If you were to describe what happens in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in 15-20 lines, how would you say it? To describe such a lengthy play of 2000+ sentences, you would specifically talk about the main events or highlights and wrap it up. That’s exactly what Precis writing is. Precis writing is among the common and essential literature writing skills that are applicable in multiple areas and are an important topic for Bank exams, Government Exams, MBA entrance exams, and also in class 8th and 9th syllabus. Let’s understand what precis writing is, its examples with solutions, tips and practice worksheet for you to brush up your writing skills.
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What is Precis Writing?
Precis Writing is a summary. It is an exercise of compression. A precis writing is a gist of any passage in as few words as possible. A precis should mention all important details of the original paragraph so that anyone who is reading it is able to understand the idea of the original passage.
Taking the above example forward, to describe the essential highlights and events that take place in The Merchant of Venice, you will not add your own thoughts and maintain the tone and expressions of the characters. You will also avoid mentioning events that aren’t essential. This is how precis writing works. You express or rewrite a paragraph or any piece of writing and make it as concise as possible without having to change the crux of the subject matter.
In precis writing, you must be carefully objective and maintain the theme of the passage without excluding the important points. Comprehend the passage carefully to conclude about what is important in an article or a story. You might take a while to read it the first time, but as you keep reading it, the later times might just be an easy skim over the pages. Precis writing requires a very strong understanding of the story/ text to convey the same message in a miniature form.
The word Precis comes from the Latin ‘praecisus’ and the old french ‘précis’ which means abrupt, abridged, cut off, or shortened. The word Precis is pronounced with a silent ‘s’ (Pray-see).
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Use of Precis Writing
People often want to go through the highlights of books, movies, meetings, an article, report, news, etc. This is when precis writing works to deliver the main points to the audience without making any modifications in the proportion, tone, or theme of the content. Precis writing plays an essential role in the following areas:
- Precis writing can be used to describe a chapter so that students get the gist of the basics.
- Precis writing is also used in companies for job descriptions, meeting highlights, etc.
- The use of precis writing is also seen in movies to describe the main events or plot of the film.
- Precis writing is also used in scientific reports and researches to give the gist of its content.
How to write a Precis?
Owing to the repeatedly mentioned importance of keeping a precis short, writing a precis requires you to carefully understand the points that will provide the necessary highlights of the content. It might sound easy, but comprehending a text and keeping its theme intact requires strong skills and a lot of brainstorming. Here are the steps that can easily help you compose a clear precis.
- Understand the text/narrative.
The main and the most crucial point is to read the text multiple times. It is possible that you might have missed on some point or not have understood it. Reading it persistently can take you through some overlooked points and explain certain points in a better manner. After perusing the text a few times, you will easily connect through the points and also form a mental outline of the content.
- Highlight and Divide the Text
Divide the text into smaller parts and make sure you use a highlighter to highlight the main details for further reference. Create an order of the texts so that you line up each event and do not muddle up the points.
- Create a Mind Map
Before constructing your precis, have a rough outline or a map with all the points you think are necessary. Read it and compare it to the text. You might want to add/omit certain points to make it more clear. Make sure your outline follows the order of the text.
- Writing your Precis
Start constructing your precis and make sure you compress the text by using shorter sentences and cutting out redundancy. Make sure you keep a word count of your precis. It should be 1/4th of the main text. The four main points to remember while constructing your precis are:
- Add a suitable title for your precis which is in line with the content.
- It should be written in the third person.
- The text should be in indirect form.
- Use appropriate past tense.
- Review your Precis
Reread your precis multiple times and check for errors or grammatical mistakes. Compare it with the original text and check if both the compositions exhibit the same themes and convey the exact message. In the end, add the number of words used in your precis in a bracket.
Qualities of a Good precis
What are the parameters to judge a precis writing? The following are some attributes that describe a good precis.
- Accurate and Precise
- Clear and coherent
- Well connected
- A suitable title
Essential rules for a good Precis Writing
After understanding how to write a precis, let’s look at a few tips that can help you ace your precis.
- Keep the text terse and up to the point.
- Use shorter words. For example, use ‘because’ instead of ‘owing to’, use ‘although’ instead of ‘in spite of the fact that, etc.
- Make sure your text is lucid to understand. Avoid using jargon and complex sentences.
- Retain the core of the text.
- Your text should be a miniature reflection of the original text and should state the correct facts and figures.
Points to Avoid for Precis Writing
Precis writing can be complicated since you need to cut down all points that aren’t important. While keeping the tips in mind, avoid making the following mistakes while writing a precis.
- Do not elaborate a lot on a single point.
- Do not use your own interpretation, criticism, or assumption about the text.
- Do not copy sentences from the original text or use abbreviations.
- Do not break the flow of events and keep the text well connected.
Example of Precis Writing
Here is an example of precis writing with solution:
The basic core of evolution – survival, and reproduction- has been proven over and over through our various behavioral patterns. Let’s retrograde and explore what are some exciting concepts that have been performed by humans before us and how did it occur.
Almost every organism has the tendency to react to certain stimuli for survival. This reaction to each and every situation has an evolutionary basis of adaptation. The study of human emotions dates back to the 19th century and psychologists have since then discovered many reasons for every emotion, yet these are just theories. The arousal of emotions and their assumed structures is said to occur due to repeated encounters with a situation followed by the adaptation of the encounter. Human emotions have been linked to adaptively regulate emotion-gathering mechanisms. The emotion of fear which is associated with ancient parts of the brain has presumably evolved among our pre-mammal ancestors while the emotion of a mother’s love called the ‘filial emotion’ has seen to evolve among early mammals. Various emotions work as manipulative strategies that favours survival. Feigning emotions by an accused person may help him be saved from the punishment. An exaggerated display of anger is also associated with manipulating or threatening someone.
Despite there being several emotions for various events, ironically the most interesting emotion is the emotion of disgust. Disgust is aroused when the body senses a danger to the immunity or the physiology of the human. The disgusted memory is associated with alerting the brain of a potentially dangerous substance. A few studies have shown that the encoding triggered in adaptive memory for problems is stronger than any other behaviour. This makes us instantly have a disgusted expression at the sight of something that makes us uncomfortable or uneasy. These expressions are also closely linked to self-protective communication.
Title: Human Evolution and Emotions
The emotions that humans express and react to stimuli in the environment have an evolutionary basis. Emotions are assumed to be a result of repeated encounters with a certain event.
According to evolution, emotions like fear, love, feigning, anger, and disgust are results of consistent reactions in particular situations. Some expressions are often built up or adapted as a form of self-protection.
Hope you are now well prepared to prepare a well-composed precis. Make sure you keep practicing which will help you learn new skills and help you become confident while writing. If you wish to learn creative writing, reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu who will find the best course that can equip you with the knowledge and skills. Sign up for a free session.