A brief summary of a book, article, speech, or other text. Plural:precis.
The basic characteristics of an effective precis are conciseness,clarity, completeness, unity, and coherence.
How to Write a Précis
A Precis is a summary. Precis writing is a very useful exercise. Most of us read carelessly. Precis writing gives training in careful reading. Precis writing is regarded as a very important kind of composition because it develops one's capacity to discriminate between the essential and the inessential.
Steps involved in making of a precis:
1. The first step is to read the original passage quickly to get a general idea of what it is all about.
2. The answer to the question "what is this passage about?" will suggest the title to be given to the Precis. Even if the original passage does not have a title, the Precis should be given a suitable one.
3. The next step is to read the passage again, this time slowly and carefully, picking out the salient points. It would be helpful to write down the important points, in the order in which they appear in the passage.
4. The next step is to prepare a rough draft.
5. In preparing the draft, care should be taken to retain only the main ideas. What is merely subsidiary or explanatory or ornamental, should be discarded. Hence quotations, anecdotes, examples, illustrations, metaphors, similes and other figure of speech should be deleted. Care should be taken to avoid such things while writing Precis.
6. Generally, the order in which ideas appear in the original passage may be preserved. But they should be rearranged, if a rearrangement will contribute substantially to logic coherence, clarity or elegance.
7. If no particular length is specified, the Precis should be about one-third in length of the original passage.
8. The precis should not contain ideas that are not found in the original passage.
9. The Precis should not be a patchwork of phrases and clauses taken from the original passage. It should be written in the Precis-writer's own words so that it will have the texture of an original composition. The reader should not even suspect that it is a Precis.
10. The Precis should be written in the third person even if the original is in the first person.
11. If any portion of the passage is in Direct Speech, it should be condensed and changed into Indirect Speech.
12. The draft should be read carefully to make sure that there are no errors, and that the length is correct. Whatever alterations that may be necessary should be made.
13. When the draft has been perfected, it should be copied out neatly, under the title that has already been chosen.