From the Old French and literally meaning “cut short” (dictionary.com)
A concise summary of an article or other work. The précis, then, explains the main point, logical support, and structure of the original work, but in greatly condensed form. The précis is objective, unlike a critical analysis, which evaluates the argument and use of evidence within an article. Thus, the précis does not offer evaluations about a text, nor does it include personal reaction to a text.
1. Bibliography – MLA Format – 7th Edition
2. Summary – 5-7 Sentences that sum up the essay. Include the basic facts, the highlights or main points, the author’s emphasis, tone and argument, but leave out your opinion.
3. Critique – one (1) sentence. A one-sentence summary of the whole passage that includes all the main ideas of the text. This sentence can include opinion.
Ex. – “Author’s last name” accurately defends the position that the blood in Macbeth is meant to represent the sin of mankind.
• Font -Times New Roman – 12pt
• All three parts of the précis must begin with the author’s last name.
• Précis are written in third person.(See tips below)
o Example of changing second person to third person.
Second person:
When you write college papers, you should not use second-person pronouns you or your.
Correct to:
When students write college papers, they should not use second-person pronouns you or your.
o Example of how to change first person to third person pronoun:
First person:
I think Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales describe religious characters who are hypocrites.
Correct to: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales seem to describe religious characters who are hypocrites.
• Each section of the précis is single-spaced. (1.0)
• Each section is separated by a single space.


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