AskDefine | Define precis

Dictionary Definition

precis n : a sketchy summary of the main points of an argument or theory [syn: outline, synopsis, abstract] v : make a summary (of)

User Contributed Dictionary









  1. made with great precision


  1. precisely; exactly
  2. just; by a narrow margin

Extensive Definition

A précis (pronounced pray-see) is a type of summarizing done in one's own words about a text source. It is essential to be as accurate and brief as possible while describing the text source and highlighting upon the main ideas contained in the text. A précis is generally 100 - 200 words in length.

Strategies of writing

Before writing the précis, one must get the facts straight and not comment upon anything outside the source text. Reading the source text several times is recommended before starting the précis. As everything must be put in the writer's own words, it is better to set the source material aside before actually writing to prevent oneself from copying text from the source text.


Précis do not make any conclusions about the original, its audience, or anything relating to the text. It must provide the reader an accurate, but brief, map of the original, and what the writer thinks about the source text or the topic of the text is not relevant when writing a précis.

List of requirements

  • States the name of the article/document, the author and the source (is it from a magazine, book, encyclopedia, etc.)
  • Does not use the phrase "in this article", "throughout history" or other clichés (big, good, bad, little, a lot)
  • Generally written in past tense
  • Does not use contractions
  • Titles are in italics or underlined
precis in German: Précis

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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