How to Write a Rhetorical Precis The rhetorical precis from is a highly structured four-sentence paragraph that records the essential rhetorical elements of a unit of spoken or written discourse, including the name of the speak/writer, the context of the delivery, the major assertion, the mode of development and/or support, the stated and,or apparent purpose, and the relationship established between the speaker/writing and the audience. The Form: 1. Name of author (optional: a phrase describing author): category and title of work; date in parentheses (additional publishing information in parentheses or note): a rhetorically accurate verb (such as “assert,” “argue,” “suggest,” “imply,” “claim”): and a THAT clause containing the major assertion (thesis statement) of the work. 2. An explanation of how the author develops and/or supports the thesis, usually in chronological order. 3. A statement of the author’s apparent purpose, followed by an “in order to” phrase. 4. (A description of the intended audience and.or the relationship the author establishes with the audience when pertinent to the purpose of the work), an indication of the level of language with a designation of one of the work or attitude of author in relation to the subject of work.
*The purpose of the precis is to give as much information about the written work as possible in four sentences. the precis answers the basic who, what where, when, how, why and to whom about the rhetorical situation of the discourse. Example: 1. In his 1982 essay, “The Case for Torture,” Michael Levin argues that torture is an acceptable means of preserving safety and security for the greater good. 2. He illustrates his point by using hypothetical scenarios of a terrorist threatening to use a bomb on Manhattan Island, someone planting a bomb on a jumbo jet, and a terrorist group kidnapping a newborn from a hospital. 3. Levin’s point is that, although American sensibilities reject the idea of purposely inflicting pain as...
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