Most students don’t know a great deal about this form of assignment until they are forced to complete it. Don’t be surprised in the event that you just recently learned about this type of assignment for the very first time; most students are confused about it and end up with so many questions: “What is really a precis it self? ”, “Where can I start”, and “How do I write a precis? ”. Luckily, we have been here to offer the answers. In this article, we shall discover what this sort of work is and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write it.

Definition of Precis and Its Purpose

Based on the precis definition, the word “Précis” comes from the French language and means “precise” or “to cut brief”. A precis is really a brief synopsis of yet another work—for example, a dissertation or a scholarly article. The primary purpose of a precis would be to sum up any ideas which were stated in the piece, explain the primary message, and present readers a concept of the way the original piece was structured.

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What Kind of Papers Can Contain a Precis?

In summary, a precis is a split up written piece that is not mounted on other academic works. An average of, a precis is written in an article – either scholarly or non-scholarly – or any academic work. Its length can vary, with regards to the length of the initial piece.

Frequently , students confuse a precis with yet another form of writing – a critical analysis . Nevertheless , they are quite different. Unlike a critical analysis, a precis should not contain your personal opinion in regards to the original piece.

A good precis has to be short and right to the point. Yet, what are the other characteristics of the type of writing? Here are the main element things to remember:

  • A precis is really a short summary, yet not really a paraphrased copy of the first piece.
  • The text should be precise and clear.
  • A precis must certanly be written inside your own words, however it is permitted to use some quotes from the original piece (though made, only those who bring real value).
  • It should not reflect your personal opinion.
  • It will convey only the most important information and omit secondary a few ideas.
  • The important thing points must be covered as comprehensively that you can.
  • The info in a precis ought to be conveyed in a logical sequence, with clear connections between all parts of the written text.
  • It will not contain any details from other sources.
  • A precis shouldn't include any irrelevant or secondary details.
  • A precis is obviously written in the third person, so the utilization of first person pronouns just isn't appropriate here.

Aside from a regular precis, there is also yet another form of this assignment called a rhetorical precis. The essence of the task may be the same. But it is usually much shorter and, thus, harder to write. A rhetorical precis also requires you last but not least core some ideas from the initial piece, nonetheless it has an additional focus on the delivery of the information in the piece. Thus, a rhetorical precis blends an overview and a short analysis of how the author has conveyed his/her some ideas.

The largest pitfall on paper rhetorical precis is that you ought to fit every thing normally in to four sentences. Here is a sample of what needs to be included in a rhetorical precis:

  • The bibliographical information of the initial piece, like the title, author’s name, date, and other relevant data.
  • A reason of how a writer of the piece is promoting and supported his/her core ideas.
  • A statement of the author’s purpose.
  • The delivery: The way the author captures the reader’s attention. Who his/her market is. How he/she caters those suggestions to readers.
You might also be interested in discovering «how to write a rhetorical analysis essay»

Here is the core information that should be contained in a rhetorical precis. In addition , you are anticipated to use short quotes from the original piece to give your readers an expression of the author’s tone and style. Here is a good rhetorical precis example as possible examine:

Rhetorical precis example: Barry, Dave. “The Ugly Truth about Beauty. ” Mirror on America: Short Essays and Pictures from Popular Culture. second ed. Eds. Joan T. Mims and Elizabeth M. Nollen. NY: Bedford, 2003. 109-12.
Dave Barry, in his work “The Ugly Truth about Beauty” (1998), claims that “…women generally speaking do not consider their looks in the same way that men do” (4). Barry illuminates this discrepancy by juxtaposing men’s perceptions of the looks (“average-looking”) with women’s (“not good enough”) by contrasting female role-models (Barbie, Cindy Crawford) with male role-models (He-Man, BuzzOff) and by comparing men’s interests (the Super Bowl, lawn care) with women’s (manicures). He exaggerates and stereotypes these differences in order to prevent women from so eagerly accepting society’s expectations of these; in fact , Barry claims that men who desire women to “look like Cindy Crawford” are “idiots” (10). Barry ostensibly addresses men in this specific article because that he opens and closes the essay by directly addressing men (as in “If you’re a man…”) and offering to offer them advice in a mockingly conspiratorial fashion; nevertheless , by using humor to poke fun at both men and women’s perceptions of themselves, Barry makes this essay palatable to both genders and hopes to convince women to stop obsessively “thinking they should look like Barbie” (8).

Why Are Students Assigned to Write Precis?

This form of academic assignment generally speaking has a few purposes. To start with, it helps professors see how you can summarize, think critically, as well as detect and highlight essential information. Such a task also demonstrates students’ writing skills, their ability to express their thoughts clearly, their intelligibly, and their power to write with precision. Finally, writing a precis is an effectual way to learn new material.

If your precis is just a brief summary of an authentic text, then how can it be different from paraphrasing you may wonder? Unlike a paraphrased piece, a precis is not just a restatement of the original text in your own words. It does not need you to mention most of the details provided in the first piece, but alternatively sum up the key ideas from this. Another distinctive feature that differentiates the 2 is that paraphrasing is certainly caused by used to refer to certain ideas or statements given in still another work, while precis have the purpose of guiding readers via a piece they haven’t read.

