courtyard complex with cross-axial arrangement. The author claims that the two sections of Taj Mahal, the utilitarian and the funerary, reflect Islamic dialectical conception of material and spiritual life.

Based on her reconstruction, Koch argues that the southern cross-axial component of Taj Mahal, referred to as Taj Ganj, is integral part of the complex planning, albeit little has been preserved from its initial design. She proceeds to claim that the overall complex canonically reflects the architectural principles of the Mughal period, primarily in the prominence of waterfront design. However, Koch admits that there is no textual evidence with architectural theory of this period being expounded. Nonetheless, she is convinced that the architecture of Taj Mahal provides enough evidence of the existence of underlying architectural theory of Muslim dynasties, which is hypothesized to be inspired by Indian art to a large extent.

Interpreting Taj Mahal as built architectural theory, the author identifies a number of principles of Shahjahani architecture, such as geometrical planning, symmetry, hierarchy, proportional formulas, uniformity of shapes, sensuous attention to details, selective application of naturalism, and symbolism. She cites the example of Machchhi Bhawan in the Agra Fort to demonstrate that these principles are applicable to all Shahjahani architecture, though they were epitomized in Taj Mahal at their most.

Focusing on the symbolism of Taj Mahal, the researcher claims that the complex exemplifies the concept of paradisiacal mansion, prepared for Mumtaz. Thus, she observes that the ideal forms of the waterfront garden symbolically raise it above the sphere of mortals. To support this theory, she also points out to the eschatological ideas in the inscriptions of Amanat Khan Shirazi, particularly, the Last Judgment, divine mercy, and Paradise.

The author mentions that this evidence has been used by other researchers to support the idea that Taj Mahal expresses the concept of the Throne of God on the Day of Judgment. However, Koch refutes this theory since it disregards the meaning of floral decoration and garden layout as integral parts of the complex, and cannot explain the absence of the Throne verses from Quran in the inscriptions. She claims that the prevalence of selectively naturalistic flower ornaments in Taj Mahal confirms the concept of paradisiacal garden, as underpinning the symbolism of the complex.

Upon detailed reconstruction and analysis, Koch arrives at the conclusion that Taj Mahal combines intellectual and sensuous appeals, which were intended to convey the imperial ideology of Shahjahani rule. Also, the author uses her findings to argue for the necessity of complex approach to architectural research, with the combination of formal and contextual analysis.

Precis Writing Tips

Now that the process is down, it is important to make sure your precis is up to par. So take a peak at the following tips that could be a great help to your precis writing:

  • Nail Your Introduction
    Since you collected all the data, now let’s start how to write a precis. You need to follow precis format otherwise it won’t be attractive to readers. Remember you need to make sure that your precis is attractive. You should introduce the author, date, topic, and genre in the first line. However, this is a lot of data but you need to find a way to mention everything concisely.In rare cases, you may need to add more information (about the author) because it will help the readers to understand the precis.
  • Explain How Author Supports Their Argument
    In the second sentence, you need to focus on the rhetorical method. Furthermore, you have to mention the evidence as well as supports that were used by the author.
  • Mention The Purpose Of The Text
    In the third sentence, you have to mention the purpose of the text. The purpose that the author has hidden it behind the texts.
  • Describe The Intended Audience
    In the text, you won’t find directly the intended audience but you can get some cues from the article. The cues can be in any form such as type of language, the author’s background, and the type of reference. You need to add this description in the fourth sentence.
  • Expand The Supporting Argument
    You need to expand your arguments if you are writing a long precis. However, you have to include the above 4 sentence explanation but, in addition, you also need to include a short paragraph. That paragraph will support all the pieces of proof/evidence. Furthermore, you will add the author’s argument as well as the type of evidence. The short paragraphs should look like the second sentence in a precis.
  • Summarize In Conclusion
    If your precis is long then you need to write a conclusion as well. In conclusion, you will rewrite the thesis in your words. Furthermore, you will write a 1-sentence summary too which will relate to the type of evidence that the author used. Don’t forget that your conclusion should be concise.

Revise Your Precis

Finally, once the precis is written, it is always a good idea to look over it and make sure everything is perfect. Sometimes it is much easier to write a rough draft and then go in and make substantial edits. Here’s some advice from a professional thesis writer:

  • Read Each And Everything
    Go through your precis and highlight any part that you feel needs revision. Those highlight points include points that you are not sure about them or that doesn’t make sense. Do check that you followed the structure listed above. Ask professional editing services to help you.
  • Compare Your Precis To The Original Work
    This is a very important step because if any of your sentences don’t meet with the original work then it will be a waste of time and effort. Do check that you wrote all points that the writer is trying to convey. Since the word length is low that is why every word counts. For example, read thoroughly your precis and then re-read the original work. Check that your points meet with the original text or not.
  • Make Revisions
    After you checked it yourself, you can pass it to someone to check it for you. Use their feedback and your notes to correct all the errors. Remember that your final text should be concise. For example, you might delete all redundant text that is making your precis long.
  • Proof Read
    Once you check all the things listed above, now you need to check all the grammatical mistakes and spelling errors which includes wrong spellings and typo error. You can also ask someone to proofread it for you, it reduces the chances of error.

Writing a rhetorical precis requires a high amount of focus since you don’t want to miss out any point. The whole game lies upon your reading ability. If you read it carefully then you won’t be having any problem in writing a precis. You can also check a precis template, it will help you to understand the format of precis.

Do remember that thesis and purpose are the main keys. Moreover, don’t forget to backup all your arguments with shreds of evidence. It might look difficult but don’t fall for it, give it a try and who knows you might ace it?

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You’ve read over the article, and now it’s time to actually begin writing your precis. Well, you might have other circumstances in your life that might be getting in the way of your studies. Don’t let the stress and thoughts like “I have to write my thesis paper as fast as possible” overwhelm you, because we can help you. Our writing service offers the highest quality writing and thesis assistance. We have knowledgeable writers that can help you right away, and research and edit any type of writing assignment. We even have a specialized precis writer. Now you can get the highest scores without putting in the time!

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