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To produce good quality essays in French it is important not to think it out in English and try to translate it.
Widen your French vocabulary as much as possible. Use the new words you have learnt as much as possible.
Learn phrases, clauses and sentences that will be useful in an essay. Try to develop a good French style.
Think strategicaly about how to approach a writing assignment.
- Taking in the title. Underline keywords and if necessary check their meanings. Think about the title.
- Gathering material. Collect notes from various sources.
- Generating ideas. Get your ideas down on paper, jot down thoughts, sample sentences.
- Planning. Organise your notes into a simple and coherent outline plan.
- First draft. Check your work for structure and language mistakes as you go along.
- Reviewing. Read over your work and correct errors and omissions
- Final draft. Word process or write legibly. Your general presentations should be good - first impressions do count!.
You will write a piece of French usually a letter, report or article from a printed stimulus.
- Read the question carefully and make sure you understand it. Don't rush to start writing.
- Use your phrases and vocabularly well. Write as fluently as you can. Don't repeat phrases, use a variety.
- Check your work carefully and methodically.
- Keep within thw word limit - most important!
You will not have time to do all the 7 steps in an exam!
Choose your title carefully. By now you should know what kind of essay you prefer writing so choose carefully.
Usually there are 3 types:
- creative e.g.writing about a photo, a newspaper article
- discursive e.g. current affairs, European issues, social problems.
- task based e.g. a letter, and advert, a report.
A good essay will include:
- A relevant introduction. Keep it fairly breif, get down to the business of the essay quickly.
- A coherent development. Sort out your points and present them in a strctured way, giving your essay a beginning, a middle and an end.
- A strong conclusion. The conclusion should show the reader that you have really 'answered the question' or 'repsonded to the title'.
- Check your work e.g. go through the verbs then the adjectives, gender spelling.
- Count the words. It is very important to keep within the word limit. If your essay is too long, it could cut out your conclusion and therefore lose you marks.
- Use as many tenses as you can (correctly!).
Learn a few of these to use in essays.
|tout d'abord||first of all|
|d'une part... d'autre part||on one hand... on the other hand|
|par contre||on the contrary|
|néanmoins||never the less|
|il est donc question de...||it is therefore a question of|
|il paraît donc évident que...||it appears therefore clear that|
|quant à||as for/ regarding|
|au niveau (international)||at the (international) level|
|il faut donc rappeler que||it is necessary therefore to remember|
|il est certain que||it is certain that|
|l'important, c'est||the important thing is|
|il ne faut pas oublier que||you must not forget that|
|en conclusion||in conclusion|
|tout bien considéré||all things considered|
|après tout||after all|
|en fin de compte||at the end of the day|
|ce que je dis, en fait, c'est...||what I am saying, in fact, is...|
Some phrases and clauses.
1. Telling stories in the past.
|il y a deux mois||2 months ago|
|aprés avoir fini||after finishing|
|comme elle sortait||as she was going out|
|à ce moment - là||at that moment|
|pendant son séjour||during his stay|
|longtemps||for a long time|
|de temps en temps||from time to time|
|au printemps||in the spring|
|en éte/automne/ hiver||in the Summer/Autumn/Winter|
|c'était le deux janvier||it was the 2nd of January|
|vendredi dernier||last Friday|
|Je lui ai dit||I told him|
|avant - hier||the day before yesterday|
|hier matin||yesterday morning.|
2. The future
|tout de suite||immediately|
|dans deux heures||in 2 hours|
|vers huit heures ce soir||about 8 o'clock this evening|
|la semaine prochaine||next week|
|à l'heure||on time|
|nous arriverons vers midi||we will get there about midday|
3. Joining words
|d'abord||first of all|
|aprés cela||after that|
|un peu plus tard||a little later|
|une heure plus tard||an hour later|
|une fois arrivé(e)||after arriving|
|malgré tout||despite everything|
|un vieil homme||an old man|
|aux cheveux blancs et courts||with white short hair|
|il portrait des lunettes||he was wearing glasses|
|il était petit||he was short/small|
|une jeune fille||a young girl with blonde hair|
|elle portait un jean et un T-shirt bleu||she was wearing jeans and a blue T-shirt|
|âgée de seize ans||aged 16|
|elle écoutait la musique||she was listening to music|
|qui portait une boîte||who was carrying a box|
There is usually a journalistic style essay in the creative section you will probably use third person singular and plural a lot in this type of writing so make sure you have revised your verbs thoroughly!
Ensure you can lay out a letter in the correct way:
1. A formal letter
Bristol le 14 mai (usually you put the town and date)
Monsieur / Madame (Dear Sir/ Madam)
- Veuillez agreér, Monsieur / Madame l'assurance de nos sentiments distingués
- Je vous prie d'agreér Monsieur / Madame l'expression de mes sentiments les plus distingués
2. A more informal letter to someone you know (or at least their name)
Chamonix le 20 novembre
Chère Madame Marceau (Dear Mrs Marceau)
Bien cordialement (Your Sincerley)