English Precis

Precis Writing Complete Guide



Solved CSS English Precis 


How to Master Precis Writing

(The below information is taken from “NEW EDITION HIGH SCHOOL English Grammar & Composition by WREN & MARTIN )


A precis (A French word ( pronounced pressee) connected with the English word Precise) is a summary, and precis-writing means summarising. Precis-writing is an exercise in compression. A precis is a gist or main theme of a passage expressed in as few words as possible. It should be lucid, succinct, and full (i.e. including all essential points) so that anyone on reading it may be able to grasp the main points and general effect of the passage summarised.

Precis-writing must not be confused with paraphrasing. A paraphrase should reproduce not only the substance of a passage but also all its details. It will, therefore, be at least as long as, and probably longer than, the original. But a precis must always be much shorter than the original; for it is meant to express only the main theme, shorn of all unimportant details, and that as tersely as possible. As the styles of writers differ, some being concise and some diffuse, no rigid rule can be laid down for the length of a precis; but so much may be said, that a precis should not contain more than a third of the number of words in the original passage.

I. Uses of Precis-Writing:

1. Precis-writing is a very fine exercise in reading. Most people read carelessly and retain only a vague idea of what they have read. You can easily test the value of your reading. Read in your usual way a chapter, or even a page, of a book; and then, having closed the book try to put down briefly the substance of what you have just read. You will probably find that your memory of it is hazy and muddled. Is this because your memory is weak? No; it is because your attention was not fully centered on the passage while you were reading it. The memory cannot retain what was never given it to hold; you did not remember the passage properly because you did not properly grasp it as you read it. Now precis-writing forces you to pay attention to what you read; for no one can write a summary of any passage unless he has clearly grasped its meaning. So summarizing is an excellent training in concentration of attention. It teaches one to read with the mind, as well as with the eye, on the page.

2. Precis-writing is also a very good exercise in writing a composition. It teaches one how to express one’s thoughts clearly, concisely, and effectively. It is a splendid corrective of the – common tendency to vague and disorderly thinking and loose and diffuse writing.

Have you noticed how an uneducated person tells a story? He repeats himself, brings in a lot of irrelevant matter, omits from its proper place what is essential and drags it in later as an after-thought, and takes twenty minutes to say what a trained thinker would express in five. The whole effect is muddled and tedious. In a precis, you have to work within strict limits. You must express a certain meaning in a fixed number of words. So you learn to choose your words carefully, to construct your sentences with an eye to fullness combined with brevity, and to put your matter in a strictly logical order.

3. So practice in precis-writing is of great value for practical life. In any position of life the ability to grasp quickly and accurately what is read, or heard, and to reproduce it clearly and concisely, is of the utmost value. For lawyers, businessmen, and government officials it is essential.


II. Method of Procedure:

You must make up your mind from the beginning that precis-writing means intensive brain-work. There is no easy short cut to summarizing a passage. To tear the heart out of a passage means concentrated thought, and you must be prepared for close attention and hard thinking.

1. Reading. (a) First read the passage through carefully, but not too slowly, to get a general idea of its meaning. If one reading is not sufficient to give you this clearly, read it over again, and yet again. The more you read it, the more familiar will it become to you, and the clearer will be (i) its subject, and (ii ) what is said about that subject. Ask yourself, “What is it I am reading? What does the author mean? What is his subject? What is he saying about it? Can I put in a few words the pith of what he says?”

(b) Usually, you are required to supply a title for your precis. This is a good stage at which to do this. Think of some word, phrase, or short sentence that will sum up briefly the main subject of the passage. Sometimes this is supplied by what we may call a key-sentence. This key-sentence may be found at the beginning or at the end of the passage.

But you will not always find such convenient key-sentences in the passage you have to summarise. In their absence, you must get a clear idea of the subject from the passage as a whole, and then sum it up in a suitable heading.

The effort to find a suitable title at this stage will help you to define in your mind what exactly the subject or main theme of the passage is.

(c) Further reading is now necessary to ensure that you understand the details of the passage as well as its main purport. Take it now sentence by sentence, and word by word. If the meanings of any words are not clear, look them up in a dictionary. A detailed study of this kind is necessary, because a phrase, a sentence, or even a single word, could be of prime importance, and the misunderstanding of it may cause you to miss the whole point of the passage.

(d) You should now be in a position to decide what parts of the passage are essential and what parts are comparatively unimportant and so can be omitted without any loss. This process of selection is not so easy as some people think. Beginners select, but they often select in a haphazard or mechanical way. It requires some practice to be able to say, “This is essential to the meaning of the passage, and that is only incidental and unimportant.”

The best guide, of course, is the subject or main theme of the passage. If you have a clear and correct idea of that you will soon see what is important and what is unimportant.

At this stage, it is useful to jot down your conclusions in brief notes-writing down the subject, the title, and the details which you consider essential or important. (This is a better plan than underlining sentences and phrases in the original.)

2. Writing. — (a) Rough Drafts:– You should now be ready to attempt the writing of the precis, but be sure of the limits within which it must be compressed. If the number of words is given you, this is easy; but if you are told to reduce the passage to say, a third of its length, count the number of words in the passage and divide by three. You may use fewer words than the number prescribed, but in no case may you exceed the limit.

