Tips For Composition & Precise

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Tips For Composition & Precise

Post by Archer on Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:40 am


Comprehension is an initial step in the approach from reading towards writing, as well as
measure of testing the student’s ability to understand a given text.

Essential Guideline for Answering Questions:

1. Read the given text carefully as to get a clear idea of what it says.
2. In case of complex sentence-structure and illusive expression, read the passage over and
over again till the meaning is clear to you.
3. Do not run after the meaning of every new or unfamiliar word or phrase. Instead try to
guess from the context what word or phrase means.
4. Read each question carefully and underline the answer in the passage.
5. Shape the answer in accordance with the question and write it down. It is better to use your
own words instead of copying the answer word for word from the passage.
6. Your answer should be a complete sentence, not just a phrase or a clause. For instance if the
question is:
Why do you go for a walk?
As an answer if you say:
Because I like to go out in the morning. (It is a clause not a sentence)
The correct and complete answer to this question is:
I go for a morning walk because I like to go out in the morning.
7. Avoid omitting auxiliary verb (helping verb)
8. Your answer must be in the same tense which is used in the question.


It means an abstract or a gist of a longer passage or document.
A précis must fulfill the following three requirements:
(a) It must be in form of a continuous narrative, that is, it must not consist of disjointed
(b) It should include all the important ideas expressed in the original passage.
(c) It should rigidly exclude all that is unimportant and irrelevant.


(i) A good précis should give the leading thoughts and the general impression of the
passage summarized.
(ii) A good précis should be a continuous and compact piece of prose.
(iii) A précis should be clear. It must present the substance of the original in your own
(iv) A précis should be precise and brief. Précis-writing means giving the essentials in the
fewest possible words. Thus the brevity is the very soul of a précis.
(v) A précis should not be sketchy. It should be complete and contain all that is important
in the original.
 There is no royal road to making a précis. It is an intellectual exercise. We can only achieve
success in précis writing if we can fully enter into the spirit of the given passage.
(i) Avoid comments of your own and other irrelevancies.
(ii) Avoid borrowing phrases and sentences from the original.
(iii) Avoid emphasizing the wrong points.
(iv) Avoid exceeding the prescribed length by more than five words.
(v) Avoid bad style. See that your sentences do not lack unity.
(vi) Avoid colloquial expressions.
 As a rule a précis should be in Indirect Speech. Great care must be taken to avoid lapsing into
Direct Speech.
 The summary should be in the Third Person. The first person must be changed into third


(i) “I say, first we have despised literature. What do we, as a nation, care about books? I
say, we have despised Science. I say we have despised Art.”

PRECIS: The writer said that they had despised literature, science and art.

 The précis should be generally made in the past tense unless the original passage expresses
some universal truth in which case the present tense must be used.

(ii) War is a great calamity. It is worse than famine or plague. It settles nothing but unsettles

PRECIS: War is more destructive than epidemics and starvation.

(iii) I never found a woman who was so generous in her gifts and who loved to entertain so
many guests in her home.

PRECIS: I never found so hospitable a woman.


In attempting the precis of a paragraph the following plan may be of some assistance.
(i) Read the passage carefully two or three times or more till the meaning is well
(ii) Note down the central idea or the main topic. Often the main idea of the passage can be
expressed in a phrase: this phrase will make the title of the passage.
(iii) Make an out line summary of the passage dividing it into main topics and sub topics if
(iv) Write off in plain businesslike English a continuous summary linking up the topics and
sub topics already written down. Pay as much attention to grammar and style as in any

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