How to Write Rhetorical Precis? - A Step by Step Guide
If you are a student, you will be assigned multiple types of assignments for your academics. Among all these writing tasks, some basic assignments such as writing essays will not give you a hard time. In contrast, others are unique documents, including rhetorical precis that can be head-scratchers.
Writing rhetorical precis can be a different experience for the students. Being used to writing an essay and other common forms of writing has nothing to with writing a rhetorical precis.
Continue reading the article to understand what rhetorical precis are and how they are written as assignments for your academics.
Rhetorical Precis Definition
A rhetorical precis is a particular form of writing that differs from a summary. Although it is a concentrated form of a document, it is less neutral than an ordinary summary and is more analytical.
A rhetorical precis can not be considered a summary. A simple summary is only a representation of what the original text says. On the other hand, a rhetorical precis not only represents what the texts say but also what it does. In this form of writing, the writer’s analysis is also presented.
People write rhetorical precis as academic assignments and as well as for their own pleasure. Writing a rhetorical precis can be beneficial in so many ways. As a reader, writing a precis will guide your reading and help you focus on the key aspects of the text.
In a nutshell, a rhetorical precis model attempts to understand the meaning of the original text rhetorically.
Rhetorical Precis Structure
Similar to every document, a rhetorical précis has a defined structure or format in which it is written. This structure provides a shape to the content making it readable and understandable for the readers.
According to the basic outline, the rhetorical precis is written using the four-sentence structure. This structure was developed by Margaret K. Woodworth in 1988. She described that the rhetorical precis is majorly based on four dense but direct sentences.
- 1. Sentence One - It consists of the author’s name, title and genre of the work, date, rhetorically accurate verb, and the clause containing the major thesis.
- 2. Sentence Two - The second sentence includes explaining how the author develops the thesis statement and supports it.
- 3. Sentence Three - The third sentence in the precis sheds light on the statement of the author’s main purposes and the intended effect.
- 4. Sentence Four - The last sentence identifies the intended audience and the relationship that the author tries to make with them.
Writing your rhetorical precis using the four-sentence structure will make the content compelling and understandable for yourself and the audience.
Check out the following rhetorical precis outline template to get a better idea.
Rhetorical Precis Template
How to Write Rhetorical Precis?
Although there are no specified rules for writing a rhetorical precis, professionals prefer following certain steps. These steps help people write a well-written and successful precis.
Below-given are the steps that you can use to write an effective rhetorical precis.
1. Actively Read the Content
The first and foremost thing to do when writing a rhetorical precis is to read the original text actively. Attentively read the document and try to understand it thoroughly.
Active reading can be done in two phases. In the first phase, skim over the text. Analyze how long it is, where it was published, its different sections, and the works cited. Try to understand the meaning of the title and what it shows about the content.
The second stage is when you take notes. Identify the text’s key ideas and the responses to those ideas. Moreover, determine the strategies used by the author to persuade the audience and their effectiveness.
2. Create an Outline
Once you have gathered all the information, arrange it according to the four-sentence structure. According to the traditional outline, the content will be divided into the introduction, body, and conclusion sections.
Creating an outline will make the writing process easier for the writer. Moreover, it will make the content understandable for the readers as well.
3. Write the Introduction
The section to be drafted in the rhetorical precis is the introduction. In this part, identify the source summarized and the main thesis statement of the work.
The introduction paragraph starts with a hook statement to grab the reader’s attention towards the document. Following this comes the context of the rhetorical precis to inform the audience about the document’s scope.
The introduction should contain the following information:
- An explanation of development and support of the author’s thesis statement.
- The author’s apparent purpose of the composition.
- A description of the targeted audience.
4. Prepare the Body Paragraphs
The next section is the body of your rhetorical precis, which is started by presenting the summary of the source. It mainly includes the significant concepts in the original text in chronological order.
Following the summary comes the explanation of how the major argument appeals to the rhetorical aspects. For instance, the writer describes how the text appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos.
Sufficient information should be provided in these paragraphs to support the thesis statement and the rhetorical devices used by the author.
All the paragraphs in the body section should follow the sandwich rule. According to this, each paragraph has the following components:
- Topic sentence
- Supporting evidence
- Closing statement
These components provide a logical flow to the precis content, making it attractive for the audience.
5. Draft the Conclusion
All the paragraphs in the body section lead the audience towards the conclusion of the precis. Similar to an essay, the conclusion section includes a restated thesis statement.
The purpose of drafting this part is to connect the major claim made to the extended significant concepts. Avoid presenting new information in this section as the purpose of this part is to give closure to the content.
6. Proofreading and Editing
An essential step in the writing process of a rhetorical precis is proofreading, which is often ignored. Once you have written the precis, read it a couple of times to ensure that the content is free from errors.
Make editings to the document before submitting it to your instructor to ensure the quality of your work. The writer’s credibility is reflected through the accuracy of his work.
Rhetorical Precis Example
When writing an assignment for the first time, people require quality written examples to understand the basic concept and writing structure. Similarly, if you are assigned a rhetorical precis and have no clue where to begin, the following example will help you.
Rhetorical Precis Worksheet
Rhetorical Precis Samples
Going through these examples will enable you to write a high-quality rhetorical precis in no time. But if you still find it hard, you can always get professional help.
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