Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Writing Precis

Madam Vanessa,

I had posted a letter yesterday about the holiday assignment but I couldn't find it on the page. I think you have not passed it. Madam, can you help me in writing Precis. Can you teach me how to write Precis? Can you tell some sites which describes completely about Precis? I have tried several sites but am not successful.

Please help me.




  1. Rajeev

    Your letter posted automatically without requiring my approval. You must have posted it as a comment to my post assigning the letter. This tells me you are probably not reading comments. Now go look for your letter because the next comment I post will be about your letter.

    Re-read my instructions for the holiday letter. Then read Ginyin's and Ning's letters. They are excellent examples and will show how you should have written yours.

    I cannot help you with writing a precis unless I know more. What is it supposed to be a precis of? What is your source document? Why do you have to write a precis?

    Also, your obvious oversights in reading the letter assignment lead me to wonder how carefully and closely you read the precis sites.

    However, no site, handout or explanation can be magic solution. Nothing replaces you writing a precis as best you can and then posting it for review.

  2. About precis writing

    Rajeev, in another message, you wrote, "As regards [how to write a] Precis, Madam, I want it [need to know how] for my examination as well as for my studies."

    I'm sorry but that answer is almost as usless and devoid of necessary information as your initial request for help on writing a precis. I assume this is part of your legal writing requirement, which is necessary information you should have provided at the beginnning. Always be specific - both here and in legal writing.

    You still have not told me what you are writing a precis of. A law review article seems like, but please don't expect me to assume that. Be spedicfic. What does your professor have to say about the problems you are having with precis writing? What is the EXACT WORDING AND DESCRIPTION of the assignment?

    You also said that the sites on precis writing that you found did not help. What sites did you find? Why weren't they helpful? Again, be specific. Avoid generalization and vagueness.

    "Precis - what is it?" might help you.

    According to the dictionary - "a concise summary of essential points, statements, or facts."

    According to Professor Blumm at Lewis & Clark who teaches a legal writing course,"A precis is the equivalent of a draft introduction to a law review article. A good introduction gets the reader's attention, explains why the topic of the paper is important, places that topic with a larger legal/social context, and describes what the paper will contribute to the issue. It does all of this in around three pages or so, or about five or six paragraphs."

    This defintion describes the precis (not captialized because "precis" is not a proper noun) as similar to and filling the same purpose as an abstract but significantly longer.

  3. Ms. Vanessa,

    Thank you very much for your reply. Actually, I want to practice precis for my law dissertation. For dissertation work I have to study various books and out of those books some can be copied verbatim but some others should be given in my own words to show that I have not copies each and everything and I am comprehending also what I am writing.

    Thanks Ms. Vanessa for enlightening me about precis.



  4. Rajeev

    As someone who has already written a 200 page dissertation, permit me to clarify something for you. In writing the dss, you will need to quote verbatim, paraphrase, AND summarize, which is similar to precis writing BUT not exactly the same. Summarizing and annotating (an even more condensed summary) are especially important in your "overview of the literature" section or chapter.

    Summarizing and paraphrasing are skills you should have mastered before starting the dss.

    You may find these sites helpful in writing the dss: Dss writing guidelines; Planning a PhD Thesis; Dss/Thesis Guide

    You also need to master Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing - but on your own time!

    Now, enough about precis writing!


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