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Video: How to Read an Article
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What is a précis?
- A précis is a specific kind of summary of an article, book, or speech that uses the language and overall structure of the original source.
What is the purpose of a précis?
- To present a shortened version of a source, while maintaining key words, data, or concepts from the original.
- Note: Some kinds of précis, such as rhetorical précis, follow specific conventions not described here. Be sure to read your assignment carefully for specific requirements.
What should a précis do?
A précis should do one or more of the following:
- Identify and use the keywords used in the original text or speech
- Maintain the order and structure of the original
- Serve as a shorter substitute for the original text or speech
How is a précis different from a paraphrase or summary?
- The main difference between a précis and a paraphrase or summary is that in a précis you use the language and structure of the original, particularly key terms and phrases.
- In paraphrases and summaries, you must use your own words as much as possible, and as few words from the original as possible.
When should I use a précis?
- You should use a précis only when you are asked specifically to do so by an instructor (e.g., for an assignment).
- When writing about sources in other academic papers, it’s best either to use your own words (paraphrase or summarize) or quote sources directly.
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