Precis writing is a technique that allows you to summarize bulk of words into few in effective manners. It provides a general idea from a long text. It is a brief and logical summary with reduced explanations and unnecessary details. It is reproduced from the original source by maintaining its logic and concepts. We may also say, the precis is taken from the text of the maximum words and conveys the idea in minimum words. Let’s have a look on its origin and meaning. The word Precis has been derived from a French word that means “to extract”. This word is used both as a singular and plural too with a change in the pronunciation.
No rule has been set for the limitation of words in Precis writing, but it is suggested that the summarized passage should be of one third of the original passage. It is neither just changing the words, nor paraphrasing the original source, rather it is a flow of continuous writing with clear ideas and logic and the proper use of language as demanded by the situation. In short, it is a proper sequencing of words.
Precis is not just the creative writing; it is the reproduction of words written by some other author. As it is the picture of someone else’s ideas and thoughts, therefore the precis writer can’t add up to this writing. The precis writer is unable to quote examples or add explanations even if the original text is not easy to understand.
The first and basic requirement for precis writing is to understand the passage and its central idea. Then, you must have the skills to reproduce the points regarding its central theme effectively in your own words. It is the improvement of writing and an exercise of reproducing content effectively. That’s why this writing is highly valued not only in Business Communication, but also in other fields of life.
Qualities of Good Precis Writing
Here below are discussed the most important qualities of good precis writing. You really need to be aware of them all.
The precis should contain all the basic ideas of the given passage. You can never skip anything from the main Idea.
It should clearly express the ideas and meanings of the given text without leaving any doubt. It should be written in such a clear way that one should not need to read the original text.
The Conciseness mean the precise should be brief and accurate. It should be a systematic way of writing where the words should be used logically. You have reproduced a poor precis, if you have omitted the main points and ideas of the original writing. Too much minimizing of words will lead to poor writing. Remember that good writing is an organic integral, which will lose its importance if trimmed in such ways.
How to Do Precis Writing?
To write a good precis it is necessary to have good writing skills. Besides good writing skills, practice is also necessary. Following steps should be followed to write an effective precis. Always keep a blank paper to draw a rough sketch before writing a precis.
- Read the passage thoroughly to know the central idea of the passage and to know the idea of the author that what he wants to convey.
- By reading the first few lines or last lines, you will come to know the central idea of the passage. Write that idea in the form of a sentence, or give the title to the topic for your ease.
- Read the passage two or three times carefully and underline the main ideas of the passage. Each paragraph of the passage will be containing at least one supporting idea.
- You can take assistance from dictionary, if you do not know the meaning of any word.
- Include essential sentences only and remove unnecessary details i.e., examples and elaborations, words or sentences that are repetitive, stories and also extra phrases.
- After extracting ideas from every paragraph of the passage, arrange them in a sequence on a rough sheet. Check if you have left any important point. Also remove the extra points from the summary.
- Compare the sequence of your summary with the original text. Arrange if you find any of the idea illogical.
- Do not add any point that is not present in the passage.
- Check the length of your precis if it is longer, remove the unnecessary details from the precis and rewrite in a way that matches the criteria.
- Read your draft in order to check the spellings, punctuation and structure of sentences.
- Avoid the use of words “I”, “Me” or “in my opinion”.
- Use clear language free of doubts and confusions.
- After reading the rough draft twice and thrice, write it on the neat paper.
Tips for Precis Writing
- Start precis writing by compiling an abstract. Abstract is the synopsis of words, sentences containing the ideas on which the work is based. Writing an abstract simply requires the skill to pick up the main points of the passage.
- After writing abstract, the next step is to paraphrase. Paraphrase is to write the given passage in the simple language by converting the difficult words in simple ones.
- In precis, it is necessary to write as much as you can, but in a precise way.
- Proper use of colon and semi colon makes precis the best one.
- Precis should be written using indirect speech. The precis should be written in third person form and in past tenses.
- The title of the precis should be the matter of fact. It should not support the imaginative mind.
Precis writing is not a tough job. All you need is to use some tactics and follow these easy steps mentioned above in order to write an effective precis. In fact, precis needs the best writing skills and this can be achieved by repetitive exercise of writing.