What is a Precis?
A precis is a summarizing method in which the author maintains the meaning, proportions, and tone of the original text. In other words, precis refers to a summary of a reading one has completed. Writing a precis requires a lot of work, starting with reading and brainstorming on other people’s work.
The length of a precis is not strictly defined and as such, it can vary greatly. In most cases, a precis is 100 to 200 words long or approximately, it takes one-fifth or one-sixth of the original reading’s size.
Even though this is basically a summary, there’s a difference between the two terms. In summaries, the writers cover the main points of the text in a more succinct manner, while in precis, the size of the content is at least 1/3 of the total words from the original content.
To be more, a summary takes a broader approach toward the main events and is more generalized. Precis writing, on the other hand focuses on details and analyzes the situations more thoroughly.
What is a Rhetorical Precis?
A rhetorical precis is an analytical, less neutral summary of the content, as well as methods found in the original text. If summary is a brief representation of the original text, this is a representation of two things – what’s said and done in the original text.
Generally speaking, summaries are far more widely used and assigned than rhetorical precis. Even so, chances are you’ll be asked to write at least one precis during your studies, which makes it crucial for you as a student to learn how to write a rhetorical precis.
This is a type of academic writing that recapitulates the main arguments, ideas, and points of the selected work. In it, the primary goal of the author is to provide the most accurate details about the text in question. In a couple of paragraphs, precis writing must analyze the text itself, as well as the delivery of written discourse, all while answering questions such as ‘’how’’, ‘’what’’, and ‘’why’’.
Rhetorical Precis Structure
Academically speaking, the rhetorical precis structure includes the following elements:
- Body paragraphs
Basically, it has an essay structure where the introduction ends with a thesis statement, and the body paragraphs summarize the main arguments and concepts.
If you want to learn how to write a rhetorical precis, one essential thing to know is the widely-accepted, 4-part structure of this assignment. A four sentence precis is basically a guide that helps you include the four key elements this assignment requires. They are:
- First sentence includes: name of the author, date in parenthesis, title of the work, a rhetorical verb, and a that clause (one that contains the thesis statement of your work).
- Second sentence gives an explanation of how you supported and developed the thesis statement i.e. your that clause claim.
- Third sentence gives a statement of your purpose and uses an ‘’in order’’ phrase.
- Fourth sentence describes the relationship of the author with the intended audience.
How to Write a Rhetorical Precis? Step by Step Guide
If you haven’t written this type of paper before, you probably have no idea how to start a precis – or finish it afterward. This is why we’ve created a short guide, a list of steps that will help students understand how to write a rhetorical precis.
Step 1: Introductory paragraph
The introduction of a rhetorical precis starts with an attention-grabbing, summary-like statement. The following sentences, usually one or two, provide the central claims presented by the author, as well as the context of the composition. Lastly, the final sentence is the thesis statement where the writer includes a that clause.
Step 2: Summary paragraph
In many cases, a rhetorical precis template also has a summary paragraph that fits between the introduction and first body paragraph. Some consider this to be part of the body of the precis. Anyways, this section highlights the paper’s main concepts from a more practical perspective, usually in a chronological order. The idea is to provide a short overview of the paper.
Step 3: Body paragraphs
If you check any quality rhetorical precis example, you’ll see that they always include at least 3 body paragraphs. In every paragraph, the author discusses one of the main points. These paragraphs are connected with transitions and end with statements that add to the central claim. This is what we call ‘’the sandwich rule’’.
Step 4: Conclusion paragraph
The conclusion of this assignment starts by restating the thesis statement. But, if you check a rhetorical precis example, you’ll see that the thesis statement is not copied word for word. In a good conclusion, it is used to summarize the results and introduce the author’s conclusion about the original work being summarized.
Rhetorical Precis Template
To make things easier for writers, people often come up with a rhetorical precis template. What is this? This is basically a rhetorical precis example, but one where you have to fill in the gaps. To write the essay, the author still needs to evaluate the work in the selected text and fill in the gaps. Basically, you’re getting the structure.
