Rules of Precis Writing

Following are the rules of precis writing.

1) Read the given passage carefully at least three times in order to be able to grasp what the writer has said.

2) Underline the important points to be included in your precis. A point is important if it is intimately connected with the main subject and if it is essential for a clear exposition of the theme.

3) Use your own language in the precis. While and phrases from the original may be used in the precis. Whole sentences should never be lifted out of the original to be included in it.

4) The precis should be roughly one-third of the original passage. Always prepare a rough draft first and count the words. If you find that it is too long, shorten it by removing what seems essential and by condensing phraseology. If it turns out to be too short, read the original to see what more can be added to the precis.

5) Examples, illustrations, and comparisons should be left out of the precis. Figures of speech should be removed and the ideas expressed in clear, direct language.

6) Your own comments on the ideas of the precis are absolutely forbidden. Do not express any opinion, favorable or unfavorable, about the ideas in the original passage.

7) Be very careful about the language you write. Mistakes of and spelling are penalized as much in the precis as in other forms of composition.

8) See that your precis is a readable piece of and that its ideas can be understood even by a person who has not gone through the original. This is very important.

9) Your precis should be connected whole. As such it should not be divided into paragraphs. ( THIS RULE DOES NOT APPLY TO VERY LONG ORIGINAL PIECES OF WRITING SUCH AS THOSE SET IN COMPETITIVE EXAMINATIONS).

10) Don’t use the direct form of speech in precis. If the author has written in the first person pronoun using “I” and “my”, you should write in thethird person pronoun: “he” and “his”.

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