It is not likely that your first attempt will be a complete success. The draft will probably be too long. In fact, you may have to write out several drafts before you find how to express the gist of the passage fully within the limits set. A good deal of patience and revision will be required before you get it right. It is a good plan to write the first draft without having the actual words of the original passages before one’s eyes.

(b) Important Points:-The following points must be kept in mind:

(i) The precis should be all in your own words. It must not be a patchwork made up of phrases and sentences quoted from the original.

(ii) The precis must be a connected whole. It may be divided into sections or paragraphs, according to changes in the subject matter, but these must not appear as separate notes but must be joined together in such a way as to read continuously.

(iii) The precis must be complete and self-contained; that is, it must convey its message fully and clearly without requiring any reference to the original to complete its meaning.

(iv) It is only the gist, main purport, or general meaning of the passage which you have to express. There is no room in a precis for colloquial expressions, circumlocutions, periphrasis, or rhetorical flourishes. All redundancies of expression must be rigorously pruned. If faithful reproduction of the main theme is the first essential of a summary, conciseness is the second.

(v) The precis must be in simple, direct grammatical and idiomatic English.

(c) The Art of Compression:-You are not bound to follow the original order of thought of the passage to be summarized if you can express its meaning more clearly and concisely by transposing any of its parts.

In condensing, aim rather at remodeling, than at mere omission. We may omit mere repetitions, illustrations, and examples; but we change figures of speech into literal expressions, compress wordy sentences, and alter phrases to words.

Take a few examples:-

“His courage in battle might without exaggeration be called lion-like”.
He was very brave in battle.

“The account the witness gave of the incident moved everyone that heard it to laughter.”
The witness’s story was absurd. “There came to his recollection.” He remembered.

“The clerk who is now in his employ.”
His present clerk.

“They acted in a manner that rendered them liable to prosecution.”
They acted illegally.

“He got up and made a speech on the spur of the moment.”
He spoke off-hand.

“John fell into the river and, before help could reach him, he sank.”
John was drowned in the river.

“He was hard up for money and was being pressed by his creditor.”
He was in financial difficulties.

“The England of our days is so strong and the Spain of our days is so feeble, that it is not possible, without some reflection and care, to comprehend the full extent of the peril which England had from the power and ambition of Spain in the 16th century.”
(51 words.)

We cannot nowadays fully realize what a menace Spain was to England in the 16th century. (16 words.)

(d) Indirect Speech:- As a rule, a precis should be written in indirect speech, after a “verb of saying” in the past tense. For example:-

“Whether we look at the intrinsic value of our literature, or the particular situation of this country, we shall see the strongest reason to think that of all foreign tongues the English tongue is that which would be the most useful to our native subjects.”
– Macaulay

Condensed in indirect speech:-

Lord Macaulay said that England’s noble literature and the universality of her language made English the foreign language most useful for India.

The change from direct to indirect speech calls for attention to the following points:-
(i) Correct sequence of tenses after the “verb of saying” in the past tense.

(ii) Clear differentiation of the various persons mentioned in the passage. Care must be taken with pronouns he, she, and they. To avoid confusion proper names should be used occasionally.

(iii) Correct use of adverbs and other words indicating time.

(iv) Proper choice of “verbs of saying”, to indicate questions, commands, warnings, threats, or exhortations.

Great care must be taken to avoid lapsing into direct speech – a very common fault. Some passages, however, are best summarized in indirect speech.

3. Revision:– When you have made your final draft, carefully revise it before you write out the fair copy. Be sure that its length is within the limits prescribed. Compare it with the original to see that you have not omitted any important point. See whether it reads well as a connected whole, and correct any mistakes in spelling and punctuation, grammar and idiom.

Then write out the fair copy neatly, prefixing the title you have chosen.

III. To Sum up:

1. First carefully read the passage, if necessary, several times, apprehend clearly its main theme or general meaning.

2. Examine the passage in detail, to make sure of the meaning of each sentence, phrase, and word.

3. Supply a short title that will express the subject.

4. Select and note down the important points essential to the expression of the main theme.

5. Note the length of the number of words prescribed for the precis, and write out a first draft.

6. In doing this remember that you are to express the gist of the passage in your own words, and not in quotations from the passage; that you should condense by remodeling than by mere omission; and that your precis must be self-contained and a connected whole. Add nothing; make no comment; correct no facts.

7. Revise your draft Compare it carefully with the original to see that you have included all the important points. If it is too long, still further compress it by omitting unnecessary words and phrases or by remodeling sentences. Correct all mistakes in spelling, grammar, and idiom, and see that it is properly punctuated. Let the language be simple and direct.

8. Write out neatly the fair copy under the heading you have selected.

Passage – 1

One great defect of our civilization is that it does not know what to do with its knowledge. Science, as we have seen, has given us powers fit for the gods, yet we use them like small children.

