Do's And Don’ts of Precis Writing

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What is Precis Writing?

A summary of a piece of writing or a paragraph is known as a precis. A precis should contain all the essential information and points present in the paragraph. It should also retain the author's mood and tone, as has been used in the passage. Since precise writing is short, hence try to avoid long sentences and do not spin around the same content. Therefore, to follow proper diction and avoid unnecessary flaws. One needs to abide by some strict precis writing rules. Before checking out the rules, let us take a good look at the rules of precis writing. 


How to Write Precis?

The first thing to be kept in mind is that the exact idea of the passage needs to be delivered without any ambiguousness. Secondly, all the essential points of the passage should be retained in the precis. Lastly, you need to remember that the writing style should be simple with error-free language and flawless delivery. It should be concise and clear. 

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Below We Have Listed Some Basic Rules Which One Should Follow While Writing a Precis

  • Read the passage twice or thrice and try to grasp the general idea of the write-up you need to incorporate into your precis writing.

  • Try to maintain a word limit and do rough calculations to identify the length of your passage.

  • Note down the essential points of the passage and leave out the rest.

  • As you note down the points, do not jumble them up, and maintain the writer's order and tone.

  • Choose a relatable heading for your precis writing.

  • Always write in the third person and do not use direct speech. Use appropriate past tense to make it an indirect speech.

  • Rather than using titles and names, use official designations. Use personal names if official designations are not available at all. Maintain a similar pattern of writing throughout the passage.

  • Make a rough draft and remove all the grammatical glitches and language errors from your precis.

  • Try to mention the number of words in the precis writing at the end of the precis within the first brackets.


Principles of Precis Writing

Below we have mentioned the guidelines on the process of writing a precis with the strict do's and don'ts mentioned clearly.


Precis Writing Do's

  • Start with the main idea itself, for the readers to quickly grasp the plot of the precis.

  • Remember that the reader will know what your Precis should contain, hence write in the original flow of the writer. The message of Precis writing should be clear.

  • To incorporate all the essential points, create a proper environment, and try to include facts, methods, and portions from the original passage.

  • Identify all the unimportant information in the passage and remove them from your precis.

  • It is essential to mention the purpose of writing the precis.

  • Retain the keywords and keep a check on the word count.

  • Any historical fact should be mentioned in the past tense. 


Precis Writing Don'ts

  • Refrain from writing your own opinions, criticism, and remarks about the passage in the precis.

  • Never insert any facts taken from the internet. Use only facts given in the passage.

  • Never ask questions in a precis. In case it is imperative, put it in the form of a sentence.

  • Use full forms and do not use abbreviations or short forms.

  • Do not spin around the same content, and the writing flow should not be jerky. It gives out the impression that you are not confident with your content.

  • Ensure the precis is not too long as it is a summary, and it should be short and crisp.

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Solved Examples

Q. What Can Be the Maximum Length of a Precis?

Answer: Ideally, a precis is the summary of a passage. Hence, it should be within 100 to 200 words or rather one-fifth or one-sixth of the length of the original passage.


Q. What Writing Style Needs to Be Maintained While Writing a Precis?

Answer: The writing style should be formal, with no grammatical errors. It should be to the point. The diction should be clear and not jerky.


Fun Facts

  • A precis retains the original writer’s thoughts but should be written in your own words.

  • A precis is coherent, and that’s the reason why it logically connects with the reader.

  • Precis comes from the French word précis, which means a text or abstract, and precis writing in English means writing a summary of a passage.

  • Precis should never contain the personal information of the writer. There should be no criticism or remark regarding the original passage in the precis.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What Are the Different Types of Precis Writing?

Precis are generally of four types—

  • Precis of Speech: This is the kind of Precis where you retain the original theme but write the summary of the passage in your speech.

  • Precis of Continuous Matter: Apart from correspondence, every kind of matter falls under continuous matter. It includes reports of evidence, question-answer form, or parliamentary reports. Such Precis does not include the date of the passage.

  • Precis of Correspondence: Index Precis and Narrative Precis from the two types of Precis correspondence. Index Precis are presented in the form of a table while narrative ones are descriptive.

  • Telegraphese: This is the telegram style precis that involves the use of the least number of words to maintain the originality of the passage but in your own words.

2. What is the Importance of Precis Writing?

Nowadays, no business person or top executives has the time to read the full article. Hence, it becomes essential for the middle-level managers to convey only the critical points of an article to them and tactically remove all the unimportant information. Here precis writing comes into the play. It gives the writer the unique quality of differentiating between the principal and unimportant points. Hence, it is a very unique and vital form of communication and one of the most important writing styles. It prepares a proofreader with careful reading qualities too. In all, it builds communication and understanding skills in the precis writer.