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Bonus 11

Prcis
ee Websters New World Student Writing Handbook, Fifth Edition, Chapter 33, Prcis, for details about the characteristics of a good prcis, the process for writing oneincluding prewriting, writing, and revisingand an additional model for the workplace. Each sample includes the original passage from which the prcis was written and is followed by an analysis. On this Web page, you will nd the following additional samples with their respective analyses: Sample Prcis for English Sample Prcis for Social Sciences Sample Prcis for Science Sample Technical Prcis The sample prcis for workplace writing appears in Chapter 33, Prcis.

Sample Prcis for English


A student writing a research paper for an English class has chosen to write about automobile-induced air pollution. She has found a passage in Autos and Air Pollution, a brochure published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The original passage appears, followed by her prcis. Once you have studied both, read the analysis that follows.

Original Passage
The use of leaded gasoline in vehicles designed for unleaded gasoline can increase tailpipe emissions 200 to 800 percent, EPA has determined. More than 1 million tons of hydrocarbons and 12 million tons of carbon monoxide were spewed from the tailpipes of cars with defective emission control systems during fiscal year 1983. Studies show that most people who engage in fuel switching do so to save moneyabout 7cents a gallon. However, these people are victims of faulty economics, according to JoeCannon, EPAs assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. In the long run, the use of

leaded gas in the car will more quickly foul the spark plugs, wear out the exhaust system, degrade the oil, and foul the oxygen sensor in new cars, in addition to ruining the catalytic converter, he said. Cannon estimates that people who substitute leaded for unleaded gasoline will end up paying 12 cents a gallon in extra maintenance and repairs.

Prcis
Using leaded instead of unleaded gasoline contributes to a 200 to 800 percent increase in airpolluting emissions. According to Joe Cannon, EPA assistant administrator for Air and Radiation, while consumers save about 7 cents a gallon at the pumps, they ultimately pay 12 cents a gallon more to repair the resulting damage to the cars ignition, exhaust, and lubricating systems.

ANALYSIS

OF THE

SAMPLE PRCIS

FOR

ENGLISH

The preceding prcis follows the general guidelines for content, organization, and structure. Note the following specics:

The prcis reduces the original passage of approximately 160 words to


exactly60.

Six sentences in the original passage become two in the prcis. The choice of material included in the prcis is determined by the general
purpose of the research paper in which it is to be included. For instance, the information about the amount of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere as a result of defective emission-control systems is omitted, because the writer plans to deal only with problems resulting from the use of leaded gasoline. The choice of vocabulary is consistent with the original, especially as the original lacks technical terms needing simplication. The main ideas appear in the same order as in the original. EPA administrator Cannon is included to enhance the authenticity of the 7-cent/12-cent comparison; however, the writer chooses not to use his exact words. The summary of his comments is accurate and makes the same point more concisely.

Thus, a prcis achieves its purpose and reduces a signicant passage to a manageable size for use in a paper.

Sample Prcis for Social Sciences


To explain government regulations and their effect on business, one student needed a concise denition of the Clean Air Act. He found an explanation in a brochure published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and decided to summarize it in his paper. The original passage, its prcis, and an analysis of the prcis follow.

Original Passage
The Clean Air Act of 1970, amended in 1977 and 1981, is one of the basic laws under which EPA operates. Its purpose is to protect and enhance the quality of the nations air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of its population. In order to do that, Congress authorized a national research and development program to prevent and control air pollution. The act also provided for EPA to assist state and local governments in the development and execution of their air quality programs. The Clear Air Act required EPA to set national primary and secondary ambient air quality standards for certain air pollutants. The law also required emission standards for mobile sources ofair pollution (vehicles), and for new stationary sources such as smokestacks. In addition, the act called for regulation of hazardous air pollutants for which no ambient air quality standard is applicable. Another section of the law was designed to protect air quality in national parks, wilderness areas, monuments, seashores, and other areas of special national or regional natural, recreational, scenic, or historic value, and to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in those areas.

Prcis
The Clean Air Act, designed to protect air quality, provides a means for studying and building a program to solve air-pollution problems. The program decides when pollutants become problems by establishing and applying standard levels permissible for various emissions, from moving and stationary sources. The act also addresses clean air standards in protected natural areas such as wildernesses and seashores.

ANALYSIS SCIENCES

OF THE

SAMPLE PRCIS

FOR

SOCIAL

The prcis achieves the goals set for a good summary. Note these specic characteristics:

An original of almost 200 words is reduced to about 60 in the prcis. Eight sentences in the original are reduced to three.

Every major idea is included. The prcis maintains the same organization as the original. Sentence structure and vocabulary are appropriate for the audience.

Sample Prcis for Science


In an ecology class, one student researched insect control, seeking a means of controlling insect damage without upsetting natures balance. She found useful information in the booklet, Teaching Soil and Water Conservation, published by the United States Department of Agriculture. Her prcis and an analysis of it follow. [For further comparison, see Sample Outline for a Summary in Chapter 31, Outlines, for sample notes taken from the following passage. Compare the notes with the prcis that follows.]

