Imagine you have just finished a book and you have two minutes to tell your friend about it. What will you do? You will take a few seconds, remember the main points of the book and explain everything in a short yet clear manner so that your friend would get an idea about the book. Isn’t it? In a similar way, précis writing means presenting a short summarized version of an article or a passage. This small guide will answer all your questions about précis writing with some précis examples.
What is précis writing?
A précis is a short version of a text written in an accurate manner. It should be written briefly while describing the main idea(s) of the text. This means, anyone who reads the précis must get an idea of what the text is all about, what points have been discussed in the text. A précis cannot be longer than the original text. It should be in your own words but it should always be shorter than the original text. Here are a few essential characteristics of a précis that you must remember –
- A précis is not an essay. It is just a summary.
- Precis writing does not mean re-writing or copying the text. It must be original.
- Quotes from the passage can be included in the précis.
- It should be written in a logical manner. The parts of the précis should relate to each other.
- It is always written in ‘Third Person’.
- It should not contain any information that is not present in the original text.
- One should not mention their own ideas in the précis.
Also Read: How to write an Autobiography?
What is the use of précis writing?
You might wonder why you are asked to write a précis. The use of précis writing is twofold. First, it makes you a better reader. When you read a passage keeping in mind that you have to write a short summary on that passage, it is obvious that you will read it with full attention. Secondly, it makes you a better writer. You learn to eliminate what is not important in a text. Precis writing gives you an opportunity to learn to write in a clear and concise form. You also learn how to write effectively and logically.
Things to consider while writing a précis
Writing a précis is not as easy as it seems. This is because here you do not have to express your own opinion but understand the author’s opinion and state the author’s perspective. Thus to write an effective précis you need to understand the text completely and for that, you need to read it completely. This takes us to the 4 most important things while writing a précis –
- Put yourself into author’s shoes
Understand why the author might have written this text, what main idea does the author want to convey, what is the author’s perspective. You need to identify the thesis statement of the text and explain the same in your précis.
- Write in Paragraphs
Precis is not a very long text. Still, it can be divided into paragraphs depending upon the complexity of the original text. This will also give you an opportunity to add a few catchy headings and build a flow in your write-up so that the readers can get connected to your writing. Moreover, it will make it easier for you to check if you have mentioned all the main points in the précis or not.
- Notes can save you!
Do you like making notes? If yes then note-taking while reading the original text can save a lot of your time. You can simply jot down the main ideas of the passage and explain the essence of the text in your words. All this can be used as an outline of your précis.
- Follow a Structure
Start with an introductory paragraph where you can specify the author and the title of the passage. Then explain the thesis statement of the author. The introduction is followed by a body paragraph where you can provide the ideas and arguments of the author. At last, conclude your précis by summarizing the main idea of the passage.
Precis Example 1
Is money important?
All healthy-minded people consider money as a secondary object in their life. These people enjoy the feeling of winning in life more than earning money. A soldier always thinks about fighting well in the battle. The main objective of a priest is to preach. The main aim of a doctor is to cure the patients. Hence, for all these cultured, well-educated people, their work comes first, than money.
Precis Example 2
Importance of Discipline
Being disciplined is one of the biggest problems nowadays. According to our society, citizens must live a disciplined life as per the religious, moral, social and economic ethics. However, many people think that they should be free to do and think whatever they want to. But if we look at an athlete, it is his discipline that makes him a better sportsperson every day. Hence, discipline is important in life.
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