A rhetorical précis is a form of writing that summarizes a text by another author or even a spoken disclosure. It includes the summary and analysis of the content and how it is delivered. Perhaps, you’re still asking, what is precis? This is understandable because not many learners are asked to write it.
A précis is highly structured with a four-sentence paragraph comprising the analysis and summary. Each of these sentences has specific information.
A precis writer uses brief quotations to effectively convey the tone and sense of style of the author. They also include bibliographic reference terminally. Practicing the art of précis writing can foster precision in writing and reading. Thus, learning how to write a rhetorical précis can teach you to use different sentence structures to come up with a meaningful, brief piece.
Rhetorical Précis Meaning
People may define précis differently. However, the most commonly used précis meaning is that of a 4-sentence paragraph recording the most essential elements of another person’s text. So, if asked to define précis, say that it’s a four-sentence paragraph that critically summarizes and analyzes another person’s work.
A précis summarizes the original content. It reveals the original text meaning while explaining its value. The write-up should be a quarter of the original content’s length. It should follow the standard format. It should present the thesis of the author, the methods used in its representation, results, and then the conclusion.
Perhaps, considering the characteristics of this document can make understanding this précis definition better. Keep in mind that rhetorical essay is something completely different. A properly written précis paragraph has the following characteristics.
- Correctness – This means the paragraph is free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. It also has accurate figures, facts, and dates.
- Clarity – A properly written précis example is easy to understand. It conveys the intended message in the right structure and language.
- Objectivity – This means the write-up depicts candid information construal. It does not include the opinion of the writer.
- Conciseness – This means that the write-up is free of unnecessary details. The writer ensures that no essential factors are avoided or crowded with unnecessary words. They avoid repetitions, wateriness, and wordy expressions.
This probably clears the air for people that may have still been asking, what is a précis? Nevertheless, it’s also crucial to learn how to compose this write-up because a rhetorical précis definition alone might not be enough.
How to Write a Précis
The most important thing to note when it comes to writing a précis is that this task is not about re-writing the original piece. It’s about writing a short, quick summary of the original work. And, the basic précis format is very simple. It comprises the following:
- First Sentence – This presents the author’s name, title, and genre of their work. The author uses rhetorically correct verbs like “argue”, “assert”, “imply”, and “clam”. It also includes the clause with the main assertion or thesis statement of the original work. Essentially, this sentence answers that WHAT questions.
- Second Sentence – The second sentence of a critical précis explains the development and evidence used by the author to support and/or develop their thesis. This should be done chronologically. Thus, this sentence answers the HOW question since it tells the readers how the author of the original work prove the stated thesis using interviews, anecdotes, and official data, among other methods.
- Third Sentence – In this sentence, you state the purpose of the author followed by the “in order” phrase. This sentence should answer the WHY question. Tell the readers why the author composed the text. Do they want to persuade, entertain, or inform you?
- Fourth Sentence – This part of an essay, paper, or book précis should tell readers about the intended audience. It can also explain the established relationship between the author and the audience. Essentially, this sentence answers the WHO question. for instance, is the author talking to senior citizens, teachers, parents, registered voters, Latinos, or Muslims? Also, this sentence should tell readers whether the audience is addressed formally using proper English and academic language, or informally using slang or a conversational tone.
Now that you know what is a rhetorical precis and how a rhetorical précis format looks like, we can move on to the writing process.
How to Write a Précis Step by Step
The process of composing this write-up starts with a careful reading of the original work and research. You should also understand the rhetorical précis rubric before you start the actual writing. Here are the major steps to follow.
- Research by reading the original piece and analyzing a good example of rhetorical précis.
- Specify the core arguments and points of the original work.
- Analyze the evidence that the author provides in the original work.
- Research new information about statements, definitions, data, words, etc.
- Identify specific appeals that the author uses in the original work.
- Evaluate how the meaning is conveyed in the original work.
- Restate the original work’s thesis.
- Compose a summary of 1 to 2 sentences of every section of the original work.
- Compose a summary using your words.
- Read the original work again and compare it with the summary.
Once you’ve done that, come up with a rhetorical précis outline. This should guide you in presenting the summary in four sentences. Make sure that your précis outline will enable you to present your summary in four, concise, and precise sentences.
Once you’ve created an outline, compose the write-up. Paraphrase everything to make the write-up unique. After writing, review it alongside the outline. Make sure that you have included all relevant information and explained all the major points. Your write-up should also present the evidence that you identified without losing the logical structure. Also, check the write-up for correctness, clarity, and coherence.
Use a Precis Template
The internet is awash with templates that can be used to compose this write-up. Looking at a good rhetorical précis example can make you wonder how it differs from a college essay. Essentially, this write-up has an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. The only difference is that these sections are very short or brief and they include specific information. Use a good template to know the information that should go to different sections. For instance:
- The introduction is a single sentence with the author’s name, original piece title, publishing date, power verbs, and your thesis.
- The body should provide the author’s purpose, evidence, and ideas. Note that the arguments of the author can’t be interpreted from your viewpoint. Only the stand of the author on the issue should be analyzed.
- Quotes can be used in the body but they should be brief.
- The conclusion should restate the main work’s main idea. It should be a summary without personal statements regarding the original work.
This article has answered what is rhetorical précis question. It has also elaborated on the definition of précis and provided a guideline for writing it. But, if you find this write-up difficult to complete, use a sample as your guide. Also, use a template to help you determine where to present the information. You can find a good sample précis and template for free online or get it from our academic writers. This combined with this guide should make composing this write-up easy.