How to Write a Good Rhetorical Précis Essay: Template and Sample

A rhetorical précis (precis) is an academic writing that summarizes another piece of text. Basically, this type of work recapitulates the main ideas and arguments in the article considered. In this case, the primary aim is to provide accurate details about a written piece in question. Also, working papers must analyze the content and the delivery of a spoken or written discourse, answering the questions “what” and “how.” In practice, good rhetorical précis papers contain an introduction, body, and conclusion. The opening paragraph includes a hook and a thesis statement. The essay’s body consists of a summary of the main concepts and arguments. In turn, one should end a rhetorical précis paper with a summarizing paragraph, which represents the thesis statement. Moreover, some common phrases used in précis include “argue,” “call attention to,” “define,” “deny,” “show,” “point out,” “prove,” “suggest,” “inform,” “persuade,” “disclose,” “report,” and “convince.”

Definition of a Rhetorical Précis Essay

A rhetorical précis (precis) refers to academic writing that summarizes another piece of text. Basically, individuals summarize the main ideas and arguments to provide an insight into its author’s central argument. Also, the term “précis” is a French word that means a summary. In this case, one should focus on giving accurate and summative details about a source. Valid rhetorical précis papers must analyze the content and the delivery of a spoken or written discourse. Then, the approach answers the questions “what” and “how” concerning the work under analysis. In practice, a rhetorical précis should include brief quotations to convey a sense of the style and tone. Other essential sections should consist of a terminal bibliographical reference. Besides, effective practice of this type of writing promotes precision in writing and reading. In turn, the nature of a rhetorical précis encourages one to employ a variety of sentence structures that enhance meaning.

How to write a rhetorical précis

Technical Requirements for Writing a Rhetorical Précis Essay

The size of rhetorical précis essays varies depending on the sources under consideration. For instance, the size may vary from one paragraph to several pages. Hence, some technical requirements for a rhetorical précis essay are:

1. Word Count

A rhetorical précis essay may have words ranging from 100 to 1000 words, depending on a source under analysis. Basically, the shortest rhetorical précis essay should have at most four sentences that give a precise summary of the spoken or written discourse. In turn, a four-page rhetorical précis essay contains several paragraphs that include an introduction, a body section, and a conclusion. Hence, these structures allow writers to give an accurate summary of a source.

2. Structure

The basic structure of a précis essay includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Firstly, the introduction section should identify a source and explain how an author develops the main argument. Also, the opening section should have a thesis statement, showing a piece of central evidence in a rhetorical essay. Then, body paragraphs give precise details, supporting the main arguments. In practice, writers must follow a sandwich rule when developing body paragraphs. Moreover, this method enhances the clarity of the presented concepts. Finally, the closing passage should restate the thesis statement and summarize the main ideas presented. Hence, a rhetorical précis essay must follow a specific structure to enhance the overall communication.

In order to learn how to write a rhetorical précis, a paragraph should have four sentences. Basically, the first line should provide bibliographic information about a source. Then, writers need to provide explanations of how an author develops and supports the central statement. Further on, the third sentence should include a statement of the author’s apparent purpose. Finally, one should end the précis with the description of the intended audience and the relationship established between the author and readers. Therefore, a short rhetorical précis follows a different structure when compared to the long essay.

3. Writing Format of a Rhetorical Précis

Rhetorical précis essays should follow an academic and informative format. For instance, a précis essay should use first- and second- person language to present the main arguments. In turn, writers must focus on communicating the main arguments presented in the article under consideration. From a practical perspective, useful rhetorical précis papers should contain informative details about the sources considered.

Examples of Writing Terminologies in a Good Rhetorical Précis

Writing rhetorical précis essays requires specific terminologies that allow writers to respond to different questions. In this case, some of the vocabularies enhance the quality of rhetorical précis papers.

1. The “What” Question

The response to this question allows writers to identify a source under analysis. For example, some of the terms used to determine sources include:

  • news, magazine, or journal article;
  • book review;
  • editorial;
  • research report;
  • bibliographical essay;
  • biography;
  • first-hand report.