For example:- we do not know how to manage our machines. Machines were made to be man’s servants; yet he has grown so dependent on them that they are in a fair way to become his masters. Already most men spend most of their lives looking after and waiting upon machines. And the machines are very stern masters. They must be fed with coal, and given petrol to drink, and oil to wash with, and must be kept at the right temperature. And if they do not get their meals when they expect them, they grow sulky and refuse to work, or burst with rage, and blow up, and spread ruin and destruction all round them, So we have to wait upon them very attentively and do all that we can to keep them In a good temper. Already we find it difficult either to work or play without the machines, and a time may come when they will rule us all together, just as we rule the animals.



Title: Men and Machines

We do not know what to do with our knowledge. Science has given us superhuman powers, which we do not use properly. For example, we are unable to manage our machines. Machines should be fed promptly and waited upon attentively; otherwise, they refuse to work or cause destruction. We already find it difficult to do without machines. In the course of time, they may rule over us all together.


Passage – 2

A stamp is, to many people, just a slip of paper that takes a letter from one town or country to another. They are unable to understand why we stamp collectors find so much pleasure in collecting them and how we find the time in which to indulge in our hobby. To them it seems a waste of time, a waste of effort and a waste of money. But they do not realize that there are many who do buy stamps, many who find the effort worth-while and many who, if they did not spend their time collecting stamps, would spend it less profitably. We all seek something to do in our leisure hours and what better occupation is there to keep us out of mischief than that of collecting stamps? An album, a packet of hinges, a new supply of stamps, and the time passes swiftly and pleasantly.

Stamp-collecting has no limits and a collection never has an end; countries are always printing and issuing new stamps to celebrate coronations, great events, anniversaries, and deaths. And the fascination of collecting is trying to obtain these stamps before one’s rivals. Every sphere of stamp-collecting has its fascination – receiving letters from distant countries and discovering old stamps in the leaves of dusty old books. A stamp itself has a fascination all its own. Gazing at its little picture we are transported to the wilds of Congo, the homes of the Arabs, and the endless tracks of the Sahara desert. There is a history in every stamp. The ancient Roman Empire and the Constitution of America, India’s Independence and the Allied victory, are all conveyed to our mind’s eye means of stamps. We see famous men, pictures, writers, scientists, soldiers, politicians, and famous incidents. Stamps, so small and minute, contain knowledge that is vast and important.


Title: Stamp Collecting

To many people a stamp is merely something necessary for sending a letter. They regard stamp-collecting as a waste of time, effort and money. But there are many people who love buying stamps and find this hobby worthwhile and more profitable than other leisure pursuits. Collecting stamps helps to pass the time quickly and pleasantly. Stamp-collecting is limitless and endless. Countries are always issuing stamps to celebrate important events. It is fascinating to receive letters from distant countries and to discover stamps in old books. A stamp itself has a charm. Stamps show us geographical and historical pictures, famous people and incidents. These small things contain vast knowledge.

Solved CSS English Precis






































Passage (1991)


Generally, European trains still stop at borders to change locomotives and staff. This is often necessary. The German and French voltage systems are incompatible. Spain – though not Portugal – has a broad gouge track. English bridges are lower than elsewhere, and passengers on German trains would need a ladder to reach French platforms, twice as high as their own. But those physical constraints pale in comparison to an even formidable barrier – national chauvinism. While officials in Brussels strive for an integrated and efficiently run rail network to relieve the Continent’s gorged roads and airways, and cut down on pollution, three member countries – France, Germany and Italy – are working feverishly to develop their own expensive and mutually incompatible high-speed trains.


Title: The Barriers among European Trains


European trains are incompatible to enter from one European country into another due to the physical barriers between them, but more so the nationalistic tendencies. Officials in Brussels, however, are striving for an integrated rail network, but three member countries are doing the opposite.

Passage word count = 118 words

Precis word count = 44 words

Passage (1992)


Throughout the ages of human development, men have been the subject to miseries of two kinds: those imposed by external nature, and, those that human beings misguidedly inflicted upon each other. At first, by far the worst evils were those that were due to the environment. Man was a rare species, whose survival was precarious. Without the agility of the monkey, without any coating of fur, he has difficulty in escaping from wild beasts, and in most parts of the world could not endure the winter’s cold. He had only two biological advantages: the upright posture freed his hands, and intelligence enabled him to transmit experience. Gradually these two advantages gave him supremacy. The numbers of the human species increased beyond those of any other large mammals. But nature could still assert her power by means of flood and famine and pestilence and by exacting from the great majority of mankind incessant toil in the securing of daily bread. In our own day our bondage to external nature is fast diminishing, as a result of the growth of scientific intelligence. Famines and pestilence still occur, but we know-better, year by year, what should be done to prevent them. Hard work is still necessary, but only because we are unwise: given peace and co-operation, we could subsist on a very moderate amount of toil. With existing technique, we can, whenever we choose to exercise wisdom, be free of many ancient forms of bondage to external nature. But the evils that men inflict upon each other have not diminished in the same degree. There are still wars, oppressions, and hideous cruelties, and greedy men still snatch wealth from those who are less skillful or less ruthless than themselves. Love of power still leads to vast tyrannies or to mere obstruction when its grosser forms are impossible. And fear – deep, scarcely conscious fear – is still the dominant motive in very many lives.


