Leanne R.
Leanne R.

How to Write a Precis Writing - Detailed Guide with Examples

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Published on: Jan 6, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 5, 2023

How to Write a Precis

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Writing a precis is not easy because you have to summarize an argument without writing too much. Conciseness, or the art of being concise and compact in one's expression when speaking or communicating, has been found essential for professional writers. It helps to retain their readers' attention span to be maintained while reading through what they wrote.

A precis is a summary that explains the main argument without doing critical analysis. A word on learning how to write concisely is “practice”.

Most students find it difficult to write precis and turn to others for help. Are you also one of them?

Below are some tips that can make your precis sound more creative. Keep on reading the blog to find out these interesting tips.

What is a Precis?

A precis summarizes the central ideas and arguments in another text that typically includes an overview, analysis, or key points. It differs from other summaries because it does not include unnecessary details such as quotations.

A good precis should be concise so readers can get a clear understanding without wasting time on long descriptions. Most students often ask how to write a good rhetorical precis. Here is a simple answer to this question. A good rhetorical precis should be:

“A well-written summary takes up a lot less space than the original article or book and yet contains all of its essential points”.

A great way to make your piece of writing concise is by using phrases that are shorter versions and synonyms for words with more syllables, like "said" instead of " declared."

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Purpose of Precis

The main purpose of the precis is to keep the essence of an original report in a clear and concise manner. It can be written about anything from novels, books, or articles. A person doesn't need deep critical analysis skills because only key ideas are summarized in precis.

However, in precis, you have to follow certain guidelines when organizing your thoughts. It includes following an inverted pyramid format where you provide only background information and brief summaries on each point.

Elements of Precis

Following are the five main elements of precis writing that depicts the precis writing skills of a writer:

  • Clarity

    A reader should get a clear idea of what the writer wants to say. Thus, a precis should be written using simple words.

  • Correctness

    You should look out for punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure mistakes. Also, verify all the dates, addresses, facts, and figures used in the precis.

  • Objectivity

    Being objective means being candid about your information. It means that you should only present facts in a summary without giving an opinion of the situation at hand.

  • Coherence

    Coherence is stringing together ideas in an order that makes sense. Your audience doesn’t want to be left feeling confused or lost while reading, so use strong transitions.

  • Conciseness

    Conciseness is the art of cutting out unnecessary information from your précis to create a concise, effective summary. Avoid wordy expressions and repetitions.

Precis Format

The precis is a summary of an academic paper that takes the form of writing. It should be formatted in a certain way to create well-written work.

Here is a precis format for you that includes the following three sections:

1. Introduction

It includes the authors’ name, the publishing date of the content, and the name of the article or book. Moreover, it also includes the authors’ purpose of writing the content, and then an introduction is ended on a thesis statement.

2. Body

The body section of a precis includes paragraphs explaining the author's ideas and purpose in each paragraph with appropriate evidence. The writer needs to remain objective to analyze the writer’s opinion without revealing their personal opinions.

3. Conclusion

In the last section, you have to provide a summary and restate the main claim. Summarizing has a lot to do with maintaining the main ideas and arguments without forgetting any subjective opinions or judgments. If you can summarize all these aspects, your summary will be successful!

How to Write a Precis Step by Step?

Writing a great precis seems like an impossible task if you don't know how to write it. But, with the proper steps and hints from us, you can easily do it!

For your help, we will discuss each step extensively for your better understanding. Following are the steps to write precis perfectly in no time.

Have a look at each point in detail.

1. Read the Text

To understand what the author has written, you have to read the original text multiple times and make sure that you understand their arguments. If there are any unfamiliar words in the text, be sure to search them before writing your precis so that this doesn't happen.

2. Highlight the Text

To be sure you understand the text, use different colors of highlighters. You can highlight arguments and key details in your own words for future reference. The colors of your highlighter can be an integral part in helping you decide what the most important information is.

The margins are also a great place to jot down notes and thoughts about how well you understand the text, as they will help when the time for creating precis comes.

3. Exploring the Thesis Statement

The thesis is the central claim, argument, or proposition of a text. The author's argument, which they are trying to prove through their text, can be found in this section, and it should not be overlooked when reading a longer piece.

To find your thesis statement, you should read carefully and look for words like "I believe", "in conclusion," etc.

