What is a Precis ?
A precise is like a summary of a given passage: it holds the absolute essential points accompanied with the mood and tone of the author of the passage. The one aspect one must be careful about is that one should not add any external information outside the passage and should try to retain the original author’s voice and opinions. As far as the writing style is concerned, one must ensure that one write clear and effective sentences (no rambling) and one’s diction is flawless. Unnecessarily long sentences or confused thoughts are not required in précis writing, and one should make sure that one sifts from one point to another in a smooth matter. At the end of the day, the précis should make sense and be logical in its presentation.
While keeping the above in mind, you need to keep in mind what a precis is not. The following are some of things that should not be a part of or a reflection of the precis:
Ø Simply a summary of a passage.
Ø simply an abstract of a passage.
Ø An outline of a passage.
Ø A mere selection of a few important sentences from a passage.
Ø A collection of disconnected facts and statements.
Features of a Good Precis
A good Precis:
Ø must having a TITLE
Ø is marked by clarity, brevity and precision.
Ø is not just lifting of the sentences from the original. It should be written in the precis writer's own words.
Ø is a small version of the original passage.
Ø must have a logical order and be well-knit and well connected.
Ø must have reason; must use linking devices such as so, therefore, and, because further etc.
Ø and must follow the order of ideas of the original.
Ø must have a title.
Ø is written in reported speech.
Ø must not contain any details not found in the original.
Don'ts in a précis:
Ø Do not express your own opinion, wish, remark or criticism.
Ø Do not insert any question in your précis. Its significance, if essential, may be expressed by a statement.
Ø Do not use abbreviations or contractions.
Ø Do not use informal words. This suggests that most probably, you have not understood the sense of the passage properly.