 Title: Mankind’s Self-Inflicted Misery


Men have been suffering two types of miseries: external nature, and those that humans inflicted upon each other. Man’s survival was in danger, however, two advantages: the upright posture, and intelligence gave him the ascendancy. The population of humans kept increasing beyond those of any other large animals. Still, nature wreaked havoc on mankind through natural calamities. But due to scientific advancement, we are no longer that affected as we were before. With peaceful co-existence, men can survive with a modest amount of hard work, but tyranny still persists because of man’s desire for power. And, fear still lives on in our lives.

Passage word count = 321 words

Precis word count = 103 words

Passage (1993)


The best aid to give is intellectual aid, a gift of useful knowledge. A gift of knowledge is infinitely preferable to a gift of material things. There are many reasons for this. Nothing becomes truly one’s own except on the basis of some genuine effort or sacrifice. Gift of material goods can be appropriated by the recipient without effort or sacrifice; it therefore rarely becomes his own and is all too frequently and easily treated as a mere windfall. A gift of intellectual goods, a gift of knowledge, is a very different matter. Without a genuine effort of appropriation on the part of the recipient there is no gift. To appropriate the gift and to make it one’s own is the same thing, and ‘neither moth nor rust doth corrupt’. The gift of knowledge also has far more lasting effects and is far more closely relevant to the concept of ‘development’. Give a man a fish, as the saying goes, and you are helping him a little bit for a very short time, teach him the act of fishing, and he can help himself all his life. Further, if you teach him to make his own fishing net, you have helped him to become not only self-supporting, but also self-reliant and independent, man and businessman. This then should become the ever-increasing preoccupation of aid-programmes to make men self-reliant and independent by the generous supply of the appropriate intellectual gifts, gifts of relevant knowledge on the methods of self-help. This approach, incidentally, has also the advantage of being relatively cheap, of making money go a long way. For POUNDS 100/- you may be able to equip one man with certain means of production, hut for the same money you well be able to teach and hundred men to equip themselves. Perhaps a little ‘pump priming’ by way of material goods will in some cases, be helpful to speed the process of development. (E.F. Schumacher).



Title: Gift of Knowledge is Superior to Financial Aid

Intellectual aid is preferable to a material gift because applying knowledge to produce or create something requires effort so one can claim it to be their own creation whereas it takes no effort to receive a material good as it is someone else’s work; the gift of knowledge makes people independent whereas a material gift makes them dependent; the benefits of a gift of knowledge lasts longer and is more akin to the notion of development. This is what the aid-programs should be like i.e. provide the knowledge to make people self-reliant. This method is also comparatively cheap. Maybe, in some situations, a little financial aid would boost the process of development.

Passage word count = 321 words

Precis word count = 112 words

Passage (1994)


“Education does not develop autonomously: it tends to be a mirror of society and is seldom at the cutting edge of social change. It is retrospective, even conservative, since it teaches the young what others have experienced and discovered – about the world. The future of education will be shaped not by educators, but by changes in demography, technology and the family. It sends – to prepare students to live and work in their society – are likely to remain stable, buts means are likely to change dramatically”.

“Schools, colleges and universities will be redefined in fundamental ways: who is educated, how they are educated, where are educated – all are due for upheaval. But their primary responsibility will be much the same as it is now: to teach knowledge of languages, science, history, government, economics, geography, mathematics and the arts, as well, as the skills necessary to understand today’s problems and to use its technologies. In the decades ahead, there will be a solid consensus that, as Horace Mann, an American educator, wrote in 1846, “Intelligence is a primary ingredient in the wealth of nations”. In recognition of the power of this idea, education will be directed purposefully to develop intelligence as a vital national resource”. Even as nations recognize the value of education in creating human capital, the institutions that provide education will come under increasing strain. State systems of education may not survive demographic and technological change. Political upheavals in unstable regions and the case of international travel will ensure a steady flow of immigrants, legal and illegal, from poor nations to rich ones. As tides of immigration sweep across the rich world, the receiving nations have a choice: they can assimilate the newcomers to the home of culture, or they can expect a proliferation of cultures within their borders. Early this century, state systems assimilated newcomers and taught them how to fit in. Today social science frowns on assimilation, seeing it as a form of cultural coercion, so state systems of education are likely to eschew cultural imposition. In effect, the state schools may encourage trends that raise doubts about the purpose or necessity of a state system of education”. (Diane Ravieh).



Title: Future of Education


Education is a reflection of society. It teaches us about past events, our cultural and societal norms. It is through the medium of education that the students learn to live and work in their society. Educational institutions would undergo some fundamental changes because of changes in demography, technology, and the family; and these changes would determine the future of education. However, the basic objective of education – to impart knowledge of different subjects – would remain the same. But due to increasing immigration to the rich nations, their State system of education could be overwhelmed; they can either assimilate the immigrants to the new culture or let them stay true to their traditional culture. In reality, State schools could question the value of the State system of education.