4. Condense Each Section

When you write the precis of a novel, it is best to divide each chapter into separate sections. It will help keep your thoughts organized and make summarizing easier. In contrast, if you write about journal articles with already-divided sections (such as headings or subheadings), summarize each paragraph instead.

Be sure that when summarizing the sections, be concise. For example, you should only include the main points, not every detail, and strong evidence for supporting those ideas!

5. Discover the Author's Purpose of Writing

Sometimes authors don't state their purpose, so it's up to you to determine one yourself. You should ask questions when determining the author's goals:

  • What did they want readers of this text to think?
  • Did they have a message about something that needs attention or awareness raised on your behalf?

Let these goals guide your thoughts during the writing process because if not done right, people may misunderstand the intent of composing such work! A common goal among writers is persuading others into agreeing with them by using valid arguments.

6. Drafting a Precis Outline

There are many benefits to create an outline before writing a precis. For one, it will provide you with the necessary roadmap for your work and keep everything organized in short order. Also, following this template from start to finish can help produce high-quality results.

7. Start Writing Precis

Precis is not like essay writing, where you have to define everything in detail. Instead, it should be written concisely. A precis writing comprises of three major sentence structures:

  • In the first sentence of a precis, introduce the author and their genre. This is important for readers to understand why they are reading it.
  • The second sentence should explain how this text supports its argument by providing evidence that backs up.
  • To finish off your precis, you have to restate where we started with all information known about the topic at hand, like quotations from authors.

8. Proofread your Precis

After finishing the first draft, it's time to get serious about editing. In this stage, you need to improve typos and grammar mistakes by eliminating any unnecessary text or correcting word order where necessary. Moreover, you can ask someone else for help with the proofreading process.

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Have a look at the following template to get a better idea of writing a precis

How to Write a Precis - Examples

Below are samples to explore how a precis is written for different writing pieces and how it differs from the author’s original work.

Do’s and Don’ts of Precis Writing

When you have to write a precis of a paragraph or any scholarly article, always consider the following given points:

Always start precis with the main ideaDo not provide your own opinion while writing precis.
Describe all the important points equally.Don’t use contractions or abbreviations.
Write compressed and concise precis within the word limit provided.Don’t quote any long text as it is.
If you are mentioning something of history, write it in the past tense.Don’t provide any criticism in precis.
Mentioning the purpose of content is important when writing its precis.Don’t insert any question while writing a precis.

Precis writing is an art. It's a handy skill that can help you in your academic writing, but it takes time and practice to get good at it. To write the perfect precis of any work, make sure you're comparing and contrasting every important point with what was said or done with the original piece of work.

Keep an eye out for anything missing from the piece because they might be things not worth including in one go-round!

If you feel that writing precis is not your cup of tea, you can ask FreeEssayWriter.net any time for help. We have professional writers who eagerly provide precis writing services to students who wish for a helping hand.

Thus, you can always rely on us whenever you need professional assistance from our essay writing service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best way to write a precis?

Following are the best ways to write a precis:

  1. Read the content provided. 
  2. Note down the important points. 
  3. Summarize those points in simple wording. 
  4. Polish it to make a final draft.

How long is a precis?

A precis can be 100 to 200 words, or it is approx 1/5th the length of the original sample. Sometimes your instructor can also provide the word count or some important instructions to write a precis.

What are the types of precis writing?

Following are the types of precis writing:

  • Precis of continuous matter. 
  • Precis of speech. 
  • Precis of correspondence. 
  • Precis of telegraphese.

In which person is precis written?

Precis writing is a third-person account of the subject matter. It starts with “the author says/states” and never includes a direct speech from those discussed in the precis. Instead, it relies on paraphrasing to relay its message, making it easier for readers who are unfamiliar with quoting directly as part of an argument or essay.

Leanne R.


Leanne R. (Literature)

Leanne is one of the most experienced writers on our platform and holds a Ph.D. degree from Cambridge. She has worked as a journalist, an editor, and a content creator for newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world. Leanne’s research and writing skills are unsurpassed making her one of the best-reviewed writers on our platform.

Leanne is one of the most experienced writers on our platform and holds a Ph.D. degree from Cambridge. She has worked as a journalist, an editor, and a content creator for newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world. Leanne’s research and writing skills are unsurpassed making her one of the best-reviewed writers on our platform.

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