Précis Writing
Contents1、The origin of précis writing2、Definition of précis writing3、Abstract , Summary , and Précis.4、Significance of writing a précis5、Examples for writing a précis6、Steps when writing a précis
The origin of précis writing
Précis is a French word, which means ” exact” and “terse”, so in précis writing , the shorter the version, the better.
Definition of précis writing
A précis is a brief summary, written in your own words, of a longer piece of writing. It is a condensed version of the essential content of the original material. A précis contains on comments or opinions of your own. It contains no details, no examples, and no illustrations. The language should be clear and concise, with all unnecessary words left out. It should be the shortest possible account of what you have read.
Differences among an abstract , a summary and a précis.
1、 Précis: A précis is a brief statement of a speech of a piece of writing such as a report, a newspaper article ,or a chapter in a book in your own words to give only the main idea of the original.
2、Abstract: A shortened form of a statement or speech especially of a scholarly sort E.g. the abstract of a thesis; the dissertation.
3、 Summary: Short amount of something longer, giving the main points. Summary is often used loosely to refer to précis.
4、 Actually, there are subtle differences between précis and summary.
First, the précis follows the order and proportion of the material in the original, whereas the writer of the summary is ftee to change the order and proportion if he wishes to do so.
Secondly, the précis states only the thought of the original; the writer of the summary is free to interpret the material and to comment on it. Therefore, the summary is a loose type of précis.
Significance of writing a précis
Précis writing also improves your overall writing skills. It teaches you how to express your thoughts clearly, concisely and effectively. You learn to choose your words carefully and construct your sentences in a logical and concise manner.
Steps in writing a précis
1Read the passage carefully and make sure that you understand completely what the author is saying.
2Underline the main points.
3Transfer these points onto rough paper, using your own words as far as possible.
4Link up the main points into logical sentences.
5Compare your version with the text and make sure you haven’t missed any points.
6Count the number of word and make adjustments if possible.
7Make a fair copy of the finished version.
Examples for writing a précis
1Example: When he reached the restaurant, he found that his friend
had already arrived.
Cut to : At the restaurant he found his friend waiting.
2Example: Since he could not meet his brother at the airport, he sent his secretary
to replace him.
Cut to : Unable to meet his brother at the airport, he sent his secretary instead.
3、Passage précis
"Forty-two horses had taken up their position on the starting line for the greatest race of the season. The course was extremely difficult and few horses were expected to finish. All eyes were on the favourites, College Boy and Sweet Seventeen. Both horses had won a great many races in the past and they had equal chances of winning now.
Though the horses got off to a good start, it was not long before over half of them were out of the race. As was expected, College Boy and Sweet Seventeen had got well in front with the remaining horses grouped together some way behind. On a sharp corner, three of the horses leading the group fell, throwing the riders behind into great confusion. As the race progressed, the track became full of horses without riders. Towards the end, there were only three horses left: College Boy and Sweet Seventeen were still leading with an unknown horse, Tom Thum, a very long way behind. The crowd was very disappointed when on the last jump in the race. the riders of both favourite horses failed to keep the saddle. Everyone roared with delight when College Boy continued by himself and“won”the race----without his rider! Tom Thum now took his time and the crowd cheered and applauded as he crossed the finishing line without a rival in sight."
Possible answer:
As soon as the race began, the favourites, College Boy and Sweet Seventeen, went ahead. On a dangerous bend a few riders went over and most of the horses following fell out of the race. Towards the end,there were only three left: the favourites and an unknown horse, Tom Thubm. However, the riders of both favourites fell too, though College Boy continued by himself and“won”. Since Tom Thumb was now on his own, he became the real winner. (80 words)
(From L.G. Alexander, A First Book in Comprehension, Precis and Composition)
Analysis:
Points……………………………………………………………… Transition
1、 Race began …………………………………………………As soon as
2、Favorites, C.Boy, S Seventeen, ahead…………As soon as
3、Bend—rides over …………………………………………On
4、Horses following—out of race…………………… And
5、Three left:favorites, unknown ……………………Towards the end
6、Riders fell …………………………………………………However
7、C. Boy won by himself …………………………………Though
8、T. Thumb alone—real winner……………………… Since
Exercises Link
http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20101217/32778.html


References
ED, Swick. WRITING BETTER ENGLISH (Taipei: McGraw-Hill, 2006)
http://www.englishgrammar.org/preciswriting/
http://www.enableall.org/competitive-quest/English/English_PrecisWriting.html


Further reading
http://www.perfectyourenglish.com/writing/precis-writing.htm
http://www.preservearticles.com/201105136549/importance-of-clarity-of-language-in-precis-writing.html
http://lonestar.texas.net/~mseifert/precis1302.html
Website Recommended
http://www.dioenglish.com/
Hi, everyone ! This is a nice place to practice your written English by writing Miniblogs to record your life and browsing others’works.