Precis Writing & Comprehension | How to Write A Precis For BA

Precis Writing & Comprehension

Precis Writing for B.A/ADP Program

Definition | Precis 

The word Precis is taken from the french word Presi. It is pronounced in English Pra-see. The word Precis means an exact, precise, and concise piece of work. According to the Oxford Dictionary A summary or abstract of a text or speech. 
It is generally defined as a summary of the given passage but is never merely a summary of a passage. There are some synonyms of the word precis, Sum, sum-up, summary, summing -up, synopsis, wrap-up, abstract, breviary, brief, capsule, digest, epitome, inventory, outline, and recap.

Difference between Summary and Precis


A summary is an illogical sequence of sentences.
A summary is the production of a passage.
A summary contains all kinds of information.
A summary can be written in a new pattern.


A precis is a well-knit piece of composition.
A precis is an outlook of original passage in a brief manner.
A precis is free from irrelevant irrelevant material and detail.
A precis should be written under a set pattern.

Objective of Precis

The objective of precis writing is to bring out faithfully the salient or main idea, theme, or meaning of an original document, writing, or speech in a concise, clear, simple, coherent, and natural language while preserving the spirits of the original.
The importance and utility of the art of precis writing can not be overemphasized. Life today has become over-busy. Speed is now the essence of time. Everyone is in haste. Few have the time or patience to pause, think, and perform at leisure.
Precis develops in the student the faculty of marshaling his thoughts in a natural sequence and expressing them with judiciously selected words in a well-knit narrative.

How to read a passage?

  • Read the whole passage carefully.
  • Try to recognize the author’s tone and viewpoint.
  • Re-read the passage several times if necessary for a clear understanding of ideas.
  • Identify the relevant sentences in the passage.
  • Underline the difficult words and try to know the meanings with the context of difficult words.
  • Underline the important key phrases and sentences.
  • Observe the points on which the author has emphasized.
  • Collect points for precis-making.

How to write a Precis?

Generally, the length of the precis should be 1/3 of the original passage. But if a specific length like 60 words or 100 words etc is required in the paper then you must follow the instruction.
Do not use the specific examples, figures of speech, or quotations cited by the author in developing your precis. 
Precis should always be written in indirect form of narration.
Precis should always be written in the third person like He, We, instead of I. 
Stories, dialogues, and interrogative sentences are not written in precis. 
If the original passage starts with I then you must change it into The writer says that he is.
The precis should be written in the same tense in which the original passage is written. If there is a passage written in past tense but the universal truth is mentioned then you can write i.e He said that honesty is the best policy.
Use unclear and factual expressions. Do not attempt to copy the style of the original source.
Do not introduce ideas of your own. Do not criticize or change the author’s ideas.
Do not use any example which is not used in the original passage. Do not add support or question the author’s arguments.

How to write Answers?

Read the questions carefully and identify their answers in the given passage. 
Answer must be written in the same tense, in which the question is asked.
The answer must be to the point.
Do not write your answer by using the word, yes, no.
Your answer must be perfect and well organized.
Do not write your answer in the same language as the original passage.
You may use the part of your question in your answer.
You must avoid grammatical and spelling mistakes in your answers

How to identify the Title of precis?

Generally title must search at the beginning or end of the passage.
If the title is not written at the beginning or end of the passage then seek through the central idea of the passage.
A title should indicate the central theme of the whole passage.
A title should be written in examination., even though it is not asked in the examination.
A title must be brief and correct
Some key titles are.
The role of……… our society/country day to day life. etc.
The evils of………
The advantages of………
The disadvantages of……….
The harms of……..
The value………
The importance of……..
How to improve……..
How to overcome…………
How to retain…………
Tips for increasing……..
Tips for decreasing………
Tips for retaining………..
comparative study of……

Solved exercises

Passage 1

We should face facts as they exist. We are multilingual it is true and a very poor country too. The fear of getting employment springs out of that poverty of ours. But once we took courage with both our hands and began to work, poverty would vanish, and then those languages which have created a narrow regional spirit instead of being the curse that they sound to us today would function as magnificent vehicles of expression for the rich variety of cultural patterns and modes of living and thought that we have developed. Let us hope that day dawns very soon, a regional language for education will progress. It provides help to the child to learn with ease and interest. But if it is thrust on an unwilling minority used to another allied language. It can vitiate the very process of education. It is supposed to help and would solve the difficulties of socio-political problems.

Questions and Answers

1- What kind of fears we have in our minds?
Ans: The fear of getting employment and not getting employment springs in our minds.
2- How we can abolish poverty?
Ans: If we work hard with courage and sincerity, we can abolish poverty.
3- What is the role of regional language in the learning of a child?
Ans: The regional language plays important role in the learning of a child. He builds his inborn quality through regional language.
4- Is it true that language is necessary to increase progress in the country?
Ans: Language is very important for the progress and prosperity of a country. It helps to solve the socio-political problems of different countries.
5- Suggest a suitable title for the passage.
Ans: Education and regional language
6- Make a precis of the passage.
Our country is though poor yet has many languages. With effort and dedication, we are able to wipe out poverty. These languages will become great assets. A regional language can assist the child in picking up things easily. It is only when a language is forced upon the people that it checks the very process of education.

Passage 2

As material civilization advances and the supply of available goods and services increases man’s needs correspondingly and multiply. Advertising plays a vital role in this never-ending process by stimulating the public’s desire for certain products and thereby promoting the sales thereof until it has created new needs, real or supposed where there were none before. A familiar example is the motor car. Once a rare and costly novelty now a ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive necessity, the fact that sets are found in a majority of western homes shows that it answers to a greater or lesser degree, the need felt by millions of people of entertainment and information. A service, product, or commodity that the public demands and knows it needs. We might therefore assume that in such cases advertising would be of minor importance. To some extent this is true. Meat-packers, vegetable and fruit growers, and dairy operators spend less on advertising. On the other hand, the competition that exists between rival brands means that the suppliers of such basic necessities as food, clothing, and housing must advertise their wears to stay in business. Significantly, the industry that spends mostly on advertising turns out a product which almost everyone considers a necessity soap, etc.

Questions and Answers 

1- Discuss the role of advertising in the increasing of desires in human beings.
Ans: Advertising plays an important role in the increasing of the desires of new things in human beings.
2- Do you think advertising is necessary for the selling of products?
Ans: Yes, advertising is necessary for the selling of products because people become aware of the new products.
3- Can we judge the quality of a thing with its advertisement?
Ans: Sometimes we can not judge the quality of products through advertisement. This is mere a glamorous part of products.
4- What is your own opinion about the advertisement of things?
Ans: In my opinion,  advertisement is necessary for the selling and introduction of things in the market. Now the competition has increased among different manufacturers. So it is necessary for them to advertise their products.
5- Suggest a suitable title for the passage.
Ans: advertising and material civilization.
6- Make a precis of the passage.
With the advertisement of material civilization, human needs have taken the upward track. Advertisement plays a prominent role in it. It alters the very shape of items from luxuries to needs. Luxury articles need more advertisement for the promotion of sales. Far less advertisement is needed for the sale of essential commodities, but it has been noticed that business houses dealing in necessities have also advertised to popularise the business because of keen competition.

About the Author

Anila Ibrahim

An educationist, web content writer, equipped with an LLB and a Master’s degree in English Literature, as well as a Master of Philosophy in Entrepreneurship. I have a comprehensive understanding of both the English language and the educational landscape. This academic background empowers Anila to deliver content that is not only informative but also thoroughly researched.

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