Précis Writing

Précis Writing

Introduction:                                                                                                                                    

Précis writing is a very fine exercise in a reading; writing and practical life for those who have to carry on communication with others. Précis is neither a paraphrase of the Original passage nor a list of main points. It is a piece of continuous writing which possesses proper organization of ideas, logical sequence of points and the variety of language. It is not merely a condensed reproduction of the original passage. Précis writing skill involves both the comprehension and effective writing. It is equally important for business and official people.

Literal meaning:

The word précis is a French word which means exact or terse. In English, it means to sum up, abridge, summary, precise etc. So it is a restatement in shorted form of the main ideas and points in a piece of writing.

Definitions:        

By Oxford Dictionary:

“It is a short version of a speech or a piece of writing that gives the main points or ideas.”

By Cambridge Dictionary:

“It is a short form of the text which briefly gives only the important parts.”

So we can say that a précis is the main theme of a passage Written in the fewest possible words.

Qualities Of A Good Précis

 

A good piece of précis should possess the following qualities;

  1. Conciseness:                                                                                                           

A good précis is always written in the fewest possible words. The writer expresses only the gist, the main purport or general idea of the passage very concisely. There is no room for examples, illustrations and quotations in précis.

  1. Complete and self-contained:

A good précis is always complete and self-contained. It means it must convey its message fully and clearly without requiring any reference and allusion to the original passage to compete for its meaning. The writer should ensure that all the important ideas are included in the précis.

  1. Coherence:

There is coherence in a good précis. It means that each part of the précis must be related to the other part like the beads of rosary.  In order to achieve coherence, connecting words like however, similarly, therefore, that, so, consequently, etc should be used in précis. In coherence, ideas do not appear as separate notes.

  1. Clearness:         A good précis is also clear, vivid, simple and easy to understand because in this the writer uses simple, clear and familiar words after understanding and comprehending the original passage.
  2. Correctness:                                                          

A good précis is correct in every respect there is no mistake of grammar or punctuation

  1. Faithful representation:

A good précis presents a faithful reproduction of the main theme. There is no room in précis for on thoughts or ideas.

  1. Length:                                                                            

A good précis is almost one third of the original passage. Therefore the writer includes all the unnecessary details from the précis.

  1. Elimination of Outdated words:                                                                                                      

In a good précis there is no room for outdated words and phrases. It possesses current vocabulary in it.

  1. Use of Grammar and Idioms:                                                                                            

A good précis is always in harmony with the grammar. It bears the use of idioms which makes précis more concise and useful.

  1. Punctuated:                                                                                          

A good précis also possesses proper and suitable use of punctuation marks where necessary. The use of punctuation marks makes the précis easy to understand and create effective feedback.

  1. Writer’s own words:

In a good précis, the writer uses words of his own. He does not borrow words, phrases, and sentences from the original passage. It shows the through an understanding of the writer.

  1. Paragraph:

A good précis also possesses this quality if be necessary. It does not contain loose sentences. Paragraphs should not appear to be separated in a good précis. The paragraph also shows the order of ideas.

  1. Chronological order:

A good piece of précis does not change the chronological order of the original passage.

  1. Variety of language:                                                                                                                                         

A good précis contains easy words and simple sentences. It avoids complex sentences which may create ambiguity and divergence between the thoughts of the original passage and the précis passage.

  1. Logical and natural sequence of points:                                                                            

This means that sentence and ideas should follow one after the other in an unbroken chain. The main theme should run through the sentences like a thread through the beads of a necklace.

  1. Reflects the Title:              

A good précis also possesses a title that shows the main theme of the passage. Whether the title is pointed out or not, it must emerge before the very eyes of the reader while he is reading the précis passage.

  1. Avoids redundancy of thoughts:

A good précis does not possess redundancies or repetition of thoughts and facts and figures.

  1. Avoids lexical items:                                                 

A good précis avoids lexical items. There is no room for colloquial expressions, circumlocutions, periphrasis or rhetorical flourishes.

  1. Use of Indirect speech

A good précis is an embodiment of indirect speech. Direct speech is always avoided that is why it is not found in a good piece of précis.

  1. Leading thoughts in harmony with general impression:

A good précis should give the leading thoughts and the general impression of the passage summarized. A précis that gives only leading points without general impression is not useful. It can not be called a perfect one.

  1. Tense:                                            A good piece of précis may be penned down in present or past tenses.
  2. Third person pronoun:

A good piece of précis always uses the third case of a personal pronoun instead of using first or second cases of personal pronouns.

  1. Avoids Personal opinion:

A good précis does not possess personal views of the précis maker. It only possesses the ideas of the writer of the original passage.

Rules Of Précis Writing

The rules of précis writing are penned down as follows;

  1. Carefully read the passage:                                    Before the writer starts making précis of the passage it should be read two or three times very carefully so to comprehend the passage completely
  2. Underline the main points:                                                                           After reading the passage carefully, all the important points and ideas should be underlined and the questions at the end of the passage can assist you to identify the main points
  3. Chalk out a rough draft:                               Put down all the main points in a sequence to get the first draft of your précis
  4. Order:                                                                                                                                             It is desirable to maintain the original order of ideas but it can be changed. However, the chronological order should not be disturbed
  5. Chronological order: The writer should not change the chronological order of the original passage
  6. Length:                                                                                                                                                                 A good précis is almost one-third of the original passage. Therefore the writer should exclude all the unnecessary details from the précis
  7. Eliminate the Outdated words: In a good précis there is no room for outdated words and phrases so they should be eliminated. It possesses current vocabulary in it
  8. Proper use of Grammar and Idioms: The writer should use grammar and idioms properly. A good précis is always in harmony with the grammar. The use of idioms makes précis more concise and useful
  9. Use Punctuation:                   There should be the proper and suitable use of punctuation marks where necessary. The use of punctuation marks makes the précis easy to understand and create effective feedback
  10. Use your own words:                                                                                        The writer should use words of his own. He should not borrow words, phrases, and sentences from the original passage. It shows the through understanding of the writer
  11. Use Paragraph:                 The writer should use paragraph if he feels necessary. He should not make loose sentences. Paragraphs should not appear to be separated in a good précis. Paragraph also shows the order of ideas
  12. Use Variety of language:  The writer should use easy words and simple sentences. He should avoid complex sentences which may create ambiguity and divergence between the thoughts of the original passage and the précis passage
  13. Maintain the Logical and natural sequence of points:                                                                                     This means that sentence and ideas should follow one after the other in an unbroken chain. The main theme should run through the sentences like a thread through the beads of a necklace
  14. No Personal opinion: A good précis does not possess personal views of the précis maker. It only possesses the ideas of the writer of the original passage
  15. Use the third person pronoun: The writer should use the third case of personal pronoun instead of using the first or the second cases of personal pronouns
  16. Use the indirect speech           A good précis is an embodiment of indirect speech. Direct speech is always avoided that is why it is not found in a good piece of précis.
  17. Final draft:                In the end, there should be re-reading and re-checking of the précis to ensure that the sequence of facts and figures or thoughts and ideas is the same as it is in the original passage.

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