Some Rules of Precis-Writing


Writing a precis means making an intelligent summary of a long passage. To write a precis one should have a clear understanding of the passage: only then well one be able to include all the essential points  and tips and tricks of essay examples in the precis.

Some general considerations :

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    It is generally accepted that a precis should be a third of the passage given. If the original passage has 300 words, the precis should not be more than 110 words in length.

  • A precis should be in the language of the precis-writer. The original passage is not to be reduced in length by just removing unimportant or unnecessary sentences and by reproducing the rest as the precis. It should be a brief gist or summary of the passage expressed in the writer’s own words.
  • A precis should be full i.e. it should contain all the essential thoughts, ideas or fact in the original passage. It should not contain repetitions or observations that are not relevant to the main theme of the original.
  • A precis is always written in Reported Speech. The passage given may be a speech made by a person in Direct Speech, but the precis is to be in Reported Speech and in the Third Person and in the Past tense.

Techniques of Precis – Writing

There three kinds of work to be done in producing a clear and successful precis. They are (1) Reading, (2) Writing and (3) Revision.


Read the passage carefully

If one reading is not enough to give you a general idea of its meaning, then read it a second time. As you read, find out the subject or the theme of the passage and what is said about the subject.

It will be a good thing if you find out the lead or the topic sentence. The lead sentence will help you to see the subject clearly. It will also help you to think of a title for the precis example.

Further reading may be necessary at this stage to make sure that the details of the passage are also understood. Read the passage more slowly this time, even sentence by sentence, and make sure that everything in the passage is understood. If this is not done, it is likely that you will miss something important, especially if it is expressed by a short phrase or a single word.

Now comes the process of selection. The writer of the precis writing passages has to decide what facts or ideas in the passage are essential and what are of secondary or no importance. Taking the main ideas of the passages as your point of reference, it should not be too difficult to write out the important points in the original in a corner of your writing work sheet.


Essay Writing SkillsYou should first prepare a draft of the precis, keeping in mind, the need to reduce he original to one-third its length. The main thoughts expressed in the passage, the ideas it contains, the opinions presented and the conclusion arrived at should figure in the rough draft. Unimportant things like the names of people and places and dates should not figure in it.

It may so happen that your first draft is too long or that it sounds rather jerky. Shorten it if necessary and write out a careful second draft during college preparation. Sometimes you may need to work out three or even four drafts, but with reasonable care and concentration, you should normally succeed in producing a good precis writing by the second draft.

Remember that a precis or essay is a connected whole and that it should read smoothly and continuously, Get more advice and tips for more study tips for online education sites.


When you have made your second (or final) draft, carefully revise it before writing out the fair copy. Look for many mistakes or slips in grammar or spelling and correct them. Don’t forge to give your precis a title for precis writing examples.

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Posted on April 19, 2013, in Career, Education, Essay, Guide, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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