Do you know the 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 write a precis step by step (or how to write a rhetorical precis).
How Start Writing A Precis? Study The Text!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Create A Brief 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 Writing Tips
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.
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
- 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 ediing 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 the precis template, they 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?