2. The “How” Question

Responding to this question allows writers to state a rhetorical verb utilized in a rhetorical précis essay. For instance, some of the terminologies include:

  • “Analyze(s)” – The term shows that a source is an analysis of a specific topic.
  • “Argue(s)” – This word suggests that a source in question makes an argument.
  • “Assert(s)” – This verb implies that a source considered makes an assertion.
  • “Discus(es)” – This verb shows that the original text engages in a critical discussion of a specific topic.
  • “Explain(s)” – This term shows that the spoken or written discourse gives a detailed and clear clarification on specific issues.
  • “Focus(es) on” – This verb affirms that the text summarized concentrates on a particular subject.

Other terminologies in a rhetorical précis allow writers to describe the method used in the spoken or written discourse. Basically, such words include comparing, contrasting, retelling, explaining, illustrating, defending, demonstrating, defining, describing, listing, arguing, showing, and justifying. In turn, other important terms include relating, reporting, noting, emphasizing, pointing out, and highlighting. Moreover, the effective use of these terminologies ensures that those who read précis essays can understand the primary methods used in the original article.

3. The “Why” Question

Responding to this question allows readers to understand the factors that indicate the purpose of précis essays. In this case, some of the useful terminologies used in this category include “argue,” “call attention to,” “define,” “deny,” “show,” “point out,” “prove,” “suggest,” “inform,” “persuade,” “disclose,” “report,” “convince,” and others. Moreover, these terms play a crucial role in elucidating the writer’s attention to writing a rhetorical précis essay.

4. The “Whom” Question

Responding to this question allows authors of rhetorical précis essays to mention the target audience. Basically, some of the common terminologies used include “formal,” “impersonal,” “casual,” “informal,” “humorous,” “emotional,” “friendly,” “reasoned,” “logical,” “exaggerated,” and others. In this case, a reader looking for an academic précis may search for some additional words, like “formal,” “rational,” or “motivated.” Also, an individual searching for an entertaining summary can consider some words, like “humorous,” “emotional,” or “casual.”

Template Sample of Writing a Rhetorical Précis Essay in 3 Steps

A précis essay must follow a specific structure to enhance the ability to communicate an intended message. The most acceptable structure of a rhetorical précis template should include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Hence, some factors that one must consider for each section are:

Step I. Introduction Sample Template

The opening paragraph identifies a source summarized and a principal argument made. Basically, the introduction should begin with a hook that grabs the reader’s attention. In this case, one can use different types of attention-grabbing phrases, depending on a source. Moreover, writers should set the context of a rhetorical précis essay by identifying the right scholarly sources and authors. In turn, this information allows readers to know the scope of the composition. Then, other important details in writing a rhetorical précis essay that should appear in the first passage include the claim or purpose of the article. Finally, the last sentence should be a thesis statement that communicates the central argument or message presented in a précis essay. Hence, some essential points that one should remember may include:

  • An explanation of how an author develops or supports his or her thesis. In turn, this information should follow a chronological order when writing a rhetorical précis essay.
  • A clear statement of the author’s apparent purpose. In practice, an “in order” phrase should follow this information.
  • A description of the intended audience. Basically, compelling portrayals should establish the relationship that one develops with the target audience.

Step II. Body Paragraph Sample Tempalte

The body section should begin with a summary of a source. For instance, one must give an account of significant concepts in the source identified. In turn, the summary must follow a chronological order. Hence, the second paragraph in a précis essay should give a summary of the article considered. 

The next body paragraphs of a rhetorical précis essay should explain how an article in question appeals to rhetorical aspects. For instance, one should explain how items consider appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos when writing a rhetorical précis essay. In this case, a writer must focus on providing adequate details about the text in question. Also, this approach helps to convince readers that the article under analysis presents convincing arguments. Therefore, body paragraphs should provide sufficient information to support the thesis statement in a rhetorical précis essay. 