Passage word count = 360 words

Precis word count = 128 words

Passage (1995)


When you see a cockroach or a bed-bug your first reaction is one of disgust and that is immediately, followed by a desire to exterminate the offensive creature. Later, in the garden, you see a butterfly or a dragonfly, and you are filled with admiration at its beauty and grace. Man’s feelings towards insects are ambivalent. He realizes that some of them for example, flies and cockroaches are threats to health. Mosquitoes and tsetse flies have in the past sapped the vitality of entire tribes or nations. Other insects are destructive and cause enormous losses. Such are locusts, which can wipe out whole areas of crops in minutes; and termites, whose often insidious ravages, unless checked at an early stage, can end in the destructing of entire rows – of houses. Yet men’s ways of living may undergo radical changes if certain species of insects were to become extinct. Bees, for example, pollinate the flowers of many plants which are food sources. In the past, honey was the only sweetening agent known to man in some remote parts of the world. Ants, although they bite and contaminate man’s food are useful scavengers which consume waste material that would otherwise pollute the environment. Entomologists who have studied insect fossils believe them to have inhabited the earth for nearly 400 million years. Insects live in large numbers almost everywhere in the world, from the hottest deserts and the deepest caves to the peaks of – high mountains and even the snows of the polar caps. Some insect communities are complex in organizations, prompting men to believe that they possess an ordered intelligence. But such organized behavior is clearly not due to – developed brains. If we have to compare them to humans, bee and ant groups behave like extreme totalitarian societies. Each bee or ant seems to have a determined role to play instinctively and does so without deviation. The word “instinct” is often applied to insect behavior. But some insect behavior appears so clear that one tends to think that some sort of intelligence is at work. For example, the worker bee, upon relating to the hive after having found a new source of nectar, communicates his discovery by a kind of dance which tells other bees the direction and distance away of the nectar.



Title: The Relationship between Insects and Humans


On one hand, humans admire the beauty of some harmless insects, and on the other, intend to exterminate other harmful insects. If human beings decide to get rid of the dangerous and destructive insects, it will negatively affect their food sources, and cause deterioration of the environment. Insects exist in every climate and throughout the world. Insect communities like bee and ants, compared to humans, behave like extremely dictatorial societies. Some insects groups behave in an organized and complex manner – leading men to believe that they are intelligent creatures. But that is not true; it is due to their instincts. The behavior of some insects, like the worker bee, although, appears to be attributable to their intelligence.

 Passage word count = 381 words

Precis word count = 118 words

Passage (1996)


Along with the new revelations of science and psychology there have also occurred distortions of what is being discovered. Most of the scientists and psychologists have accepted Darwin’s theory of evolution and his observations on “survival of the fittest” as a final word. While enunciating his postulate on the concept of the fittest, Darwin primarily projected physical forecast the main criterion, and remained unmindful of the culture of mind, the psychologist, on the other hand, in his exclusive involvement with the psyche, has overlooked the potential of man’s physical-self and the world outside him. No synthesis has been attempted between the two with the obvious result of the one being sacrificed at the altar of the other. This has given birth to a civilization which is wholly based on economic considerations, transforming man into a mere “economic being” and limiting, his pleasures and sorrows to sensuous cravings. With the force of his craft and guns, this man of the modern world gave birth to two cannibalistic philosophies, the cunning capitalism and the callous communism. They joined hands to block the evolution of man as a cultural entity, denuding him of the feelings of love, sympathy, and humanness. Technologically, man is immensely powerful; culturally, he is the creature of Stone Age, as lustful as ever and equally ignorant of his destiny. The two world wars and the resultant attitudes display harrowing distortion of the purposes of life and power. In this agonizing situation the Scientist is harnessing forces of nature, placing them at the feet of his country’s leaders, to be used against people in other parts of the world. This state of his servility makes the functions of the scientist appear merely to push humanity to a state of perpetual fear, and lead man to the inevitable destruction as a species with his own inventions and achievements. This irrational situation raises many questions. They concern the role of a scientist, the function of religion, the conduct of politician who is directing the course of history, and the future role of man as a species. There is an obvious mutilation of the purpose of creation, and the relationship between Cosmos, Life, and Man is hidden from eyes; they have not been viewed collectively.



Title: Man’s Search for Meaning Gone Wrong


With the unearthing of new findings in science and psychology, there have also been contortions. We have Darwin’s theory of evolution which emphasized the role of the physical environment for survival, though, ignored the influence of the mind; and we have the psychologist, who emphasized the involvement of psyche, but excluded man’s physical state and the nature around him. No unification of the above two revelations has been undertaken, which has led, to a civilization purely based on economic means that has deprived man of the feelings of compassion. Man’s destructive attitude goes against the purpose of life, and so questions the role of all segments of society. We can safely say that the relationship between the world, life, and man has not been considered in harmony.


