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How to Do a Rhetorical Precis: Important Guidelines

How to Do a Rhetorical Precis: Important Guidelines

By StudentShareRelease Year: 2019

Learn the Right Way to Do a Rhetorical Precis – Best Advice

Doing a precis of an article is not easy. One has to be very insightful to be able to analyze the content and understand everything in depth critically. Only then can a good precis be written.

You are probably having a tough time trying to do a precis. But don’t worry. We provide you with guidelines that will help you make a precis of any article you want. There are certain basic rules you have to respect. Once you learn the approach, you’ll find the competence to do a good precis within you.

To make a rhetorical precis, it’s vital that you are clear on the goals and quality of the content of the article. Therefore, reading the article until you fully understand it can’t be stressed enough. Try these guidelines, and you’ll be all set to do a wonderful precis without anyone’s assistance:

  • Start by carefully reading the original piece.
  • Even if it takes going through the entire article several times, it’s worth it.
  • Keep a notepad with you so you can take notes of the main arguments and points.
  • Take a good look at the supporting material or evidence used by the article’s author.
  • If you discover any unfamiliar material in the article, do research it.
  • You should fully comprehend all definitions, words, statements, and data used in the article.
  • Try to find out the appeals that the author has used.
  • Evaluate the process of conveyance of meaning by the author.
  • Reiterate the article’s thesis in your own words.
  • Divide the article into sections and summarize each in one to two sentences.
  • The right precis format starts with information of the author, the statement of the thesis, summary, and culminates with an evaluation of the evidence.
  • Try to narrate the synopsis to yourself before starting to write the actual precis for clarity of understanding.
  • After you have written the precis, go through the whole article one more time to ensure that you have covered all the main points and haven’t missed out any important information.

Many students are not clear how to write a precis. But it seems more difficult than it actually is. It’s all about how well you can understand the content, critically analyze it, and convey it to the audience without infusing your personal opinions or bias in it.

As you start writing the precis, first paraphrase the article’s thesis and make one to two sentence statements. Read your statements and ensure that they identify the evidence. It is critically important to write a logically constructed precis. There should not be any jumps, left-out content, or unexplained things in the precis. While trying to make it brief and concise, make sure that the reader finds coherence between progressive ideas, and has a smooth reading experience of your precis.

You’ll find a perfect precis example in this article as well. Read it carefully so that you get the gist of precis making. Find some interesting articles over the Internet and try to write their precis in the same way.

What Is a Precis – Is It a Summary of the Text?

Many students don’t know how to write it. One reason for this is that teachers don’t sufficiently train the students for this kind of writing work. Accordingly, the students basically have no idea what is a precis.

Have you ever wondered what the precis meaning is? The word has a French origin, and its meaning is ‘a summary.’ As you try to write the summary, you have to ensure that all essential ideas of the passage are preserved in the precis. It is essential to know the specification and peculiarities of a precis before starting to write one.

If you ask someone to define precis, he/she might say that the article summarizes that it’s about. But that’s not true. While a precis does contain a summary of the article, it offers its complete unbiased analysis by the writer as well. So a summary only makes a part of the precis.

You might confuse it with commentary as well. No, it’s not even that. A commentator is free to insert his/her personal opinions about the situation or article as well. However, in precis writing, it’s important to avoid giving personal opinions. All points the writer makes have to be grounded in facts. The writer takes points from the original text and constructs logical rhetoric to elaborate on the meaning of the author, but makes sure that he/she stays unbiased in the analysis.

A precis writer helps the audience understand the real meaning of the article. It’s a significant field of writing because it helps increase the comprehension and thus, the readership of an article. Many times, articles are written very formally or technically. It is difficult for a common man to really grasp the writer’s meaning. In such cases, writing a precis helps produce an informative article for the readers so that they can understand the writer well.

How to Write a Rhetorical Precis – Things to Consider

Before you even begin to write it, it’s important to not only go through the article but also understand every word of it. You should be aware of what kind of language the writer used in the article, the purpose it served, the goal the writer wanted to achieve by producing the article, and its targeted audience. The points below will help you learn how to write a rhetorical precis. It’s a step-by-step process. You need to complete each step before moving over to the next. They include:

  • Reading the article.
  • Making notes.
  • Building the precis outline
  • Writing the precis.
  •  Proofreading.

