The article describes Everything in and about Precis Writing. You shall be enlightened about the format, the “dos” and “don’ts” list and tips that govern the entire concept of Precis Writing as the article progresses.
What is a Precis?
is a miniature form of the actual piece of writing that displays a clear idea of the verse, giving the reader a hint of what the verse is all about. It is constructed keeping in mind the mood and the tense in which the author has written the verse. While framing a precis, one should not neglect the idea and the intention of the author and should definitely not add his personal comments or viewpoints. A precis demands no “beating round the bush
”, thus it should be straight forward and effective. Transition between the sentences and lines should be smooth. One must avoid breaking the flow of the already constructed precis and advance sequentially which does not confuse the reader.
In order to write an ideal Precis that serves its purpose well, let us discuss about things that one should know about a precis. A precis is not:
- A summary,
- An abstract verse,
- An outline story of the verse,
- A collection of “maybe” important sentences from the verse,
- A collection of relevant facts or ideas.
The above list is the list of things that differ from a precis.
Dos and don’ts of a Precis:
The following is the “to – do” list of a precis:
- Make yourself well versed with context or piece you are going to write the precis about. Determine the main idea of the text. Highlight points and sentences that you can use in the precis. Note them down at one place.
- The precis has to convey the maximum information possible in a clarified manner. At the same time, it shouldn’t be lengthy enough to bore the reader. Put to paper the first draft of precis in the compressed form.
- In the second round, try eliminating everything that feels “not so relevant” and important.
- DO NOT neglect the tense in which the author has compiled the book. Maintain the same tense in the precis as well.
- If possible, state the purpose of the context.(Why was the survey essential? OR Why did the author think of writing on this topic?)
The following are the don’ts in the journey of writing a precis:
- A precis is about the piece that is written and should contain the same. You are NOT allowed to give your own remarks or comments.
- Keep the precis less interrogative and more informative. Let there be NO question marks (?).
- Half knowledge has always been dangerous and the same prevails here. Gain appropriate knowledge about the verse and then write. DO NOT write something that you don’t know.
- Abbreviations are not suitable.
Format of the precis:
As per the format suggested by the Webster University, the precis should open with the “name of the author”, “title of the author” and the “date of publication”.
To get a clear understanding of the above statement, consider the following example:
In “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”, an essay compiled in 1963 by J. R. R. Tolkien, the mining of Beowulf in the Anglo – Saxon period which was done purely for historical evidence is notified and the scholars associated with this activity are criticized.
The body of the paragraph:
Everything that the author has explained in the verse in detail should be stated in this section of the precis in a highly condensed and straightforward manner. Quotations or instances that the writer used to support his compilation should be stated in a clear and an understandable form.
This section of conclusion demands the conclusion of the text and not your personal conclusion. DO NOT MAKE ANY PERSONAL REMARKS. It has to state the main idea and what does the text revolve around and might include statements made by the author that support the idea the best.
Guidelines to write an effective precis
The following are the guidelines to construct an effective precis
- First of all, read the article or the verse carefully. Understand the general idea and the theme of the text. This is the fuel over which your precis shall run.
- Calculate the number of words if not provided. Approximations shall work.
- Invest time giving multiple reads to the text or the verse.
- Make notes that include the most important points. This shall help you segregate the essential from the non – essential.
- Now that you have the first draft, think of a catchy heading.
- Arrange the points in the logical order that makes sense so that you do not leave them while summing up the final draft.
- Remember three essential rules of Precis Writing: MAINTAIN the tense, WRITE in third person and BE indirect.
- Review your draft and at times, read it loud till you are satisfied with your own writing.
- Get back to the original text to check whether you haven’t missed anything.
- Be wise enough to count the number of words of your precis and show them in brackets at the end of your precis.
Sample precis: The sample precis for a context on earthquake will be as follows:
Earthquake – The Calamity
Earthquake treats everybody equal. It causes the same degree of destruction to everyone. The strength or the power of an earthquake is greater than any other human weapon known. It appears all of sudden with no warnings. It has the potential to destruct a massive city within minutes into something that never existed. An earthquake causes shifts in the plates of the earth bringing destruction to not only the land, but to the plains, mountains as well as the sea, only adding on to the destruction. Lisbon was a victim of earthquake in 1755 that took away almost 450 souls and in 1970, Peru, killing almost 50,000 civilians. Scientists are researching about new ways to detect the source of an earthquake and technologies that can warn us to prepare beforehand, thus saving man and property.
Be simple, Be precise, Be straightforward. Don’t try using huge, complex sentences. They might confuse the reader. Gain some knowledge beforehand. Only then you shall be able to execute properly.