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Steps of Writing Precis

As students, we get various homework and assignments such as writing essays, précis and writing a report. But not all of us pay complete attention to the teacher in the class. Therefore, we face difficulty in completing these assignments. But no worries because the following Steps of Writing Precis will help you tackle your précis assignment with ease.

Steps of Writing Precis

What is Precis?

The word précis is derived from the French word précis which means summary. Therefore, a précis is a concise and logical summary of a passage featuring its essential ideas solely.

Characteristics of Précis

Before we learn the steps of writing a précis, we shall know what are some characteristics of précis. The following are some of the mains characteristics of precis.

  1. A précis is shorter than the original passage.
  2. précisis the perfect reflection of facts in the original passage.
  3. A précis leaves out extra details, subordinate ideas, and illustrations of the original passage.
  4. it is writing from the original author’s point of view.
  5. In précis, we generally tend to use indirect speech.
  6. Besides, we prefer using a 3rd person pronoun.

Moreover, when you write a précis, it should fulfill the following requirements.

  1. You should include only all the important and main ideas
  2. and you should exclude the subordinate ideas and illustrations.
  3. Your précis should be one-third of the original passage.

Summary Vs Précis 

People often perceive summary and précis the same because précis literally means summary. However, there are some minor differences between both of them. Following are some of the main differences and similarities.


The main similarities between summary and précis  are below:

  • Both summary and précis are one-third of the original text.
  • and both of them are used to summarize a long passage.


They might not a lot of difference but the main ones are listed below.

  • The summary is kind of newer term whereas précis is an older term.
  • Your summary can be more than one-third of the original passage while précis has to be one-third.
  • In summary, we can write all the main points but in précis, we have write only the essential ideas.
  • Precis is always written, however, a summary can be both written and spoken.
  • The order of the original text is an important issue for précis but not for the summary.

Steps of Writing Precis

Writing a precis is not very difficult if we divide it into small chunks. So, if you follow the following steps of writing précis, you will be able to complete your precis with ease.

So, let us divide the steps of writing precis into three half.

First Half

The first half of the steps of writing precis will be based upon studying and analyzing the text.

Step 1. Read the Text

The first step of writing precis is to read the text carefully. So, take your time to go through the text. Besides, make sure you understand the author’s view and argument.

  • If you have to write precis of a novel, make sure you read it at least twice. And if it is a shorter article or text, read it at least thrice to get most out of it.
  • Skim over the chapter names, headings, and subheadings before you start reading.
  • Use a dictionary for vocabularies to learn most out of the text.

Step 2. Annotate the Text

Annotating the text means highlighting important points and making notes. Even though it isn’t a very important step, it can be very helpful in identifying what is crucial and what is not. Highlighting makes the main ideas of your text to stand out which makes it easy to include in precis.

Step 3. Restate the Thesis and summarize

The thesis is the writer’s controlling idea which backs up the entire text. Therefore, look for the thesis carefully. Once you find the author’s original thesis, restate it in your own words. 

Furthermore, divide your original passage into sections and summarize them into two to three sentences. The sections can be long or short which is totally up to you and how difficult or easy your passage is. For instance, if it is a novel you have to summarize, you can summarize each chapter with two or three sentences. 

 But if it is an article or any sort of passage, then summarizing each paragraph or two paragraphs at once will be helpful. Summarizing can help you in identifying the author’s logic for writing the text. Once you have summarized the entire passage, compare it to the original text and look for the gaps if there are any. Then, try to fill them. 

Second Half

You will write down your précis in the second half of the steps of writing précis. 

Step 4. Introduce the author, genre, and topic

While writing your précis, initially, you have to write down the author’s name, the genre of the text and the main idea or topic of the text in the first sentence. Even though it may seem like too much information, it should be written in only a sentence without too much illustration. So, you should represent it concisely. 

Step 5. Body of the Précis 

As the first sentence of precis contains the author’s name, genre, and topic, the body of the precis has three types of sentences. In the second sentence, explain how the author supports his argument or main idea. For instance, “John makes this argument by comparing the different behaviors of the Millennials and the generation Z in certain situations.”

Furthermore, the third type of sentence of your precis should present the purpose of the original text. The purpose of the text is generally what the author is trying to achieve with the passage. In order to find the “purpose” of the text, ask yourself “what the author wants the reader to think, feel, believe, or do about the main idea in order to …?”.  Remember that the author’s purpose is not usually the thesis but his motive behind writing the text. 

For instance, “John is trying to represent case studies in order to create an awareness in the reader about how Millennials and generation Z are drastically different.”

Lastly, the fourth type of sentence describes the intended reader for whom the text is written. Since the author is not directly going to tell who the audience is, you need to guess your own. For that reason, you may have to read the text once more and see who is the text addressing. 

For example, “based on the given arguments, John is trying to address an audience who understands where the generation trend is going…”

Step 6. Expand on Supporting Ideas or Conclude

Next if only needed, you can expand your supporting ideas to write a long precis. Otherwise, you can conclude your précis. To conclude, restate your thesis to provide a sentence long conclusion. Remember that you do not need to introduce any new idea as your conclusion. The conclusion is the restatement of your thesis. So, keep the conclusion of your precis concise. 

Third Half

After the third half, you are ready to hand over your précis to your professor. Usually, in the third half, all you need to do is read the précis and see if there are any gaps, spelling mistakes, grammar or tense mistakes. If you don’t have enough time to do so, you can check out the best writing services to help you get your assignments done. 

If there are not any, compare it with the original text to make sure you have presented what the author was trying to convey to his readers. Besides, you can take the help your friend and ask him to read both the original text and your precis to judge if both convey similar views. 


That is it for the steps of writing précis. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can drop us a comment down below. 

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Abida Batool

1 comment

Nishu yadav July 29, 2021 at 2:52 am

The best way of learning precis
Thank you


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