Original Passage
The food habits of birds make them especially valuable to agriculture. Because birds have higher body temperatures, more rapid digestion, and greater energy than most other animals, they require more food. Nestling birds make extremely rapid growth, requiring huge amounts of food. They usually consume as much or more than their own weight in soft-bodied insects every day. Young robins have been observed to gain eight times their original weight the first eight days of their life. Insect-eating birds must fill their stomachs five to six times daily because they digest their food so fast and because of the large amount of indigestible material in insects. One young robin, weighing three ounces, consumed 165 cutworms weighing 512 ounces in oneday. If a 10-pound baby ate at the same rate, he would eat 1813 pounds of food in a day. Of course, birds cannot control insects completely, but they are of great value. By using soiland water-conserving practices, farmers and ranchers could probably double the population of helpful birds. Field and farmstead windbreaks, living fences, shrub buffers, grass waterways, and farm ponds are only a few of the many land-use practices useful in attracting and increasing beneficial forms of wildlife.

Prcis
Because of their rapid metabolism, birds daily eat more than their own weight. Because insects are not fully digestible, insect-eating birds may eat nearly twice their weight in these pests. Residents can double the numbers of insect-eaters by providing coniferous trees, dense and thorny shrubs, and ponds to attract them to an area.

ANALYSIS

OF THE

SAMPLE PRCIS

FOR

SCIENCE

The prcis achieves the purpose of a summary. By condensing the long original passage to a manageable paragraph, the writer prepares to incorporate the information directly into her report. Note these specics:

The original passage is reduced from over 200 words to 53 words. Eleven sentences are reduced to three. The supporting details of the original, explaining specics about nestlings
and young robins, do not appear. While the details are interesting, they are unnecessary to convey main ideas. Scientic references not mentioned in the original appear in the prcis. For instance, windbreaks becomes coniferous trees; and living fences and shrub buffers become dense and thorny shrubs. The student recognized windbreaks and living fences as such. The prcis is developed with the ultimate goal of supporting the main idea in the paper. This goal helps determine which ideas go into a prcis, and thus reects editorial judgment. The materials still mirror the content and emphasis of the original. Nothing is distorted, or taken out of context, to meet the goals of the proposed paper.

Sample Technical Prcis


A student studying food preservation chose to investigate the history of canning. She remembered her great-grandmothers tales of working over a woodstove all day, only to have the food spoil three days later. The student wondered what went wrong. The following material is summarized in a prcis that follows.

Original Passage
Not until the nineteenth century did canning become a part of food preservation. Until then, foods were dried, salted, or smoked. In 1795, during the Napoleonic Wars, the French government offered a reward to the first person who could preserve food satisfactory for military use. In 1809, M. Nicholas Appert won the 12,000 francs and earned recognition as the father of canning. Although he used glass bottles, sealed with cork and processed in a hot-water bath, he did not know why his process worked. Ultimately, Louis Pasteur determined why improperly processed foods spoil. Microorganisms found in the air, and on all objects, cause spoilage as soon as they come in contact with food. Only proper sterilization, found Pasteur, could kill these microorganisms.

Prior to 1850, the only sterilization method known to farm women called for canningfirst in tin cans and later in glass jars, both of which had a groove around the top, into which a tin lid fit. Hot food, placed in hot cans or jars and topped with a hot lid, was sealed with hot sealing waxa hard red wax, quite unlike todays paraffin. When dry, the brittle wax seal was broken only by pelting the wax with a blunt object, usually a knife handle. In 1858, John L. Mason invented a glass jar that could receive a screw-on zinc lid sealed by a rubber gasket. For the first time, home canning became easy, economical, and popular. By 1903, Alexander H. Kerr perfected the two-piece lid, a snap lid and a ring, still in use nearly 90 years later. Home canning literally snapped forth a new option for homemakers.

Prcis
M. Nicholas Appert first canned food in 1809 in cork-sealed glass bottles processed in a hotwater bath. Pasteurs discovery that sterilization killed microorganisms and kept food from spoiling explained Apperts success. As a result, women learned to can successfully in tin and glass, using a hard wax to seal the hot food. Then, in 1858, John L. Mason sealed glass jars with a screw-on lid and rubber gasket. Finally, in 1903, Alexander Kerr developed the two-piece lid still in use.

ANALYSIS

OF THE

SAMPLE TECHNICAL PRCIS

The preceding passage exhibits the general characteristics of a good prcis: The original has been reduced by two-thirds. Virtually no supportive details are included. Transitions show relationships between ideas: as a result, then, nally. Every major idea, represented by a paragraph in the original passage, is included. Key words such as processed, hot-water bath, sterilization, microorganisms, hard wax, screw-on lid, rubber gasket, and two-piece lid are included accurately. The writer conceals any personal prejudice. The writing is concise, bare of supportive or illustrative material. The writer avoids plagiarism. Sentences read well, and the paragraph ows well as the result of internal transition.

Using similar techniques will enable you to develop successful prcis for your own work.