Tips for writing a refined and neat Precis

Precis Writing is an art which provides us the complete information about a given passage along with the basic concepts and important points mentioned or discussed. It clearly states the idea behind the occurrence of a particular passage in a condensed form. Although precis writing appears to be a quick and easy topic but it is as typical as emptying a sea by filling buckets and pouring outside. Following are the rules for providing a refined and neat 'Precis.'

Meaning of the term Precis Writing

'Precis Writing' is a form of a summary of an article or given passage which is intertwined in such a way that it connects the basic idea of the passage to the main theme, main characters ( if present) and all the important points of the passage. It is always written in simple language without using any slang or any kind of abusive language.

Here, I would like to point out a very important point that the main theme of a passage is the central idea of the passage which is governing it hence it will be a single idea which is conveyed throughout the passage whereas the important points of a passage may be different for each paragraph as there may be a number of important points which a person shouldn't miss while writing a precis.

Components of Precis

Precis should be all-embracing

With the term 'all-embracing,' I simply mean that a precis should include and cover all the important points conveyed throughout the passage. It should be comprehensive in nature and should cover the main theme, important points, the purpose of the passage and a proper inference.

Precis should be in continuity

A precis should be written in such a way that all the components and sentences should appear intertwined like a thread. It shouldn't appear broken or tampered from any place. In case, it happens the reader would be distracted fro the precis and it will become worthless. Hence all the sentences should follow a well-maintained structure throughout the precis.

Precis should Point well on the target

Precis should be written in a way that it portrays or targets on the main theme and hidden agenda of the given article or the passage. It must not be a critical appreciation or a personal view of a person. It this is done it won't be precise anymore.

It should be error- free

A precis shouldn't contain any kind of slang or improper word that could give a cheap or vulgar impact. It should also not contain any kind of literary devices including comparison, simile or any ornamental language. It this is done it will appear like an original piece of work rather than a precis.

Length of a Precis

This is the most important point that should be kept in mind while writing a precis. A precis should not be more than one- third of the original passage or article provided.

Title of the Precis

The second most important point of a precis is that the title chosen for the precis should portray the basic concept and the central idea of the passage. It should be between three to five words and should be linked with the main theme and the main characters (if present). It should also point towards the important ideas of the given passage.

Important Points To Be Followed

There are certain important points which should be kept in mind while writing a precis. If these points are overlooked, then the decency of the precis will tamper. The points are
  1. A precis should always be written in third person narrative. Hence one should focus upon the rules of indirect speech and the adverbial conversion in the same. It will help the writer in being more precise and accurate.
  2. There should be a proper use of Grammar. Any ambiguity in grammar will lead to distortion of the passage.
  3. No literary devices, poetic devices, quotations, Proverbs, idioms and phrases should be used. This will convert it into a copied text.
  4. All the typical and hard vocabulary words should be replaced by simpler synonyms which could help the reader in understanding the gist of the passage easily.
  5. Precis writing is different from Note- Making; hence abbreviations and contractions should be completely avoided.


All the points discussed above completely state that writing a precis is a complete grammar-based and its rule should be followed with accuracy to give an absolute blend of the main theme, central idea, important points of a given passage.

Precis thus requires a complete and thorough reading of the passage and underlining the important themes and points simultaneously so that they could be brushed up well to provide a completely intertwined and condensed precis.

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Author: Umesh23 Jul 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Précis writing is definitely an art as one has to compress the whole thing in a few sentences without changing the central meaning of the original contents in the essay or article. Some people read the article para wise and go on writing one or two sentences for each para and finish it by saying that they have written an effective précis. I do not agree with this approach. The better way is to read the passage a few times and then ponder about the issue, what the author is hammering at and what is the theme of the essay. Once that is clear then we can rewrite those concepts in our own language without changing the meaning of the whole thing as envisaged in the original essay. Once the précis is completed it is necessary to read it to comprehend whether it means the same thing as the original article. If not then correction would be required to be made.

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