If you are a follower of our blog, you will know by now that there are 4 skills we need to master to become effective French learners. These are: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Writing…the word that gives nightmares to many just by remembering the hard time they had at school when they had to write one of those essays on their summer vacations.
Writing is a beautiful and enriching skill to master when learning a foreign language, but it can also be scary to those who don’t feel confident at writing, even in their mother tongue.
Are you applying for a job in a French-speaking country and they have asked you to write a motivation letter? Do you need to send an email to your boss, a colleague or a friend? Do you usually check French forums that help you better learn the language and you want to ask something? Have you got a French friend you would like to chat with?
If we think about it, even though in our modern world we tend to give less importance to written communication, shorting messages, creating emojis and using codes that lower our writing capacities, writing still plays (fortunately) an important part in human communication.
If you are into writing and you are learning French, keep reading and discover some tips to improve your written skills in French:
1. Read and write in your mother tongue
Don’t expect to become an expert writer in your second language if you have never written a single piece in your mother tongue. Or, if you do become an expert writer in your second language, it will be much of a harder task if you are not an expert writer in your L1. Writing is a process that requires time and, most importantly, practice.
The more you practice by writing texts in your mother tongue the more used to the habit of writing you will get and the more capacity of writing in your L2 you will have as well. Also, keep in mind that the more you read in your mother tongue the better you will be at writing, so keep reading!
2. Read in French
As when we were little we had to listen before we were able to speak, to write we firstly need to read. Reading is an excellent exercise to expand our vocabulary lists, learn new grammatical structures and train our brain while doing a fun activity. Bear in mind to read books in your current French level, audiobooks could also help you learn!
3. Keep up on your grammar knowledge
After all, having a solid grasp of grammar knowledge is the basis for good writing. Grammar has to do with how sentences are structured and how words are formed and used within sentences, therefore is a major pillar in having good writing skills. Surely you have felt sometimes reluctant to write a piece because you didn’t feel confident with your grammar knowledge. However, there is no need to rush, keep learning grammar at the same time you are reading and combine both to learn progressively. For instance, if you are learning about the Present Simple, you could later write a short description of what you usually do every day.
4. Avoid rushing
Don’t start by trying to write long texts on complicated topics. Start by simple, short texts on familiar topics you are interested in. Over time, you will be able to write longer, more complex pieces. It’s all about time!
5. Try French writing workshops
There are quality French writing workshops that will help you reinforce your weak points and focus on what you need the most. Not only the teacher will provide you with the best tools to strengthen your writing skills, but you will get feedback and your work reviewed by a professional, something important when it comes to correcting your mistakes and not repeating them over and over again!