How to Write a Critical Precis in Several Simple Steps

How to Write a Critical Precis in Several Simple Steps

Many writers today wonder how to write a precis.To make it short, the purpose of any critical precis is to provide a summary of the original text. This type of article must prove that the author understands the original idea and author's intentions. Critical precis has its format and rigid structure every writer should follow. Consider the recommendations below to write a meaningful precis or make an order on academic writing website to get immediate help.

What is a Précis?

"What is a precis," students ask when they receive new homework assignment from their teacher. A précis is a summary of a text which maintains the proportions, tone, and the meaning of the original work. It shouldn't contain your opinion about the work - the summary must be objective, not subjective. Precis should be written in your own words. Don't copy original phrases and sentences unless this is the best way to describe a certain concept or idea. The length of a précis may vary. If you must write a précis as a school assignment, make sure to double-check how long your writing should be.

Critical precis involves 800-1000 words. It may sound the following way:

"Write a precis, approximately 4 double-spaced pages, of the first half of "The Art of Listening to People," by Robert Bryans. Your essay should cover Bryans' article through the bottom of page 6."

Precis is a challenge which requires several activities to be done. Consider there is no information on the original text's name. To have an idea, start with the research to pick several good sources. A writer will also read the article or essay from cover to cover to be able to analyze it, criticize, and develop a summary of the main author's points.

If you want the best example of a precis, remember to observe this material.

Summary vs. precis

Precis differs from a summary in the structure and language use. To put it differently, the main difference between the term mentioned above is that a precis requires using both the original language and structure, which refers mainly to keywords and phrases. When it comes to the summary, it is preferable for students to use their own words more and fewer words from the original text.

Tips from a pro for writing a compelling critical precis

If you were assigned to precis writing, the best way to prepare the concise precis quickly and quality are to follow useful up-to-date tips from a pro. Making a concise precis writing easy, remember to:

  1. Avoid weak sentences
  2. Apply the keywords and phrases in precis
  3. Keep the central idea throughout the paragraph
  4. Keep precis' length under 1500 words
  5. Count lines instead of words
  6. Make precis in one paragraph maximum
  7. Follow the precis structure step-by-step
  8. Keep it accurate, brief, and clear.

How long should a precis be?

There is no strict word count requirement for precis. However, taking into consideration the most common length of a critical precis, it varies between 500-1500 words. These paragraphs should be the maximum short and precise. In terms of the whole article length, the best length for precis is approximately one-fifth of the total length of the original piece of writing. In case your professor is very strict about wordcounts, it would be better to ask your professor to provide exact length specifications. 


Signs of Good Precis Essay

Let's discuss precis format and structure which look like most of the academic papers have.

How to Write a Critical Precis

Although an essay and a precis have a similar format, they serve different purposes, and both require specific techniques. The characteristics of the good critical precis are everywhere the same.

  1. Precis is always a summary of author's abstracts, but never a summary without analysis or simply interpretation of the original text.
  2. Writers try not to use the words or sentences from the original text.
  3. Critical precis paper reflects a meaning of the original article and explains its significance to the target audience/entire society.
  4. Precis format includes thesis, methods, results (findings), and conclusion.
  5. The writer must consider clarity through using simple language and accepted the structure of precis mentioned in its outline.
  6. Just like any other academic paper, critical precis requires double-checking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Once you're done, launch a special checking software on your PC to scan the text for mistakes. It is important to revise the paper no matter how confident you are.
  7. Write objective points in your critical summary - avoid personal ideas and opinions on the issue.
  8. Write coherently, which means providing a logical interconnection between the original text's ideas and trying to keep the interest of your reading audience throughout the entire precis.
  9. Conciseness is another thing a writer should consider. Write about points that really matter, avoiding unnecessary details which will lead to wordiness, wateriness, and repetitiveness.
  10. Review helpful online articles in order to write the best academic essays!

Best Introduction Precis Example

The first sentence of precis introduction aims to present the analyzed work. Make sure to include:

  • Author's full name.
  • Article' genre.
  • Title of publication.
  • Year of publication.
  • Rhetorically accurate verb ("assert," "argue," "prove," "disprove," and "explain).
  • Thesis statement in the last sentence.

An example of effective precis introduction is:

"Dawn Griffin's article, "Considering Factors That Impact Children from Single-Parent Families" (2015), names the negative factors that push American teens to commit crimes."