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Precis Format

When writing a precis, whether a rhetorical or regular one, make sure your paper has these five key qualities:

1. Conciseness. Unless your professor provides yet another word count, a precis should be about ¼th how big is the original piece. It must be concise and straight to the idea; thus, you need to avoid repetition, wordy expressions, wateriness, and unnecessary details.
2. Objectivity. A precis implies providing a goal construal of the essential information given in the original piece, without as well as your personal opinions.
3. Coherency. You have to provide information in a logical sequence.
4. Clarity. A precis should really be easy to read and understand. The primary goal of the work would be to make the reader comprehend the original piece and the ideas the writer conveyed inside it, without the reader even needing to read it. Thus, use simple structure and language.
5. Correctness. A precis should deliver accurate details, figures, facts, dates, and should have proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


  • Precis Title: Précis of [Author's Name]'s "[Name of Work/Article]"
  • Font Size: 12 point
  • Spacing: Double
  • Margins: At least 1 inch from all sides
  • Name and Pledge: Place them at the end of your precis
  • Tone of Voice: Stay glued to the the author’s voice in the first piece
  • Direct Quotations: Put quotes in quotation marks, include a page number in parentheses following the quote
  • Order and Organization: Stick to the order of the original article

How to Write a Precis in 6 Steps

Therefore , how do you write it step by step? Here is a comprehensive guide to assist you succeed with writing a precis:

Step one: Pick the article, work, or story you'll write a precis on
If you don't were assigned to write your precis on some specific material, you'll have to choose the original piece your self. In this case, make sure to choose articles or work that is publicly available in its full length, so that you can browse the whole thing.

Step 2: Read the original piece
Invest some time to read the complete piece vigilantly and without rushing, to be sure you understand it fully.

Step 3: Re-read it and take notes
Return to the original piece after you’ve already read it and grasped the typical idea. Now, your goal is to interpret the author’s core ideas—take notes.

Step 4: Make an outline
Predicated on your notes, list all the key details and arguments you found. This will assist you to see when you have everything essential covered. Then, make a clear and well-structured outline for your precis. To make an overview, feel absolve to use a precis template given under the steps section of this short article.

Step 5: Write a precis
When writing a precis, make sure you follow your professor’s recommendations and the outline you have. Use simple language and structure, and keep close track of the size of your precis.

Step 6: Proofreading and editing
Ensure you include most of the important details in your text. Also, check to ensure it does not contain any unnecessary details. Finally, check your draft for almost any mistakes—including punctuation, grammar, style, and every other errors. Watchfully polish it until it looks good.

Read our «punctuation guide» to bring your writing skills to a whole new level.

After the steps stated earlier, you should be in a position to handle writing a precis with ease. To provide you with an even better understanding of how a finished piece should look, here is a precis sample template:

  1. Name of the writer of the initial piece, [a few words describing the author (optional)], the title of article and genre, date of publication in parentheses (if you will need to include additional publishing information, put it in parentheses); a rhetorically accurate verb like “claims, ” “suggests, ” “argues, ” “asserts, ” or other; THAT – accompanied by the author’s thesis statement.
Example: Antoine Gara, Forbes expert in the fields of Banking and Insurance, in this article The Forbes Investigation: In the Secret Bank Behind The Fintech Boom (Dec 17, 2019), shows that a tiny FDIC-insured bank – Cross River – can provide a much more accurate glimpse in to the future of banking than Manhattan’s and Silicon Valley’s financial districts.
  1. A quick and clear explanation of how the author develops and supports his ideas through the piece, often in chronological order.
  2. A statement of the author’s purpose, often followed by “in order to” and a quick explanation of what she or he wanted to achieve/what message was conveyed with his/her work.
  3. A brief explanation of the author’s tone of voice, style, target audience, and so on

Citing a Precis

In-Text Citations

When writing a precis, you will need to provide the author’s name, the original work’s title, and the publication date in the first sentence of your text.

Example: Dave Barry in his work “The Ugly Truth about Beauty” (1998), claims that…

Because the author’s name is already stated, you do not need to repeat it in parentheses after any in-text citations. Instead, in the event that you quote any such thing from the initial piece, are the page number where it could be found in the parenthesis following the quote.

Example: That he exaggerates and stereotypes these differences so that you can prevent women from so eagerly accepting society’s expectation of them; actually Barry claims that men who want women to “look like Cindy Crawford” are “idiots” (10).

Works Cited

In the works cited page you will just cite the first source in line with the chosen format and the kind of the source. When it is an article, like in our example, the citation will look similar to this:

Example: Barry, Dave. “The Ugly Truth about Beauty. ” Mirror on America: Short Essays and Pictures from Popular Culture. second ed. Eds. Joan T. Mims and Elizabeth M. Nollen. NY: Bedford, 2003. 109-12.

Things to Remember

Writing a precis can be challenging. They require attention and precision, as well as solid writing skills and the capability to grasp the core some ideas of the initial piece. But with the help of our detailed guide, we hope you will be able to handle such a task with ease.

To wrap-up precisely what was discussed earlier, let’s once more recap key things to remember when writing a precis:

  • A precis is just a short summary of a write-up or other work, although not a paraphrased copy or even a critical analysis.
  • It ought to be concise (about ¼th of the original source’s volume).
  • It will only give attention to main some ideas, arguments, facts, and details.
  • A precis includes basic details about the original source, such as its title, author, and date.
  • A precis doesn't contain a students’ personal opinions.
  • It has to be readable, clear, and well-structured.
  • There ought to be no details or other information from other sources.
  • A precis is written in the third person.

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