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Published: Friday 25th of January 2013

French Essay Example


When you take a look at the best ways in which you can express yourself in French, you will find that there is hardly anything better than by writing an essay. It is said to be, after all, one of the most favorite forms of expressions for popular French thinkers such as Montaigne, Houellebecq, Simone de Beauvoir, and Chateaubriand. However, it is important to note that writing an essay in French is quite different from writing a typical essay that's five paragraphs long and is jotted down in English. As a matter of fact, you find that there is an entirely new line of logic that you have to incorporate for your essay to meet the French standards of structure and formatting. It is not simply jotting down all of your thoughts in a different language because French uses Cartesian logic. Cartesian logic was forged by Descartes Rene, and it requires writers to start with the things/items that are common knowledge to most people, then follow this through by guiding the reader to a logical conclusion. Do all these aspects of writing in French sound intriguing? Soon enough, you will come to master all the secrets and tricks of writing French essays. Below is a detailed exploration of some of the common French essay types, as they are ranked from the easiest to the most challenging, in order to assist you to grasp this concept with more mastery. If you are not attending a French university or high school, you shouldn’t shut away from learning about some of the basic tips for writing an essay using another culture’s language.

The Must-Have Phrases for Writing French Essays

Prior to diving into some of the types of French essays, below are some of the phrases that will undoubtedly prove to be of utmost help for you as you dive into French essay-writing. Introductory Phrases that will assist you to present your new ideas:
  • Firstly - tout d`abord
  • Firstly - premierement
Connecting Phrases that will assist you to connect sections and ideas:
  • And – et
  • In addition- de plus
  • Also - egalement
  • Next - ensuite
  • As well as - ainsi que
  • When, while – lorsque
Contrasting Phrases Their main function is to juxtapose two different ideas. Examples of these include:
  • On the other hand - en revancheHowever - pourtant However, meanwhile - neanmoins
Concluding Phrases These phrases are the tools that you will need to assist you in introducing your essay`s conclusion: Finally - enfin To conclude - Pour conclure In conclusion - En conclusion Finally – finalement

Four French Essay Types and the Best Ways to Come Up With Them

1. Sythese de texte - Text Summary

Text summaries otherwise referred to as "synthese de texte" can be regarded to be among simplest writing exercises that you can wrap your mind around. They majorly entail reading a certain text and afterward summarizing it. This is done in an already established word count, while also making sure that there are no phrases in the initial text that are being repeated. In a text summary, there is little or no use for analysis. A text summary should also be structured in the very same format that’s found in the text which is being crafted. The arguments are supposed to be preserved and also presented in a similar way with no key elements from the initial text being left out. Text Summaries are among the best of exercises that help people to explore the following elements in the French language.
  • Synonyms - This is because you will find the need to search for other words that can describe the details that have been included in the initial text.
  • Nominalization - It involves forming nouns from verbs and helps to cut down on your word count.
  • Vocabulary - Knowing some of the precise terms in French enables you to keep off from excessive paraphrasing and in the long run, help you to truncate your word count.
It is common to find beginners wishing to labor with a single text only, while on the other hand, advanced students can synthesize up to three or so texts in a single text summary. There is an exam known as Concours that allows for entry into Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris, and requires a word count of 300 of about three texts, with a range of 700 to 1500 words. The tolerance degree should be less or more than 10%. Because text summaries are simple, they can prove to be among the best writing exercises that a person can incorporate into their learning curriculum as it will be relevant throughout your learning journey.

2. Commentaire de texte - Text Commentary

The very first writing workout that a student is required to present an examination of the present materials and not a summary only is known as a text commentary. This having been said, it is good to note that a commentaire de texte cannot be classified as a reaction type of piece. This is because it entails an immensely delicate balance between opinion and summary, of which the latter should be presented with the greatest degree of impersonality possible. This is easily done by either using a first person in the general plural tense or a third person, (nous) and (on) respectively. You should note that the first person singular (je) should not be incorporated in a text commentary. The format of writing a commentaire de texte is divided into three main parts which include the following:
  • An Introduction - This is the part where the main text is showcased.
  • An argument - In this section, the text gets analyzed.
  • A conclusion - In this section, the text`s analysis gets elevated and summarized.
Unlike with Sythese de texte, you will be unable to address the full length and components of a particular text when it comes to a commentary. It is not advisable to summarize a text within a commentary, especially if it is just for coming up with a summary’s sake. All the elements of the texts which you talk about in a commentary should be analyzed. For you to achieve success when analyzing texts, you should ensure that you have brushed up the figurative aspect of your language.

