Students at both basic and advanced levels of French study are required to write essays in French. It demonstrates a grasp of grammar and vocabulary, and it also demonstrates students' ability to express themselves in a foreign language in a method apart from memorisation and recitation. When planning a French essay, remember that is not much different from planning an essay in your own native language.
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Choose a Straightforward Topic
When writing a French essay, reduce the variables that you have to worry about by choosing a straightforward topic. Choose a topic on which there is a great deal of available information. At the lower levels of French study, your essay will likely be a collection of facts. Choose a person, a place or a thing that you can describe, rather than a concept. This keeps your research simple and it will prevent you from needing to find a way of explaining a number of complicated, ephemeral concepts.
Choose Your Tenses
For the most part, when you are writing a French essay, you will be writing in the past tense. Figure out what tenses you need to adequately explain your topic and familiarise yourself with them. While you cannot make a list of all the verbs you are going to use, you can plan out the tenses, which will make looking them up and using them much more straightforward.
Write in French
Especially when you are writing in a higher-level French course, write your essay from the start in French. It can be tempting to first write the essay in your native language and then to translate, but this does not give you the fluidity and ease of expression that the instructor is looking for. Write the essay in French from the beginning to demonstrate your command over French idiom and flow.
Plan Your Essay
Do not simply sit down and start writing your essay. Instead, sit down and on a sheet of blank paper, write down the thesis of your essay, or the main point. Then write down the information that you would like to cover and how you want to organise the essay. When you are writing an essay in French, advanced organisation gives you a prompt when you are fumbling for the right words.
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