Most of the time, a writer must specify only the author's name. If it is critical for the summary, more details on publication may be included to explain why it has too conservative or radical positions regarding accustomed things.

It is important to understand the genre of the analyzed work.

  • Essay novel
  • Critical article
  • Poem
  • Short story
  • Play
  • Fiction/non-fiction book

The next purpose is to explain how the writer/speaker supports his thesis statement. To do so, one must define the purpose of the work clearly. That is why it is important to choose an original text which aims to teach the reader instead of simply providing some information. The key phrase in this passage would be "in order to." A precis example is:

"Griffin defends his ideas through presenting facts, statistics, and consequences of the youth crime taken from the official US criminal reports."

Another precis example might be:

"Griffin makes his argument by involving supporting evidence taken from the official FBI reports, describing the most recent criminal activity, and offering additional considerations regarding the form of child's mental disorders."

The last thing a writer is encouraged to include in his critical precis opening is the description of the intended audience. The target audience predetermines a lot of critical factors: the language of precis ( formal or informal), purposes, and examples. Sometimes you may also explain how the author interacts with his readers. Try to understand whether he is successful with accomplishing his goals.

"Considering the voice and language full of American slang words and phrases the author applies in his article, Griffin primarily writes to achieve the US high school and college students."

Critical precis example

Sometimes, it's easier to have a look at some examples to understand what exactly is expected from you to write. We prepared several precis example to help you get the quality idea:


Steps to Take to Write a Better Précis

If you have never written a précis before, you can find numerous examples and templates of nicely done précis on the internet. Analysis of these works will help you better understand the concept of this task. In general, there are several steps one should take to be ready for writing a precis.

How to Write a Precis: General Writing Hints

  1. Choose a work which you can both summarize and analyze effectively, but remember that the best sources to consider are journal articles, books, and newspaper articles. Whatever you decide, it must be related to the subject you study/relevant to the specific research problem. Here are the keys to choosing the best research paper topic.
  2. Read the original text attentively to review all unclear points with the help of online sources or dictionaries. You should re-read the original text many times as you need to comprehend it fully.
  3. Write down key phrases and sentences that you think are especially important. These words may later serve as the powerful keywords bloggers and SEO specialists use to attract attention to their online essays/articles/blog posts.
  4. Take notes and highlight the key moments of the original text to create a precis outline. An outline points out a structure of any essay in a clear and organized manner.

Structure of Critical Precis Essay

  1. Once the preparatory work is done, you can begin to write the précis itself:
  2. In introduction section, mention what the thesis of your reading is and include information about the author, reading, etc.
  3. With the help of notes and prepared outline, compress each precis paragraph or a logically connected block of text into one or two sentences to keep your summary very short.
  4. Keep in mind your goal is to explain what the author's writing purpose is and how he achieves it. Make sure you don't express your subjective point of view in the body of your critical precis.
  5. Bind these sentences in a way which will mirror the original work. Add transition words/phrases ("moreover," "at the same time," "on the other hand," etc.)
  6. The effective conclusion has two purposes: make a summary of the reading and explain why the original text is important. In other words, motive people to continue research on the given problem.
  7. Once the précis is written, make sure you proofread and edit it. All connections should be logical and the original tone and meaning must be reflected in your writing.

Examples of Critical Precis Format

Precis essay example needs to be in front of you. Here is an example of how a precis of a long, expressive sentence can look this way:

  • Original: The account the witness gave of the incident moved everyone who heard it to laughter.
    Précis: The witness's story was absurd.
  • Original: Laura made a terrible, terrible mistake when she took David's letter from him, and Henry had to despise her with all his heart because of all the problems she brought to his family; yet, his heart was still pounding faster every time he saw her or even heard her name, which was the best evidence of his great devotion and love.
    Précis: Although Henry was angry with Laura, he was still in love with her.
  • Original: The biggest lie told by weight-loss gurus: You can cut calories without feeling hungry. You can't. (Lou Schuler, How to Be Hungry);
    Précis: You always feel hungry when you cut calories.

A sentence or a paragraph can contain several details; you goal is to decide whether they are new and important for the plot or they have already been mentioned. You should only pay attention to those points that are crucial. Metaphors, allusions, and other literary expressive means can be easily omitted because their primary purpose is to add emotions to the story. All these tropes are not important for the plotline itself - their mission is to make the scene bright and vivid and influence readers' imagination.

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