Writing Lessons » How to write a precis

How to write a precis

1. You should read the passage twice:  the first time helps you to know what the passage is about, and the second time to determine the main ideas that you should inculde in your precis. Do not be discouraged if you meet a difficult word or expression in the passage. You can easily guess its right meaning from the context. Use your intelligence, your imagination and also your memory.

2. Read  the passage third time, making a list of all the points you will have to use, these notes should be very brief.

3. Write your precis outline or plan. Give your precis a title. Writing a concise plan is very important: it will finally compel you to respect a scheme you have yourself devised. Your plan should therefore consist of the main ideas in the passage presented in a certain order of your own choice. These principal points should appear on your paper as headings or titles. Under each major point you may include some minor ones that will stand as sub-heading. It is recommendable that the headings of your outline be written in short but sentences, in your own choice, in your own words.

Remember that:

· you should use your own words as far as possible,

· You should not include anthing that is not in the passage,

· A whole phrase or sentence can be expressed in or replaced by one word, if you know which word to use.

4. Using your list of points, and respecting your plan, write a rough draft of the precis, referring to the original passage only when you want to make sure of some point. This will help you greatly to reproduce the substance of the passage in your own words. The number of words should be counted when you have finished the rough draft, not before.

5. After having counted the number of words in the draft and made any changes you think necessary, write out a fair copy of your precis in a single block/paragraph, stating the exact number of words you have used at the end.

Remember these points:

a. All your information should be derived from the passage.

b. Do not change/distort the meaning of the original or add to it;

c. Your precis should read as a continuous paragraph.

d. Use link-words like ‘but’, ‘and’, ‘however’,’also’, etc.

e. Try to connect your point by using complex sentences (try beginning a sentence with words like, ‘since’, ‘though’, ‘even if ’, ‘when’, ‘after’, ‘before’, etc.)