Art of Precis writing

Greetings to all readers…

What is précis writing?

Précis writing involves summarizing a document/report to extract the maximum amount of information and then transmit this information to a reader in the minimum number of words.

Key qualities for précis writing:

  1. Completeness – Should have the core content without omitting the facts and data
  2. Compactness – Brevity is the basis of good précis writing. Brevity should not be achieved at the cost of clarity.
  3. Clarity – Avoid circumlocution and equivocal statement
  4. Coherence – All sentences should follow one after another in a sequence or natural order till the close.

Steps to effective précis writing:

  1. Identify the reader and purpose of the précis
    1. Investigate how much detail should be included and how formal the précis need to be
  2. Read the original document
    1. Do a skim read to focus on the main ideas of a text
  3. Highlight key ideas and concepts
    1. Identify the key intention and viewpoint of the Para or text
  4. Title theme of the passage
    1. Title should reflect the central idea of the passage
  5. Write a note-form summary of each paragraph
    1. Try to sum up and omit all irrelevant elements
  6. Write the précis
    1. Paraphrase the summarised points into coherent sentences.
    1. Eliminate redundancy
  7. Review and edit
    1. Compare your original document and the précis document
    1. Verify if the authors message is retained and not diverged
    1. Ensure the précis is readable, concise and coherent

Hope the above points would benefit the readers to get an overall idea on precis writing skill.

Would be glad to wrap up with a quote…

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

–Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades

Written by: Arun Velayudhan


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