Most people think that in order to be a great writer, you need to be a genius. This is not true! Anyone can be a great writer if they are willing to learn and practice regularly. In this article, we will discuss twelve tips for improving your writing skills in French. So whether you are a native speaker or just starting out, these tips will help you write better and more fluently in French.
The 5 most common mistakes people make when writing in French
When it comes to writing in French, there are a few common mistakes that people often make. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:
1. Incorrect verb forms
One of the most common mistakes people make when writing in French is using incorrect verb forms. This can be a bit tricky, especially for beginners, so make sure to review the different verb tenses and conjugations before you start writing.
We recommend the book « The 50 verbs most used by the French« . In this book, you will find :
- The conjugation with the phonetics of the 50 French most used verbs
- a method to memorize
- 1000 examples of everyday usage (as the French really speak)
- 1000 sentences of exercises + corrections + explanations
2. Using the wrong article
Another common mistake is using the wrong article. In French, there are definite (le, le, les) and indefinite articles (un, une, des), and it’s important to use the correct one depending on the noun you are referring to.
Be very careful with indefinite articles in the negative form!
Affirmative form: Je mange une pomme. (I am eating an apple.)
Negative form: Je ne mange pas de pomme. (I don’t eat an apple.)
3. Not using accents
Accents are an important part of the French language and can change the meaning of a word completely. For example, sur (on) becomes sûr (sure, secure) when you add an accent. Make sure to use them in your writing so that people can understand what you’re saying!
I know that with a computer keyboard that doesn’t have accents it’s always complicated to find them…
4. Incorrect spelling
Spelling is also important in French. There are many words which are spelt similarly but have different meanings, so it’s important to get it right!
Without forgetting this so French particularity, the silent letters. Do you know how to pronounce this word : caoutchouc ?
5. Improper use of conjunctions
Conjunctions are words that link two clauses or phrases together, and they are often used incorrectly in French. Make sure to use them correctly in your writing so that your sentences make sense!
And among all those that exist, we have made a video that explains how to choose between « dont » and « duquel ».
Now that we’ve looked at some of the most common mistakes people make when writing in French, let’s move on to the tips!
12 tips on how to avoid these mistakes and improve your writing skills
1. Use a dictionary
If you’re not sure how to spell a word, look it up in a dictionary. This will help you avoid making spelling mistakes.
I am a French teacher and I can tell you that I regularly check the dictionary to see if this or that word is spelled this way. I recommend this online dictionary: Larousse.
2. Read as much as you can
Reading is a great way to improve your writing skills. By reading, you will see how other people use the language and learn new words and expressions.
Start with books that are not too thick. That way, if you start it in 2022 you won’t have the unpleasant surprise of finishing it in 2047… 😂
3. Write regularly
The more you write, the better you will become at it. So try to write something every day, even if it’s just a few sentences.
To do this, it’s very simple, use Instagram and write comments under the French publications you like best.
But be careful, don’t just use emoji to reply! 😉😒👀👍▶️♥️💪😀😀
4. Get feedback from native speakers
If you know any native speakers of French, ask them to read your writing and give you feedback. They will be able to tell you if there are any mistakes and help you improve.
5. Join a writing group
There are many online and offline writing groups that you can join. This is a great way to get feedback from other writers and practice your skills.
6. Use correct grammar
One of the best ways to improve your writing is to make sure that your grammar is correct. So take some time to learn the different rules and practice using them in your writing.
7. Find a language exchange partner
A language exchange partner is someone who speaks French as their native language and wants to learn English (or vice versa). You can help each other by practicing writing in French.
Many Facebook groups allow you to exchange language knowledge.
8. Use proper punctuation
Punctuation is important in any language, and French is no exception. Make sure to use punctuation marks correctly in your writing so that people can understand you better.
9. Keep it simple
When you’re starting out, it’s best to keep your writing simple. Use :
- short sentences
- and basic vocabulary.
As you improve, you can start using more complex structures and words.
10. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes when they’re learning a new language. Don’t be discouraged if you make some mistakes in your French writing. Just keep practicing and you will eventually get better.
11. Review your work
Before you publish or send your writing to someone, take some time to review it. This will help you catch any mistakes that you might have made.
This point is extremely important, especially if it is for a French exam. How many times have I seen students finish their exam 5 minutes before the end, not taking the time to reread their text and realizing during the correction that they could have corrected half of their mistakes by themselves.
Don’t make that mistake!
12. Practice, practice, practice!
The only way to improve your writing skills is to practice as much as you can. So get started today and see how your French writing improves over time!
6 resources for learning French online, as well as 5 books that are helpful for French beginners
When it comes to learning French online, there are plenty of resources to choose from. Here are six of the best ones:
- Learn French Fun
- Radio France
- YouTube Channels
If you’re a beginner, then five books that can help you get started are:
- « French for Dummies » by Consumer Dummies
- « Easy French Step-by-Step » by Myrna Bell Rochester
- « The 50 verbs most used by the French » by Chez Prisc & Chris
- « Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar » by Annie Heminway
So there you have it! Twelve top tips to help you write better French. These tips will help you avoid common mistakes, improve your grammar and syntax, and make writing in French a breeze. Of course, practice makes perfect, so be sure to put these tips into action and keep practicing regularly.
And if you ever get stuck or need some extra help, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. I’m always happy to help my students achieve their language learning goals! How do you think these tips will help you improve your writing skills?
Articles that might interest you:
- How do you practice French writing?
- French figure of speech: Periphrase
- Figure of speech in French : Pleonasm
- The best tips for passing your next French writing exam
- 5 Common French Writing mistakes and how to avoid them
- Common mistake made when writing in French
- 12 top tips for better French writing
- Learning French from Textbooks
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