3. Antithese, These, Synthese - Dialectic Dissertation

The French commonly answer to dissertations, which are a form of five-paragraph types of essays. Just like the familiar five-paragraph American essay, it normally consists of an introduction which is followed by the body which is made up of paragraphs and finally a conclusion. However, you should note that the flow of logic is distinct. Majorly, there are two types of the dissertation, and each of them has their own rules. The very first dissertation form is known as the dialectic type of dissertation which is also better referred to as thèse, synthèse, antithèse. This form of dissertation usually has only two paragraphs in the body. After you have come up with an introduction, you are then required to postulate a thesis. Following your thesis, you are then supposed to explore its antithesis, which is its opposite. Your final paragraph is referred to as the synthesis, what is commonly known to most people as a conclusion. The synthesis functions to talk about the thesis’ strengths, as well as the antithesis’ weaknesses and strengths of the antithesis. It then ends up concluding with the best reasons as to why the initial thesis can be validated to being correct. A great example is if you take for instance the question to be, “Is there any importance of computers for human brain development?” You could then kick off with a part that shows the manner that computers can be termed as useful especially in the area of advancement of the common human intelligence, from coming up with various models to performing long and complex calculations among many other functions. You could then dive into some of the complications that face human intelligence as a result of computers, while also citing some illustrations of the manner in which proficiency in spelling has declined ever since spell checkers were invented. Finally, you could synthesize all this data and conclude that the “pros outweighed the "cons." The main secret to success when using this layout is coming up with a proper outline before writing. Your thesis should be established and should also have examples. The antithesis should also have some supportive examples as well. Once you have organized all the data within the outline, you can begin writing again, with support from the tools that you have acquired from mastering the commentary and synthesis.

4. Plan Progrssif - Progressive Dissertation

The progressive type of dissertation is less common than the original form, but certainly equally useful. This progressive form entails an examination of ideas through various vantage points. It aims to deepen the mastery of that particular notion, beginning with superficial perspectives and then followed by deep, profound analysis of the notion. If you could view the dialectic type of dissertation to be a scale which weighs the cons and pros of ideas, then the progressive type of dissertation can be viewed to be similar to peeling onions, whereby you are required to uncover more levels as you approach the deeper meaning of an idea. Therefore, this interprets that you are required to follow the layout below:
  • The first exploration of an idea which should be elementary.
  • The second exploration of an idea which is supposed to be philosophical.
  • The third exploration of an idea which is meant to be transcendent.
The above-stated format for dissertations is used more commonly for essays which are crafted in a bid to respond to philosophical questions such as, “What is justice?” or “What is a man?” For instance, we can assume that the question at hand is, “What is war?” In your answer`s first section, you should aim to bring out the dictionary definitions of the question. In this case, you should shed light on the basic ideas of what war is, i.e., armed conflicts between two or more parties (these parties are highly likely to be nations). You could then reinforce this notion by giving examples that help to back up your definition. Also, good keep in mind that you can also narrow down a subject’s definition to the exact degree that is required from you. In light of this, you can say that not every form of conflict qualifies to be called a war or you can explore if the common “War on terror” can be termed as a type of war. In your second part, it is prudent for you to take a philosophical approach to the topic and use a definition which you can provide. Your first task is to explain the methods that you plan to incorporate to analyze your subject fully. The actualization of the plan should follow this. In French, what you will have done is referred to as poser une problématique which means “establishment of your thesis question.” It is done via beginning with writing a question then follow this by exploring using examples. In your third section, you should ensure that you take some steps back then explore the question at hand from afar, taking your time and ensuring that you come up with a natural and logical conclusion as well as an answer for this question. Such a form could turn out to be less useful in most cases as compared to the first essay. However, it is indeed a great form of learning, especially for the people that are interested in pursuing Philosophy. Here are some of the best resources that can assist you to come up with an exceptional progressive dissertation. You will find an excellent guide to crafting progressive dissertations here. These are samples of corrected dissertations that are found in the philosophy section of a baccalaureat examination. The more you make progress in the French language and continue to become more at home with your writing, test yourself with each of the writing exercises that have been elaborated on above. With constant practice, there is a high likelihood that you will end up becoming a pro in everything you touch, be it a dissertation or even a synthese de texte! Finally, it is good to acknowledge that French entails much more than merely writing essays. This means that you should also receive some form of tutoring in the other sectors that make up the French language. One of the best resources that anyone could have at their disposal is FluentU, which is more than competent to assist you in the coverage of the rest of this language`s bases. FluentU allows you to learn French via all-around materials such as content derived from the real world such as commercials, cartoons, music videos, news broadcasts and even inspiring talks among many others. Because the stuff contained in various videos is what the natural French speakers watch on a regular basis, you will be in a great position to learn French in a more refined manner (The way native speakers speak it in this modern life). Just a quick look is all you require to do, and you will instantly have a good clue of the vast array of content that FluentU contains in its stores.
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