Passage word count = 372 words

Precis word count = 127 words

Passage (1998)


Lying is indeed an accursed vice. We are men, and we have relations with one another only by speech. If we recognized the horror and gravity of an untruth, we should more justifiably punish it with fire than any other crime. I commonly find people taking the most ill-advised pains to correct their children for their harmless faults, and worrying them about heedless acts which leave no trace and have no consequences. Lying – and in a lesser degree obstinacy – are, in my opinion, the only faults whose birth and progress we should consistently oppose. They grow with a child’s growth, and once the tongue has got the knack of lying, it is difficult to imagine how impossible it is to correct it. Whence it happens that we find some otherwise excellent men subject to this fault and enslaved by it. I have a decent lad as my tailor, whom I have never heard to utter a single truth, even when it would have been to his advantage. If, like the truth, falsehood had only one face, we should know better where we are, for we should then take the opposite of what a liar said to be the truth. But the opposite of a truth has a hundred thousand shapes and a limitless field. The Pythagoreans regard good as certain and finite, and evil as boundless and uncertain. There are a thousand ways of missing the bull’s eye, only one of hitting it. I am by no means sure that I could induce myself to tell a brazen and deliberate lie even to protect myself from the most obvious and extreme danger. St Augustine said that we are better off in the company of a dog we know than in that of a man whose language we do not understand. Therefore, those of different nations do not regard one another as men and how much less friendly is false speech than silence.




 Title: The Evil of Lying


Lying is an evil act. If we had accepted how bad a sin lying is, we would have made it a grave offense. People try to correct their children’s harmless doings. Instead, lying and to a lesser extent, obstinacy are the wrongdoings we must stand up to. Once you start lying, it becomes a habit, and then it is difficult to get away with it. Some really good people become accustomed to lying. If like truth, the lie had but one face, we would accept the opposite of what the liar said. I cannot persuade myself to tell an intentional lie, even if it leaves me in danger. And silence is better than lying.

Passage word count = 324 words

Precis word count = 114 words

Passage (1999)


To have faith in the dignity and worth of the individual man as an end in himself, to believe that it is better to be governed by persuasion than by coercion, to believe that fraternal goodwill is more worthy than a selfish and contentions spirit, to believe that in the long run all values are inseparable from the love of truth and the disinterested search for it, to believe that knowledge and the power it confers should be used to promote the welfare and happiness of all men, rather than to serve the interests of those individual and classes whom fortune and intelligence endow with temporary advantage – these are the values which are affirmed by the traditional democratic ideology. The case of democracy is that it accepts the rational and humane values as ends and proposes as the means of realizing them the minimum of coercion and the maximum of voluntary assent. We may well abandon the cosmological temple in which the democratic ideology originally enshrined these values, without renouncing the faith it was designed to celebrate. The essence of that faith is belief in the capacity of man, as a rational and humane creature to achieve the good life by rational and humane means. The Chief virtue of democracy and the sole reason for cherishing it is that with all its faults it still provides the most favourable conditions for achieving that end by those means.




Title: The Best Feature of Democracy


The values of traditional democracy include: a belief in the individual, to believe in being governed by persuasion, to valuing brotherhood rather than selfishness, to believe in the value of selflessness, and in promoting the well-being of people instead of working for only the privileged classes. The original values of democracy may have been neglected, but it acknowledges the values of humanness, and its foremost feature is that it lays the groundwork to achieve welfare for the people despite its many flaws.

Passage word count = 238 words

Precis word count = 82 words

Passage (2002)


The official name of our species is homo sapiens; but there are many anthropologists who prefer to think of man as homo Faber-the Smith, the maker of tools it would be possible. I think, to reconcile these two definitions in a third. If man is a knower and an efficient doer, it is only because he is also a talker. In order to be Faber and Sapiens, Homo must first be loquax, the loquacious one. Without language we should merely be hairless chimpanzees. Indeed we should be something much worse. Possessed of a high IQ but no language, we should be like the Yahoos of Gulliver’s Travels- Creatures too clever to be guided by instinct, too Self-centered to live in a state of animal grace, and therefore condemned forever, frustrated and malignant, between contented ape hood and aspiring’ humanity. It was language that made possible the accumulation of knowledge and the broadcasting of information. It was language that permitted the expression of religious insight, the formulation of ethical ideals, the codification to laws, It was language, in a word, that turned us into human beings and gave birth to civilization.





Title: Language: the Difference between Humans and Apes.


The species of humans is called Homo sapiens, however, many anthropologists call them Homo Faber. For a Man to be capable, and to be Faber and Sapiens, it is only because he can communicate. It is through the use of language that we got transformed into knowledgeable, ethical, and civilized human beings, and gained religious understanding, and were able to carry out lawmaking, or else would have remained apes.


Passage word count = 190 words

Precis word count = 69 words

Passage (1979)


Probably the only protection for contemporary man is to discover how to use his intelligence in the service of love and kindness. The training of human intelligence must include the simultaneous development of the empathic capacity. Only in this way can intelligence be made an instrument of social morality and responsibility – and thereby increase the chances of survival. The need to produce human beings with trained morally sensitive intelligence is essentially a challenge to educators and educational institutions. Traditionally, the realm of social morality was left to religion and the churches as guardians or custodians. But their failure to fulfill this responsibility and their yielding to the seductive lures of the men of wealth and pomp and power and documented by the history of the last two thousand years and have now resulted in their relevant “God is Dead” theological rhetoric. The more pragmatic men of power have had no time or inclination to deal with the fundamental problems of their decisions – power is morality, morality is power. This oversimplification increases the chances of nuclear devastation. We must therefore hope that educators and educational institutions have the capacity, the commitment and the time to instill moral sensitivity as an integral part of the complex pattern of function human intelligence. Some way must be found in the training of human beings to give them the assurance to love, the security to be kind, and the integrity required for a functional empathy.


