A precis in the strict sense of the term means a summary of some document or documents, but this definition is insufficient as an explanation
of what is now commonly required of anyone who is instructed to draw up a precis.
A document of series of documents is given him and he is expected to write in the form of a consecutive narrative an abbreviated account of what occurred as shown by the document or documents before him,
The narrative, while including all that is important with regard to the matter in hand, must rigidly exclude all that is unimportant.
The object of the precis is to present to anyone who has not time to read the original document or documents the leading features of what is there
described, and to present them in a readable form and as concisely as is compatible with clearness.
The writer of a precis should constantly put himself in the position of a person who has not seen the original documents and yet wishes to have a clear knowledge of all that is essential in them.
He must try to imagine what such a person would need to know and what would be useless to him.
It is not easy to fulfill these requirements. The attempt to include nothing but the important, and to express this concisely, must not be allowed to
obscure the natural sequence of events and to result in a jerky agglomeration of items of information.
Without being long-winded the narrative must be continuous; it must, so to speak, read like a story; the connecting link between one event and another must be obvious.
One of the great difficulties of precis writing is the combination of such a clear consecutive statement with terseness of expression.