In fact, an experienced precis writer might choose to create such a unique template on their own before they start writing the assignment. It’s a great way to outline the ideas and set forth the format and structure of the precis assignment.
How to Write a Rhetorical Precis Template
Any good precis writer will create the template in a way that structures and formats the writing accurately. This means that they’ll start by outlining the introduction, body, and conclusion. Let’s take a look at the step-by-step approach.
Step 1: Introduction template
The opening paragraph begins with a hook that will grab the attention of the reader. Depending on the source, the author can decide to use different rhetorical devices and attention-grabbing phrases. In addition to this, the paragraph includes information about the original text, as well as introduces the purpose of the article.
In the template, it’s important to follow a chronological order that sows readers how the author supports their thesis, what’s the author’s apparent purpose, and who’s their intended audience.
Step 2: Body paragraphs template
In this part, you need to given an account of any significant concepts from the source. In the first paragraph, the author usually summarizes shortly the article discussed. The next paragraphs show how the text appeals to rhetorical aspects. And of course, these must follow the sandwich rule:
- Topic sentence i.e. the main argument of the paragraph
- Supporting evidence
- Explanation of how the evidence relates to the main point
- Closing sentence that connects it with the next paragraph
Step 3: Conclusion template
Here are some tips for this part:
- Use the last sentence to connect back to the introduction i.e. the hook you used in it
- Do not copy the thesis statement
- Avoid adding new details to this part
Rhetorical Precis: Example
Now that you know how a precis should be structured, let’s see a nice example.
- Name of author (may also include a phrase that describes the author)
- Type and title of the work (date in parentheses)
- A rhetorical verb that describes the author’s work in the text
- That clause for the thesis statement
- An explanation of the author’s methods for developing or supporting the thesis
- Presented in the same chronological order as in the original work
- Statement of the author’s purpose
- An In order to phrase where you demonstrate the purpose
- Describe the intended audience
- Describe the relationship that the author establishes with his audience
What are rhetorical precis verbs?
Some common verbs used in precis writing include: argue, define, call attention to, deny, point out, show, prove, inform, suggest, disclose, persuade, convince, and report.
In addition to this, rhetorical precis papers include specific terminologies that allow the writers to respond to questions like:
- What – the response tells the readers about the source under analysis (journal article, news or magazine article, research report, book review, biography, bibliographical essay, editorial, etc.)
- How – the response tells the reader about the action that the writer took to write the precis paper. This part usually includes the aforementioned verbs such as ‘’analyze’’, ‘’assert’’, ‘’argue’’ or ‘’explain.
- Why – answered by stating the factors that led to the creation of the precis paper. In this part, the writers usually include terminologies like ‘’call attention to’’, ‘’deny’’, ‘’show’’, ‘’prove’’, ‘’point out’’, etc.
- Whom – this answer shows the readers who the target audience for the summarized text is, as well as its nature. In this case, the writers use terminologies like ‘’formal’’, ‘’casual’’, ‘’impersonal’’, ‘’informal’’, ‘’emotional’’, ‘’logical’’, ‘’humorous’’, etc.
Need Help and Support? Ask Precis Writers at A-Writer!
Writing a precis is not a simple task to do. Not only should you read someone else’s work, but you also need to evaluate it and go into details while describing it in your writing. On top of that, you need to turn your writing into a very well-structured text by using the right rhetorical verbs and phrases, connecting all paragraphs with each other, all while discussing someone else’s work.
This can be troublesome, especially if you haven’t written such a piece before. It becomes even more challenging if you don’t like or don’t understand the work of the writer of the original text. In many cases, students cannot understand the purpose or goal of the writer, which makes it impossible to craft a quality precis task.
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A rhetorical precis assignment is a type of academic writing intended to summarize another piece of text written by a different author. This assignment is given to students to teach them better research skills, allow them to analyze other people’s work, etc.
Basically, this type of work provides readers with an insight into an author’s work. The primary aim is to provide details about the issue and topic discussed in the original piece.
If all this sounds like too much of a hassle for you, which is definitely the case if you haven’t written anything similar before, you can solve your problems quickly – just hire an expert who has done hundreds of these for students just like you!