Title: Social Morality – the Key to our Survival


The only defense for modern-day man is by using his intelligence for the love of humanity. The religious preachers have failed in promoting social morality and have conformed to the men of power, who are not interested to question the morality of their decisions – which can increase the likelihood of nuclear destruction. Hence, it is a test for educators to produce morally upright men and include social morality as an essential part of human intelligence – thus ensuring our safety. Humans must be trained to be kind and caring.

Passage word count = 240 words

Precis word count =  89 words

Passage (2020)


Manto was a victim of social ambivalence that converged on self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and mental obtuseness. His detractors branded him as vulgar and obscene and implicated him into a long-drawn battle questioning the moral validity of his writings. Without being deterred by their negative tactics, he remained firm in his commitment to exploring the stark realities of life offensive to the conservative taste of some self-styled purists. In the line of Freud, he sought to unravel the mysteries of sex not in an abstract, non-earthly manner but in a palpable, fleshy permutation signifying his deep concern for the socially disabled and depressed classes of society, like petty wage-earners, pimps, and prostitutes.

For Manto, man is neither an angel nor a devil, but a mix of both. His middle and lower middle class characters think, feel and act like human beings. Without feigning virtuosity, he was able to strike a rapport with his readers on some of the most vital socio-moral issues concerning them. As a realist, he was fully conscious of the yawning gap between appearance and reality; in fact, nothing vexed him more than a demonstrable duality in human behavior at different levels of the social hierarchy. He had an unjaundiced view of man’s faults and follies. As a literal artist, he treated vulgarity discreetly — without ever sounding vulgar in the process. Like Joyce, Lawrence, and Caldwell, in Manto’s work too, men and women of the age find their own restlessness accurately mirrored. And like them, Manto was also ‘raised above his own self by his somber enthusiasm’.




Title: Manto’s Writings Exposed Society’s Contradictions


A victim of society’s contradictions, Manto, questioned the self-righteous and hypocritical attitudes of so-called purists. And despite them calling his writings vulgar, he continued exposing the reality. Manto disclosed the dual standards of human behavior in an unbiased and unvulgar manner. His readers became a fan of his writings on socio-moral issues.

According to Manto, man is a mix of good and evil. His concern for the lower segments of society was evident. People could relate their restiveness to Manto’s writings, and like other great writers, he became bigger than himself.

Passage word count = 259 words

Precis word count = 90 words

Note: (The below passage is exactly the same as the 1979 passage).

Passage (2014) 


Probably the only protection for contemporary man is to discover how to use his intelligence in the service of love and kindness. The training of human intelligence must include the simultaneous development of the empathic capacity. Only in this way can intelligence be made an instrument of social morality and responsibility – and thereby increase the chances of survival. The need to produce human beings with trained morally sensitive intelligence is essentially a challenge to educators and educational institutions. Traditionally, the realm of social morality was left to religion and the churches as guardians or custodians. But their failure to fulfill this responsibility and their yielding to the seductive lures of the men of wealth and pomp and power and documented by the history of the last two thousand years and have now resulted in their relevant “God is Dead” theological rhetoric. The more pragmatic men of power have had no time or inclination to deal with the fundamental problems of their decisions – power is morality, morality is power. This oversimplification increases the chances of nuclear devastation. We must therefore hope that educators and educational institutions have the capacity, the commitment and the time to instill moral sensitivity as an integral part of the complex pattern of function human intelligence. Some way must be found in the training of human beings to give them the assurance to love, the security to be kind, and the integrity required for a functional empathy.




Title: Social Morality – the Key to our Survival


The only defense for modern-day man is by using his intelligence for the love of humanity. The religious preachers have failed in promoting social morality and have conformed to the men of power, who are not interested to question the morality of their decisions – which can increase the likelihood of nuclear destruction. Hence, it is a test for educators to produce morally upright men and include social morality as an essential part of human intelligence – thus ensuring our safety. Humans must be trained to be kind and caring.

Passage word count = 240 words

Precis word count =  90 words

Passage (2018)


It is in the temperate countries of northern Europe that the beneficial effects of cold are most manifest. A cold climate seems to stimulate energy by acting as an obstacle. In the face of an insuperable obstacle our energies are numbed by despair; the total absence of obstacles, on the other hand leaves no room for the exercise and training of energy; but a struggle against difficulties that we have a fair hope of over-coming, calls into active operation all our powers. In like manner, while intense cold numbs human energies, and a hot climate affords little motive for exertion, moderate cold seems to have a bracing effect on the human race. In a moderately cold climate man is engaged in an arduous, but no hopeless struggles and with the inclemency of the weather. He has to build strong houses and procure thick clothes to keep himself warm. To supply fuel for his fires, he must hew down trees and dig coal out of the earth. In the open air, unless he moves quickly, he will suffer pain from the biting wind. Finally, in order to replenish the expenditure of bodily tissue caused by his necessary exertions, he has to procure for himself plenty of nourishing food. Quite different is the lot of man in the tropics. In the neighbourhood of the equator there is little need of clothes or fire, and it is possible with perfect comfort and no danger to health, to pass the livelong day stretched out on the bare ground beneath the shade of a tree. A very little fruit or vegetable food is required to sustain life under such circumstances, and that little can be obtained without much exertion from the bounteous earth. We may recognize must the same difference between ourselves at different seasons of the year, as there is between human nature in the tropic and in temperate climes. In hot weather we are generally languid and inclined to take life easily; but when the cold season comes, we find that we are more inclined to vigorous exertion of our minds and bodies.



