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French 4100

Advanced French Expression

If communication with native speakers is the principal goal of learning another language, a superficial knowledge of that language is simply not enough to allow us to communicate effectively and convincingly, orally and in writing. Sooner or later, every advanced student of French comes face to face with this fact. Beyond daily conversation, advanced students find that other needs appear. For example, you may want to apply for a job or a scholarship, or perhaps a visa to study in another country whose language is French. Even in our own language, such tasks can pose problems! The ability to work at different levels and at different tasks and to distinguish between levels of language is one sign of a well-educated person, and will often help to open doors to new career opportunities. To be able to do this in a second language will often give a vital advantage to a candidate.

Suppose you want to apply for a position requiring the ability to draft documents in French, including business letters: your own letter of application will tell your prospective employer about how well you will be able to perform. The use of "vous" rather than "tu" will be instinctive for advanced students, but there are plenty of other not so obvious pitfalls. Should you write "mercredi le 21 juin" or "le mercredi 21 juin", "le 21.6.07" or "le 21.06.07"? Or does it matter? Should you begin by writing "Madame" (or "Mme"? or "Mademoiselle", if the person to whom you’re writing is not married?), or should you write "Chère Madame"? Will anyone notice if you make a mistake? And how about ending your letter? Can you get away with "Sincèrement vôtre"? How about "Bien à vous"? Or would it better to write something like "Sentiments distingués"? On second thought, maybe it would just be easier to look for a different job!

Course content

French 4100 focuses on all forms of oral and written expression including composition, letter-writing, the drafting of reports and summaries, oral presentation of results, telephone conversations and meetings. Actual course content will depend to a large extent on the preferences of the instructor and on student needs.


Students wishing to register for French 4100 must have completed French 3100 and 3101.


Will depend on the instructor. Books that have been suggested for this course include Le Guide du Rédacteur and similar manuals.


Will depend on the instructor but will normally combine term assessments and a final examination, possibly with both written and oral components.


Offered at least once each academic year.

Together with 4100

Students registering for French 4100 may also wish to take French 4101 (if offered) or other 4000-level courses in French. They may also register for 3000-level courses not previously completed such as the courses in literature and civilisation.

After 4100

Students who have completed French 4100 and who are interested in further language study may subsequently complete 4101 and one or more of the special topics courses in language, if offered (French 4120-4129).