How to Do Quick Yet Effective Reading for Precis

This is the most time-consuming step. At the same time, it’s the most important as well. It might take reading a whole book to write even one precis paragraph. But there’s a way to go through this process quickly. If you can manage, and you have that kind of time – nothing like reading the whole book. But if you have to do as much reading as possible in a limited time, some sections demand more attention as compared to the others.

Let’s take the task of reading a book, for example. The first thing you should do is read the cover page and the back page. Have a good look at the cover design, and try to understand the theme. Then read the brief summary written at the back cover and have a second look at the cover. This will help you attain a basic understanding of the content.

Then look at the table of contents. Read the titles of all the chapters, and try to create a synopsis in your mind. The initial, middle, and ending chapter is the most important, so try to read them in full. For the rest, you may skim through the book, attempting to make the most out of your reading.

Points to Ponder While Creating a Precis Outline

The first step in the process of making a precis is the development of an outline. A good outline gets the writer started in the right direction. It also makes the process of precis development structured as you know exactly what information to look for in the article. Here are some points you must take care of while developing your rhetorical precis outline:

  • Create the outline knowing that the complete precise will be roughly a quarter of the length of the original article.
  • Things that must be included – the author’s thesis, methods of representation used by the author, and results derived from it.
  • Summarize the article concisely.

The main purpose of assigning the task of producing a precis of an article to the students is to polish their critical thinking skills. The teachers want to enable the learners to do the rhetorical analysis of articles. The students learn how to differentiate between crucial and less important information in an article and how to highlight the main ideas. And of course, the learning fostered by looking at an article this deeply cannot be achieved otherwise.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Precis

A good precis enables the readers to rightly guess the content and meaning of the original article even if they have not yet read its abstract. Teachers generally elaborate on the rhetorical precis format that the students are supposed to follow. Nevertheless, it’s important to know what to do and what to deter while writing your precis. Here are a few essential guidelines:

  • Don’t look at precis as a re-writing of the original article. Rather than telling the core essence of the article, it summarizes the main ideas so that the readers learn about the article’s worth and significance.
  • Do explain the structure and main points of the article.
  • Don’t evaluate the content or give your own reactions to the content.
  • Do talk about the value offered by the piece of writing to the audience.
  • Don’t interpret the original article.
  • Do try to limit the size of your precis to a quarter of the original article, unless otherwise specified.
  • Don’t use words that form part of the original article verbatim or precise in a sentence. Try to substitute them with their synonyms.
  • Do include some quotes from the article if necessary.
  • Don’t use a first-person pronoun, i.e. ‘I’ or ‘we’ in the precis.

Here’s a Good Precis Sample – Try to Write Like This

You can come up with an excellent precis using the guidelines provided in this article. However, there’s nothing like a good sample to really get to the bottom of this skill. Therefore, we provide you with a precis sample here:

Micheal D. Floor, Associate Professor of English Literature from the Dunhill University, in his article “The Silent Mountains” (1999) proposes that Nisa Truce wanted Charlotte Gemb to climb up the mountain that Nisa had envisioned in a dream. Micheal used this novel as a means to propagate the idea that places seen in dreams can exist in real life, even though one may not have ever seen or heard about it. Charlotte climbs up the hill following Nisa’s suggestion and finds a note written on a tree trunk at the top reading “the line between fantasy and reality is thin” (202). Michael has written several books on dreams including After the Lights Turn Off and In the Dark and his purpose of writing this book is to teach an understanding in the readers that dreams need to be reiterated, interpreted, and understood since they have hints for the future. Michael interests his audience by conveying his message using a dramatic plot.

The above sample will have given you a good idea of what is a rhetorical precis. If you notice, it has all the elements that typically form part of a precis. The precis is absolutely free of any personal opinions of the writer.

It starts with a mention of the author of the article together with his profession, and the title of the article that is used for writing the precis. Facts and evidence substantiate all points. For example, the writer knows the names of the books the author has previously written and that they are oriented around the theme of dreams. Alongside, the precis sums up the entire plot in three to four lines to generate a quick summary.

Try to be as concise and to-the-point while writing the precis as possible. Each sentence and word of your precis should be carefully selected to convey the most meaning to the readers with the use of the least number of words. Its conciseness, to-the-point analysis, and evidence-based discussion make it an excellent rhetorical precis example. Want to get an original precis written? Order it here.

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  • How to Do a Rhetorical Precis: Important Guidelines
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