Title: Climate Impacts Man’s extent of Exertion


The favorable effects of cold are most evident in northern European countries that have a mild climate. Moderately cold temperatures encourage you to be more active even though you’re faced with problems, but it is bearable; however, extreme cold temperature numbs you, whereas a hot climate decreases your drive to be active. The most comfortable and convenient climate is in the ‘tropical region’; you need not light any fires, wear warm clothes, and build a house that can protect you from cold unlike in a moderately cold climate. The change in climate affects humans in their level of energy. In hot temperatures, we are prone to be lazy, while in cold temperatures, we are prone to be more active.

Passage word count = 350 words

Precis word count =  119 words

Passage (2019) 


I think modern educational theorists are inclined to attach too much importance to the negative virtue of not interfering with children, and too little to the positive merit of enjoying their company. If you have the sort of liking for children that many people have for horses or dogs, they will be apt to respond to your suggestions, and to accept prohibitions, perhaps with some good-humoured grumbling, but without resentment. It is no use to have the sort of liking that consists in regarding them as a field for valuable social endeavour, or what amounts to the same thing as an outlet for power-impulses. No child will be grateful for an interest in him that springs from the thought that he will have a vote to be secured for your party or a body to be sacrificed to king and country. The desirable sort of interest is that which consists in spontaneous pleasure in the presence of children, without any ulterior purpose. Teachers who have this quality will seldom need to interfere with children’s freedom, but will be able to do so, when necessary, without causing psychological damage.

Unfortunately, it is utterly impossible for over-worked teachers to preserve an instinctive liking for children; they are bound to come to feel towards them as the proverbial confectioner’s apprentice does towards macaroons. I do not think that education ought to be anyone’s whole profession: it should be undertaken for at most two hours a day by people whose remaining hours are spent away from children. The society of the young is fatiguing, especially when strict discipline is avoided. Fatigue, in the end, produces irritation, which is likely to express itself somehow, whatever theories the harassed teacher may have taught himself or herself to believe. The necessary friendliness cannot be preserved by self-control alone. But where it exists, it should be unnecessary to have rules in advance as to how “naughty” children are to be treated, since impulse is likely to lead to the right decision, and almost any decision will be right if the child feels that you like him. No rules, however wise, are a substitute for affection and tact.




Title: The Right Way to Teach Children


Modern educators put a lot of stress on not interfering with children and very little stress on enjoying their presence. If you love children, they will respond positively to your advice and accept prohibitions without any ill will. It is no good to like children for exercising power on them. The best way is to love their presence without any hidden objective, and such teachers will not intervene with children’s freedom, but only do so when required. For over-burdened teachers, however, it is not possible – that’s why they should teach them for only two hours a day. Rules set to treat naughty children are needless, instead, your instincts will lead you to do the right thing. After all, rules are not a replacement for love and consideration.


Passage word count = 359 words

Precis word count = 128 words

Passage (2012) 


One of the most ominous and discreditable symptoms of the want of candour in present-day sociology is the deliberate neglect of the population question. It is, or should be, transparently clear that, if the state is resolved, on humanitarian grounds, to inhibit the operation of natural selection, some rational regulation of population, both as regards quality and quantity, is imperatively necessary. There is no self-acting adjustment, apart from starvation, of numbers to the means of subsistence. If all natural checks are removed, a population in advance of the optimum number will be produced and maintained at the cost of a reduction in the standard of living. When this pressure begins to be felt, that section of the population which is capable of reflection and which has a standard of living which may be lost will voluntarily restrict its numbers, even to the point of failing to replace death by an equivalent number of new births; while the underworld, which always exists in every civilized society. The failure and misfits and derelicts, moral and physical will exercise no restraint and will be a constantly increasing drain upon the national resources. The population will thus be recruited in a very undue proportion by those strata of society which do not possess the qualities of useful citizens.

The importance of the problem would seem to be sufficiently obvious. But politicians know that the subject is unpopular. The urban have no votes. Employers are like a surplus of labour, which can be drawn upon when trade is good. Militarists want as much food for powder as they can get. Revolutionists instinctively oppose any real remedy for social evils; they know that every unwanted child is a potential insurgent. All three can appeal to a Quasi-Religious prejudice, resting apparently on the ancient theory of natural rights which were supposed to include the right of unlimited procreation. This objection is now chiefly urged by celibate or childless priests; but it is held with such fanatical vehemence that the fear of losing the votes which they control is a welcome excuse for the baser sort of politicians to shelve the subject as inopportune. The socialist calculation is probably erroneous; for experience has shown that it is aspiration, not desperation, that makes revolutions.

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