Writing Essays in Language Classes

An unfortunate part of a student’s life is writing essays, but what can make writing essays more complicated is if you have to write them in a language that you are learning. Recently, I wrote a French essay for my French 305 class on a play that we read in class. In honor of this, I thought that perhaps making a list of how I write my French essays might help other people write essays in their language classes regardless of whether they take French or not!

First, I like to make a bullet point outline of what I want to say in my essay. Usually, I try to organize this outline by different topics in order to make the essay easier to write in the future. Often, I write this list in English unless there’s a specific word or quote that I want to use.

Then, I attempt to start writing the essay. Personally, I like to write as much as possible without using a dictionary first as it interrupts my thought process. Additionally, it is good to check and see if there are any specific grammatical structures you need to use in your essay such as the subjunctive. For these, it is best to incorporate them throughout the essay instead of just at the end of your paper.

Every once in awhile as a general rule of thumb, I will go back and reread what I’ve written to make sure it makes sense. However, essays for language classes can sometimes be complicated in the sense that you have to make sure your points make sense as well as your grammar and your vocabulary, which you most likely don’t have to try as hard to correct when writing essays for other classes.

Other tips to make note of: At least for me, essays for language classes take more time to write than for other classes, so I make sure to leave plenty of time to complete them (please don’t leave them to write at the last minute!). Also, it’s perfectly okay to use basic vocabulary and sentence structure (if there are no specific grammatical structures required). It’s better to be clear than to write in a way that you have no idea what you are talking about.

Though this was short, I hope that this helps some people in writing essays for their language classes. As a summary, first it’s good to check the requirements and outline your points, then write and as you go along double-check your work and look up unfamiliar words as needed.

On behalf of the LRC, I wish everyone a wonderful summer and bonne chance (good luck) on your finals!

 

Resources I use to write my French essays: www.wordreference.com/ ← this website is my go-to for a French dictionary! It also has dictionaries for Spanish, Catalan, German, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Russian, and various other languages! Additionally, my favorite part about this website is that it has a verb conjugator, which allows you to type in a verb and it will conjugate the verb in every mode and tense in the French language.

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