Precis Writing tips

Precis

Précis Writing

In this busy world where people are overburdened with a good pressure of work, the art of Precis writing can stand in good stead to express our views in brief.

Précis writing means just seizing the essential points of a story and putting them together in clear and readable shape.

– GUY N. POCOCK

Précis is to be written in 1/3 words of the original passage or paragraph in your own words. You are suggested that you should pour the author’s thought not yours in the précis without any unnecessary trimmings.

Keep in mind the following Tricks to compress the Idea of the passage:

1.       Compression by Vocabulary

a)      One word for many words including Phrases, Idioms, One word Substitution

  • Jawahar Lal Nehru was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was a man of letters. He always saw the bright side of all things.

Précis:

  • Jawahar Lal Nehru- a scholarly optimistic person – was born of a rich family.

2.       Compression by Omission including Verbosity (using more words than required), Circumlocution (round-about statement), Pleonasm (use of Superfluous Words), Tautology (pointless repetition), Figures of Speech (Decorative Speech)

  • On hearing the news that my project had been approved without any objection, my joy knew no bound and started dancing without noticing the presence of the public.

Précis:

I became euphoric on hearing the new of my project being approved without any objection.

  • The child asked his mother where his father had gone. His mother told him that his father had gone to a land from where no traveler returns.

Précis:

On being asked about his father, the child’s mother told him of his (father’s) death.

  •  With regard to whether he is to be married to the girl or not, I would like to say that he is not a candidate who can be a better match for her.

Précis:

To me, he is not a better match for the girl for marriage.

  • You are kindly requested to return back home by 12 as I want to see it with my own eyes whether it really suits you or not.

Précis:

I request you to return home by 12 so as to see whether it suits you.

  • Without any exaggeration, Tipu Sultan fought with his enemy as bravely as a lion.

Précis:

Tipu Sultan fought with his lion very bravely.

Construction by Shorter Construction

To learn this, you should learn the art of Synthesizing sentences.

  • I don’t know where I should go in this night which is dark enough and which can cause anybody’s blood to run cold.

Précis:

I don’t know where to go in this dark, horrible night.

Now see the following worked out examples:

There was a dog who was crossing a stream. He had a piece of bone in his mouth. He saw his image in the stream. He took it for another dog. He opened his mouth to bark. The bone fell from his mouth into the water.

Précis:

A dog, with a piece of bone in his mouth, was crossing the stream when, on seeing his own image, he opened his mouth to bark and lost the piece of bone.

Sir Issac Newton, after deep meditation, discovered that there was a law in nature called attraction, by virtue of which every particle of matter that the world is  composed of draws towards itself every other particle of matter with a force which is proportionate to its mass and distance.

Précis:

Sir Issac Newton discovered the law of gravitation which accounts for the attraction of all material bodies towards each other.

Example – 1

Speech is a great blessing, but it can also be a great curse, for while it helps us to make our intentions and desires known to our fellows, it can also, if we use it carelessly, make our attitude completely misunderstood. A slip of the tongue, the use of an unusual word, or of an ambiguous word, and so on, may create an enemy where we hoped to win a friend. Again, different classes of people use different vocabularies, and the ordinary speech of an educated man may strike to an uneducated listener from what it does to men of our own class. Thus speech is not a gift to use lightly without thought, but one which demands careful handling; only a fool will express himself alike to all kinds and conditions of men.

(151 words)

Let us proceed in the manner we have been talking about to make a good précis of it. What does the passage deal with? The first reading will give you the answer: the writer is talking about speech being both a blessing and a curse.

What are the key words, clauses, and sentences? When you read the passage again, you will underline the following: “Speech is a great blessing but it can also be a curse….” “….different classes of people use different vocabulary….’ And ‘Thus speech is not a gift to sue lightly without though but one which demands careful handling….”

What are the main points? We may jot down the following:

(1)    Speech is a great blessing.

(2)    It can be a curse if we do not use it carefully.

(3)    Words do not always convey the same meaning to all people.

Now if you put these points in continuous form in your own words your précis should read something as follows:

Speech is a valuable gift, but if we are to make ourselves understood, it should be used carefully, since we may distort our meaning not only by a careless use of words, but by ignoring the fact that words do not always mean the same thing to all people.

(49 Words)

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