Following a Sandwich Rule

Each body paragraph of a rhetorical précis must follow the sandwich rule to present a single idea. In this case, writers must include a topic sentence, supporting evidence, explanation, and closing sentence that transitions one section to another.

  • Topic sentence contains the main argument that one intends to discuss in a paragraph. Basically, the topic sentence must relate to the thesis statement provided in the introduction. Besides, one should not cite any source in this section.
  • Supporting evidence sentence contains details obtained from the source analyzed. In practice, one may include a paraphrase or a direct quote in this section. Besides, writers must follow the necessary citation guidelines.
  • Explanation given should indicate how the cited evidence relates to the thesis statement. In this case, the reasons given must allow scholars to understand the main concepts and compare them to the thesis statement.
  • Closing sentence should connect all ideas presented in a paragraph. In this case, one must select appropriate phrases to connect the ideas presented in separate sections.

One can repeat the above steps (topic sentence-supporting evidence-explanation) three times at most in one paragraph. However, this paragraph must start with a general topic sentence that will cover ideas of all sub-topic sentences in a paragraph. Then, each body paragraph should end with a statement that summarizes the significant concepts and moves to the next paragraph. Basically, this phrase also must be related to the thesis statement.

Step III. Conclusion Template

The concluding paragraph should restate the thesis statement presented in a rhetorical précis paper. For instance, this section should connect to the central claim made and further expound on significant concepts. In this case, one must avoid adding new details in this section. Moreover, the conclusion should bring a rhetorical précis essay into a reasonable closure. Hence, one should remember the following points:

  • The last sentence, in the closing paragraph, should connect back to the hook used in the introduction.
  • One should not copy and paste the thesis statement.
  • The explanations given in the conclusion must help one to connect between various concepts.

Sample on How to Write a Rhetorical Précis Essay

Topic: Rhetorical Approaches in “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier”

I. Sample Introduction

American culture makes females believe that women have to complete more housed chores than men (hook). In this case, Jessica Grose is one of the female-American writers who held such beliefs (context). Basically, the work “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier,” published in 2013, affirms that cleaning remains unbearable despite men helping with childcare and cooking (author’s central claim). Although Grose focuses on issues that may appear irrelevant, she uses convincing facts and statistics and emotional appeals to show that women have more house chores to complete (thesis sentence).

II. Sample Summary Paragraph

Grose begins her article by describing a situation where she cleans the house with her spouse. Basically, Grose and her husband remained at home during Hurricane Sandy. In this case, the composition outlines the uneven distribution of house duties. Then, Grose advances the work by examining the role of cleaning done by other women and the factors that hinder men from taking an active part in completing house chores. Also, some of the reasons include social perceptions and the influence of the media. In turn, Grose proposes that couples should make a list of various house chores. Hence, the strategy can result in equal distribution of house chores.  

III. Sample Body Paragraph 1

Throughout the essay, Grose relies on a strong appeal to logos by stating various statistical and logical advances. For instance, Grose says that “My husband and I both work. We split midnight baby feedings …but … he will admit that he’s never cleaned the bathroom, that I do the dishes nine times out of ten” (Grose, 2013, para. 2). Basically, these facts reveal that she does more work than her husband. Then, Grose continues to give more facts about the situation of women’s work in their homes. For example, the statement “about 55 percent of American mothers employed full time do some housework on an average day, while only 18 percent of employed fathers do” asserts that mothers have engaged in extra duties after work (Grose, 2013, para. 3). Hence, these statistics give logical support to Grose’s claims. Besides, the article shows that husbands do not do an equal share of chores when compared to their wives. In turn, the details and numbers provided in the article create a logos appeal and convince readers that the problem should receive an adequate discussion.

