Barbara P
Barbara P

How to Write Rhetorical Precis? - A Step by Step Guide

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Published on: Nov 29, 2019

Last updated on: Dec 21, 2022

Rhetorical Precis

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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 do with writing a rhetorical precis.

Continue reading the blog to understand rhetorical precis 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 document form, it is less neutral than an ordinary summary and is more analytical.

It 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 precis model attempts to understand the meaning of the original text rhetorically.

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Rhetorical Precis Format

Like every document, a rhetorical precis 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. Margaret K. Woodworth developed this structure in 1988. She described that the precis is majorly based on four dense but direct sentences.

1. Sentence One - Consists of the title, the genre of the work, date, and author’s name. Also, include a 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 author’s relationship 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.

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. Next, 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. Then, the content will be divided into the introduction, body, and conclusion sections according to the traditional outline.

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 precis, which starts by presenting the source’s summary. 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 provide 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
  • Explanation
  • 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. Therefore, avoid presenting new information in this section, as this part aims 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.

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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.

Going through these examples will enable you to write a high-quality precis in no time. But if you still find it hard, you can always get professional help. is a professional essay writing service that provides professional assistance for all your academic assignments. Contact our professional writers today if you are stuck with an essay, research paper, or even a rhetorical precis.

Simply place an order at the most reasonable prices, and get high-quality assignments written by our professional writer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the benefit of writing a rhetorical precis?

A precis is a great way to show that you've read and understood the text. In addition, it improves your critical thinking skills.

Do you use quotes in rhetorical precis?

Yes, you can easily use quotes in rhetorical precis.

Barbara P


Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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