Comprehension and Precis Writing
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Qualities of a Good Précis
Précis is a synonym for “Summary” means gist or substance of a longer passage. Précis is originally a French word and in French, when précis is used as a noun it means “Summary” and when it is used as an adjective, it means “accurate”. Therefore a précis is a precise and accurate summary. A précis includes all the important or main points of the passage and express them as clearly and in a few words as possible. In reality, it aims at testing the reading comprehension and wining skill of a person.
Colon and Pink
“Giving the essentials in the fewest words, in fact it reminds
Us of mathematician’s definition of a straight line as the shortest
Distance between two points.” (Colon and pink)
The Object of précis writing:-
The object or purpose of making précis of a long passage is to save the time. A busy officer, who has no time to go through wordy statement, can have important ideas in the form of a summary. Thus while making a summary, the writer must keep in mind the reader whose only chance of reading and understanding the salient points of the passage will be through précis. The object of précis writing is ‘that a reader can understand the meaning of few lines and can express the essence in his own words.
Qualities of a Good précis:-
A good précis must give all the salient points of the original passage so that the reader would lose almost nothing by reading the précis only.
A good précis must have at least the following qualities.
- Separation of ideas
- Writer’s own word
- Original thoughts
It is the quality which gives the précis its name. it is an activity of expressing a lot of information in few words. It means a précis should be brief. There should not be unnecessary words, figures of speech, and repetition of ideas should be avoided. Unimportant details and minor points should be left out.
A good précis is always brief as well complete. It should contain all the important points of the original passage. If any essential point of the passage is missed or omitted, the précis would be incomplete and defective.
Clear thinking brings clear writing. Therefore, a writer must make sure what he means. Like all clear writings, the précis should be so clear that a reader might read it without any difficulty.
The précis should be complete and self-contained. It means that each part of précis i.e. each sentence should flow into the next. It should be a connected whole, and should not leave an impression on the reader that it is merely a series of disjointed sentence. The précis should not be sketchy. It should be complete and should contain all that is Important in the original. Précis should give the leading thought and the general impression of the passage summarized. There are certain connectors which help to join the different parts together.
- First of all
- On the other hand
The précis should be error free. It means the writer of the précis should possibly avoid the orrors of grammar, spelling, punctuation etc.
A good précis is always written in easy and simple language. It should be written so simply that an average reader may also understand it without any extra effort.
7) Separation of ideas:-
A good précis always distinguishes the important and un-important ideas. It separates both the ideas clearly.
8) Writer’s own words:-
A good précis is always written in writer’s own words. He should avoid borrowing words from the original passage.
9) Original thought:-
A good précis should give the leading thought or the original passage. It should express only that thing which is original.
It is also the main quality of a good précis that it should be brief and there should be no use of unnecessary words.
11) Elimination of Redundancy:-
A good précis should be free from the element of repetition of words. If writer finds so, he should eliminate
Rules or Technique of Precis Making
Rules or Technique of Précis Making:-
The steps involved in making a précis.
- Careful reading
- Under line the important points
- First or discovery draft
- Final draft
- Length of perfect précis
- Your own words
- Avoid by giving opinion
- Thirds person
- Indirect form
- No change in meaning
- Order can be changed
- A paragraph
- Check and revised
Read the passage carefully again and again until you understand the meaning of the paragraph. If you’re read the paragraph carelessly, you cannot follow the main idea of the passage.
Prepare the writer for writing. After giving the first reading to the original passage, the writer is to deicide, why the author has written this passage. This will give the reader a clear idea of what is required to be précised.
Under line the important points:-
After the second reading, central idea should be disbanded from the original passage and the important ideas or key-sentences should be underlined excluding all examples, explanations and data etc.
First or discovery draft:-
After the development of the final set of notes, the writer is fully equipped for writing the first draft. Here, all the important ideas will be extracted into brief notes. This first draft is actually a discovery draft.
With the first draft before you, read the passage then. If you have omitted any essential points, include that point and make the final copy or your précis.
Length of perfect précis:-
The length of précis should be approximately only one third of the original passage.
Your own words:-
A précis should be written in your own words and avoid to borrow words from the original passage.
Avoid by giving opinion:-
While writing a summary you should avoid including you own opinion.
It should be noted that précis is a always written in third person.
A précis should be written only in the indirect form. If you will write in direct form, it will not be correct.
No change in meaning:-
While making précis you should not change the meaning of the passage. If there is a change in the meanings, it will make the précis incorrect.
Order can be changed:-
While making a précis you can change the order of thoughts, there is no prohibition for it.
A précis is written in the shape of a paragraph.
Check and revised:-
Mater writing the précis you should check and revise and curtail the length, if necessary.
After revision you should read the précis that it possesses all the essential qualities or not.