IV. Sample Body Paragraph 2

Along with logos appeals, Grose uses pathos at the beginning of her article. Grose uses emotionally-charged words like “was eight months pregnant” at the beginning of the composition (Grose, 2013, para. 1). In this case, the statement forces a reader to sympathize with the challenges that pregnant women experience. Moreover, the phrase creates an image of the vulnerability of being an expectant mother. Then, adding to these concepts are phrases, like “argued,” “sucks,” “headachey,” and “be judged” (Grose, 2013, para. 1, 7, 8, and 11). In turn, these words create a negative perception of female experiences. Besides, readers sympathize with women who may feel “judged” by their spouses. Therefore, Grose uses specific words that establish the challenges that mothers experience at home, which appear as an appeal to pathos.

V. Sample Conclusion

Grose begins her article by focuses on issues that affect family relations. Basically, she uses convincing facts and statistics to affirm that women complete more house chores than men. Besides, Grose relies on emotional appeals to show that women experience harsh conditions like judgment by their spouses. In turn, pathos and logos concepts used by the author affirm that American culture makes women believe that females have more work to complete at home.    

Reference

Grose, J. (2013, March 19). Cleaning: The final feminist frontier. The New Republic. https://newrepublic.com/article/112693/112693

Analysis on How to Write a Rhetorical Précis Essay

1. Introduction Paragraph

The introduction of a sample rhetorical précis essay begins with an attention-grabbing statement. Basically, the phrase “American culture makes females believe that women have to complete more housed chores than men” grabs the readers’ attention to the information presented in a rhetorical précis essay sample. Then, the second and third sentences provide the context of the composition and the central claims presented by Grose. Finally, the last statement in the opening paragraph is the thesis statement, which gives the central argument of a rhetorical précis essay example.

2. Summary Paragraph

The second paragraph contains a summary of Grose’s work. Basically, this section highlights the main concepts presented in a rhetorical précis paper. From a practical perspective, the main points presented follow a chronological order. In turn, the primary aim is to give overview details of the entire rhetorical précis essay.

3. Body Paragraphs

The first body paragraph of a rhetorical précis essay sample discusses one of the main points mentioned in the thesis statement. Firstly, the section begins with a transition and a statement that relates to the central claim. In this case, the second line contains a quote obtained from the article as evidence. Moreover, adequate explanations follow to show how the quoted information pertains to the thesis statement. Then, this process appeared twice, which follows the recommendations made. Besides, the last sentence in the passage summarizes the main concepts presented in the section and relates to the thesis statement. Also, the second body paragraph follows a similar process. In turn, both body sections followed the sandwich rule.  

4. Conclusion Paragraph

The conclusion of a rhetorical précis essay example restates the thesis statement. Besides, it contains more information that expounds on the specific details. In turn, the last sentence, “pathos and logos concepts used by the author affirm that American culture makes women believe that females have more work to complete at home,” connects to the hook used in the introduction. Thus, the conclusion part brings a rhetorical précis essay to closure.

Factors that Can Affect Writing a Rhetorical Précis Paper

Different factors can affect the quality of a rhetorical précis essay. For example, writers should consider these aspects:

  • Failure to prepare – One must engage in adequate preparation before writing a précis essay. Basically, the preparation process involves identifying the target article, reading and understanding the main concepts, and writing down the main points.
  • Poor writing strategies – The most practical writing strategy includes the preparation of several drafts and peer review. In this case, successful writers prepare several drafts of a rhetorical précis and assign them to their peers for reviewing and proofreading.
  • Failure to consider the academic levels – Précis essays for bachelor students require one to use advanced language and sentence structure than those required at college or high school.

Summing Up on How to Write a Good Rhetorical Précis

A rhetorical précis is an academic writing that summarizes another piece of text. Basically, such type of work provides an insight into its author’s thesis statement. In this case, an individual recapitulates the main ideas and arguments to provide an insight into its author’s thesis of a source in question. Then, the primary aim is to provide accurate details about the source on the issue. In practice, good rhetorical précis papers contain an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Firstly, the opening paragraph includes a hook and a thesis statement. Secondly, the rhetorical précis essay’s body should provide a summary of the main concepts and arguments. Thirdly, one should end a rhetorical précis essay with a summarizing paragraph, which restates the thesis statement. In turn, a competent selection of words can enhance the overall quality of the information communicated.

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