How to write a rhetorical precis? A step by step guide


Writing can be a tedious task for students. There are a lot of instances where students find it’s very hard to fulfill the academic requirements because of several reasons. The complexity of the task depends on different factors such as deadline, the assessors, and in most cases, the type of task. Writing a rhetorical precis is a difficult task because it requires an amalgamation of two different academic tasks into one, to make it more professional and readable. It is because rhetorical precis requires a different approach when compared to the other writing techniques and approaches. Collectively, this blog is a profound answer to one of the most asked questions i.e. what is a rhetorical precis

Definition of rhetorical precis

Before knowing, How to write a rhetorical precis, it is important to understand the essence of the topic. A rhetorical precis can be defined as a type of writing that is similar to writing a summary. However rhetorical precis definition infers the concentrated and a crux part of the document is less neutral and it is more analytical when compared to a summary. The content cannot be called a summary because a summary is all about representing what is already mentioned in the original text. In contrast, a rhetorical precis is all about the analytical and critical insight into the content of the document that is to be written in the form of precis.

The precis is written in the form of an academic assignment as well as a recreational activity to identify the student's abilities to write and analyze the aspects mentioned in the text. There are multiple benefits of writing rhetorical texts such as justifying the approach of writing, clarifying the focus, and helping readers understand what the central ideas in the content are. Collectively, precis is an approach to understanding the meaning of the text.

Characteristics of rhetorical précis

There are some major characteristics of a rhetorical précis that needs to be understood and well-versed before looking into the practical approach of precise writing.

  • Always look for the keywords and the content words because no matter how long the text is, a writer is expected to come up with the important information. It might include the facts, figures, dates, or something important and historical
  • Then, a precise should have a highlighted thesis statement. This step is important because it helps to understand the core of the text or the central idea that is meant to be reinforced through the practice. It is also crucial to have a well-developed backup statement before the thesis statement which can help to overcome the underlying issues and adhere to the central idea
  • The rhetorical precise should adhere to the principles of rhetoric writing which include ethos, logos, and pathos. It will not only help to appeal to the senses of the readers but it can also help to overcome the underlying issues that usually lead to mark deduction.
  • The formatting style should be the same as that of an essay followed by an introduction, a discussion and a conclusion section. These headings should be highlighted because these headings help to differentiate the content paragraphs.
  • To everything that is written, grammar is as important as water to the plant, so a writer should always ensure that the chunks are thoroughly revised and edited in the terms of its grammar, dictation and the facts are always counterchecked to ensure excellence and clarity.

Following these characteristics, an individual can have a well-written rhetorical precise that can help to get a good grade. Apart from grades, and writing for marks, these characteristics can add to the underlying knowledge of writing styles and how different writing goals can be achieved.

Formatting of the rhetorical precis

Much like the other academic tasks, there is a specific format to write a rhetorical document also. The structure tends to provide a shape and a structure to the content, in order to make it more attractive and readable for the readers. Rhetorical precis format detail is given below

Usually, a rhetorical precis is written in the form of sentence structures. The structure was introduced for the first time by Margaret K. Woodworth who developed and introduced this structure in early 1900. According to the author of the formatting style, it is inferred that there are four basic and direct sentences that are to be used for precise writing.

  • The first sentence should be all about the title. The genre of the work is to be mentioned alongside the date when it was published the name of the author. In addition, there should be an accurate sentence along with a clause that should contain a major thesis.
  • The second sentence of the precis is all about the thesis statement. It is all about explaining the underlying purpose of the author. This sentence should be all about the purpose of the content and the sentences are developed on the underlying approach of the author towards a specific agenda or goal.
  • The third sentence of the precise should be about the content. The sentence shows what the main purpose of the author is and what is the effect that the author wants to accomplish from this writing.
  • The fourth sentence is all about the audience and the relationship of the author with them. It also explains the relationship of the author with the audience and how they are connected.

Following the four sentences structure of the precise will not only help to accomplish the goals of writing but will also help to make the content understandable. These are also known as 4 sentences rhetorical precis

This rhetorical precis template can serve as the best guide to review the points that should be made part of the rhetorical writing, no matter what is the formatting style at length.

How to write a rhetorical precis

Writing a rhetorical precis is one of the technical tasks because of the series of expertise required for goals accomplishment. However, it is important to note that there are no well-defined rules for writing the precise, however, the professionals do suggest some steps that can help to write a successful and well-written precis.

These steps are provided and explained in detail below.

  • A critical and detailed reading of the content
  • The most important step towards writing anything is “to read”. When it comes to writing a rhetorical precis, it is important to read the content in detail and actively. The writer should understand the meaning of the text. There are two different ways that can help to understand the content, the first phase is that of skimming the text. It requires a reader to analyze the details while curtailing the extra content. The next phase is that of understanding the meaning of the text, it is all about understanding the actual meaning of the title and then how it is related to the content. It also includes taking notes of the important information. One of the critical and crucial aspects of notes taking is understanding all the strategies that are used by the author to persuade and convince the readers.

  • Creating an outline
  • An outline is more like a precise outlet that can be expanded to gain academic goals. The same role of the outline is performed in the rhetorical precis outline where it requires gathering the information and then arranging it in the form of four sentences. The content is segregated in the form of three major headings i.e. introduction, body, and the conclusion section.

  • Writing the introduction
  • It is the first section that is crafted. This step requires indicating the sources that are to be summarized. Then, there should be a thesis statement that is to be added. A hook statement should be added so that the attention of the readers can be gained. The following information should be added in the introduction section:

    • An insight into the support of the thesis statement
    • The apparent purpose of the author
    • The description of the targeted audience.
  • Body Paragraphs
  • The next section of the precis is the inclusion of body paragraphs. The body paragraphs should be started with a summary of the sources. These paragraphs should be a summary of the sources, and the major ideas presented in the main content. The precis is all about an appeal to the ethos, pathos, and the logos. There should be sufficient information in each paragraph so that the thesis statement and the rhetorical devices can be highlighted and explained in the document.

    One of the best ways to remember what is to be written in the body paragraphs such as retained by identifying the “sandwich rule”. According to this rule, there must be the following components of the paragraph.

    • there should be a topic sentence
    • Then there should be the supporting evidence
    • An explanation for each of the sentences should be given Then, there will be a closing statement.

    Following this, a logical flow of the precis can be created that makes it more attractive for the readers.

    • Designing conclusion
    • It is the final aspect of drafting. It is the section in which the thesis statement is restated. The purpose of the section is to give an insight into whatever is mentioned in the other paragraphs. One of the most important points to consider is, there should be nothing new in this paragraph.

    • Editing and proofreading
    • It is another important aspect of writing a rhetorical essay. Without editing and proofreading, none of the writing can make sense. Once a precis is written, one has to read it oneself or get to read by the fellow so that the errors can be corrected. One can take help from grammar checking tools to identify the errors. However, it is crucial to make sure that the final product is free from all types of errors.

Example of rhetorical precis

When an individual is writing an assignment for the first time, it is important to recall and revise the basic concepts and examples that are to be added. If it is your first chance to write a rhetorical precis, this rhetorical precis example can help you get a better and complete idea.

In addition to the worksheet, there is a full-length example of the essay that can help to gain good marks.

This sample can help you understand what are the basic ideas and components to be added, and how different strategies can be bought into practice to add value to whatever is written.

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