French rules to build an essay

Publié le par Bettizpod

Here is a question from Sara, from Australia, who apparently has some troubles with the French rules about essays...:

My teacher gave me a bad grade on an essay , in french of course,  on the topic "Does technology make us lazy"  because I put my opinion in the introduction . She told the standard form in France for an essay is  that you put your opinion in the conclusion . That does not make any sense to me . Could someone verify this for me ? Thank you so much !!!

First of all don't worry dear Sara, even if I'm french I have been also in the same situation...!!

The most important in a french essay is the structure and maybe even more than the contents.
The structure is really essential. That's what we all learn at the University :)

Be aware that it is necessary to build all foundations of the essay before building your argumentation. If you succeed to build a good framework all the rest will come fluently....!
And keep in mind that introduction and conclusion must to be written better at the end of your work rather than at the beginning, I mean when you have completed all your argumentation.

Here is the procedure to be followed to build a essay:

1) You must find "the problem" ( = la problèmatique in French)

The problèmatique is the most important thing which will help you to settle the structure of your essay.
This problem must come from the subject itself.
In fact, here in your subject "Does technologiy make us lazy" you have all details to build the problèmatique thanks to the terms technology / make / lazy.
The problèmatique could be : Is people became lazy because of the technology? Is it technology or men who must be blamed? Is technology responsible of the general lazyness?
Only one sentence must be sufficient to summarize this famous problem that will be necessary to solve in your argumentation.

2) When you have found the problèmatique you must build your argumentation.

Generally your argumentation will be structured in 2 or 3 parts.
You can support one thesis in the first part, to support a second thesis in the second part, and making a synthesis of your investigations (from the both first parts) in the third part.

3) Then you can build your introduction and your conclusion:

In your introduction you have to introduce the topic, explaining the words of the subject, and prepare your argumentation. (it will be easier since you have already studied the problem while working your argumentation). It is really important to present the thesis that you are supporting, but be careful you must not give your own opinion to the reader! You must present all the thesis, all the possibilities to solve the problem.
After having presented your subject your introduction has to contain an announcement of the structure of your essay. Something like: "In our first part of this essay we will examine.... and in the second part we will see the difference between .... to conclude on our third part about ...."

Finally in your conclusion you can give your opinion, or rather you must enlighten what is your opinion according to the arguments advanced in your thesis.
In a conclusion you always have to summarize all the arguments you have supported in your essay and you make rise your opinion from these arguments.

Of course this procedure can be altered, modified according to the subject or professors' who will correct you, but normally it is a method which always works and this is the one students are learning at University :)

If you meet any difficulties to build an essay, or if something seems still confusing don't hesitate to drop me a line about it!

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