The key difference between summary and precis is that a precis consists of a heading and a title while a summary does not.
A summary is a concise version or a small description of all the main points of an article, while a precis is a small model of an article or a paragraph with only the crucial points included. Before writing either a summary or a precis, it is important to read the original article thoroughly, make notes of the essential points to be included, and then add them up meaningfully without exceeding the required word limit.
What is a Summary?
A summary is a simplified or short version of an article or a book. It briefly covers all the main points included in the original article and does not comprise the interpretation as originally mentioned in the article. However, it should not change the original perception in any way nor include judgment, ideas, or any kind of reaction to the original text other than those of the original writer. When writing a summary, one can use his/her own words and paraphrase the text. It does not have to be written in the same order as the original article or the book; the writer can even omit points if he or she feels them as unnecessary.
The objective of a summary is to briefly provide the reader with a collection of all the main points of an article, chapter or book meaningfully with coherence. Depending on the text, a summary can usually be one to three paragraphs long, and it should possess various characteristics, mainly proper citations and inclusion of main ideas. Other than these, a summary can also contain direct quotations if necessary.
What is a Precis?
A precis too is a shortened version of an article or a paragraph but with a suitable heading. Unlike a summary, a precis contains only the crucial points in the same order as the original text. In a precis also, it is important not to express opinions of the writer nor to interfere in any way with the original text. It should include the same meaning as well as the tone of the original work.
A precis can be between 100-200 words, depending on the length of the original article, and usually can be shortened to one-fifth or one-sixth of the length of the original text. In addition, it is important to remember to end a precis with a conclusion.
What is the Difference Between Summary and Precis?
A summary is a short description of all the main points in an article which can be written using one or two paragraphs, depending on the original text. Unlike a precis, it does not need to have a title or a conclusion. In fact, this is the key difference between summary and precis. One can write a summary using his/her own words, and it does not have to be in the same order as the original. A precis is different. It should have a heading and a conclusion and should convey the meaning, tone, and order of the original article precisely.
The following table summarizes the differences between summary and precis in tabular form.
Summary – Summary vs Precis
The key difference between summary and precis is that a precis includes a title and a conclusion at the end. Unlike a summary, a precis contains only the essential points of the original article and is about one-fifth of the length of the original text.
1. “Summary Composition” Thought.com