Rhetorical Précis

By Keilyn Michaelis

What is it?


You must give the following:

-name of the author, title of the work, date in parenthesis;

-a rhetorically accurate verb (such as "assert," "argue," "deny," "refute," "prove," disprove," "explain," etc.);

-a that clause containing the major claim (thesis statement) of the work.

In the next sentence, give an explanation of how the author develops and supports the major claim (thesis statement).


For the sentence after, give a statement of the author's purpose, followed by an "in order" phrase.


Then the last sentence, give a description of the intended audience and/or the relationship the author establishes with the audience.

When do you use it?


A rhetorical précis is used when you are trying to persuade another or get the audience to see your views and agree with you. It is usually in the bigginning of your speech or writings to really capture the audiences attention.

How do you use it?


Rhetorical précis is used in arguments to support claims and respond to opposing arguments. Logos, ethos, and pathos are also very important techniques to use when using rhetorical précis. By using logos, pathos, and ethos, you are appealing to people's emotion, values, and reason.

Why do you use it?


You use rhetorical précis because it uses a lot of depth to a person's beliefs and tells the audience why it's important, how it connects to people, and how it supports the major claims.