French Gcse Environment Essay

Submitted by FrenchNotes.ie’s director Elizabeth Hayes:

Elizabeth Hayes holds a first class honours degree in French Literature from the University of Limerick. She was the recipient of the College Medal for achieving first place overall in the University.
She has also lived in France for 10 years.
She is a registered member of the teaching council in Ireland, and works in The CBS Sexton Street, Limerick.

SAMPLE OPINION PIECE ON THE ENVIRONMENT

LEAVING CERT HONOURS, 2016.

There was huge interest in our article on Predictions for the French Leaving Certificate Exam, 2016. We then considered the questions which came from that, and are looking today at showing you how to write a simple, yet grammatically accurate opinion piece for the exam. Here at French Notes.ie, we are very much against the idea of trying to learn essays off by heart. This is very tiring, and not very effective. I would much prefer seeing a student learning in a structured manner. In my last article, I advised students to use topic-based learning as a model. You decide on about 10 main topics and learn relevant vocabulary. You then have a stock of grammatical constructions, proverbs, and subjunctive sentences.

I won’t be going into opening or concluding phrases, as there are so many of them in your books already. I will concentrate on what you write after you have given the formulaic opening phrase.

We have looked at Q4 from the Leaving Cert paper in 2009. The theme or topic was the Environment, and the question specifically looked at the question of Global warming.

The question was: Le réchauffement global? Ne t’inquiète pas. Ce n’est pas encore un problème sérieux.Donnez vos réactions.

Global warming? Don’t worry. It is still not a serious problem. Give your reaction.

Ok. That is your question. Look at it closely. Global warming is not a serious problem yet. This question will require that you envisage a little bit into the future and assess whether Global warming will be a serious problem.

Firstly you must open your essay in a strong manner. An example of the type of opening sentence here would be:

OPENING STATEMENT EXAMPLE

Je suis de l’avis qu’il faut que nous soyons tous d’accord sur la préservation de notre planète et le problème du réchauffement global, car ceci est vraiment une priorité mondiale.

I am of the opinion that it is necessary that we are all in agreement about the preservation of our planet and the problem of global warming, as this is really a global priority.

After the opening you have about 2-3 points and a conclusion.

POINT 1.

Afin de réduire ce problème il nous incombe tous d’utiliser les énergies renouvelables Les activités exercées par des agriculteurs et l’exploitation des combustibles fossiles émettent une grande quantité de ces gaz qui, de l’avis général des scientifiques, font partie des causes du réchauffement planétaire et des changements climatiques. Ceci peut être très dangereux pour l’humanité dans l’avenir.

In order to reduce this problem, it is up to all of us to use renewable energy. Work done by farmers and the use of fossil fuels emit a huge quantity of this gas, which according to the general opinion of scientists, is partly to blame for planetary warming and climate change. This could be very dangerous for mankind in the future.

POINT 2.

Le réchauffement global est une priorité et il faut que tout le monde réfléchisse aux coûts environnementaux. Il est clair que la fonte des glaciers représente une réelle menace qui, si elle se concretise, dévastera dans la pratique l’ensemble de la culture et de l’économi européennes.

Global warming is a priority and it is necessary that everyone thinks about the environmental costs. It is obvious that the melting of the ice caps implies a likely threat, which, if it were to become a reality, would in practice totally devastate Europe’s culture and economy.

PERSONAL POINT

Je crois que le réchauffement global est une menace de nos jours, et j’ai peur pour l’avenir. Il y avait une conférence à Paris au mois de novembre, et j’espère que cela résoudra le problème.

I believe that global warming is a threat today, and I am afraid for the future. There was a conference in Paris in the month of November, and I hope that this will resolve the problem.

CONCLUSION

En conclusion, après mûres réflexions,je suis de l’avis que la question du réchuffement global est très inquiètante, et il faut vraiment lutter contre ce problème. Il ne faudra pas attendre qu’il soit trop tard. Sinon, on risque de tuer un âne à coups de figues molles !

In conclusion, after careful consideration, I am of the opinion that this question is very important, and we really need to fight against this problem. We must not wait until it is too late. If we do, we risk trying to attack the impossible!

SAMPLE SUBJUNCTIVE SENTENCES

  • Il faut que je réfléchisse aux coûts environnementaux
  • I need to think about the environmental costs
  • Il faut que nous puissions dire que certaines choses ne peuvent pas être acceptées dans notre société
  • We need to be able to say that some things cannot be accepted in our society
  • Il faut que nous travaillions ensemble pour adopter des lois qui sont bonnes pour l’ensemble de notre pays
  • We need to work together in order to adopt legislation which is good for the country as a whole.
  • Je suis ravi(e) que nous ayons réussi à trouver une solution
  • I am pleased that we have managed to find a solution.
  • Il faut que nous prêtions attention à la santé et à la sécurité de nos enfants.
  • Children’s health and security demand our attention.
  • Il faut que nous attaquions ensemble à ce problème
  • We must tackle this problem together. 
  • Il faut que je fasse de mon mieux
  • I must do my best
  • Il faut que nous fassions avancer ce projet avec énergie
  • This needs to be pursued with great vigour

SAMPLE VOCABULARY LISTS

SAMPLE GRAMMATICAL CONSTRUCTIONS

  1. C’est agaçant à la fin! = it really annoys me
  2. un temps fou = a crazy amount of time
  3. prendre un temps fou de + infinitive = to take a lot of time to do something
  4. je suis censé = I am meant to+ infinitive eg. Je suis censé nettoyer = I am meant to be cleaning.
  5. L’internet me permet de = The internet allows me to. Use a verb or a noun in front of this construction and for example you can say: Reading allows me to escape = La lecture me permet de m’évader.
  6. Donc= so
  7. En fonction de = depending on. I will go to town depending on the weather. J’irai en ville en function du temps qu’il fera.
  8. Fonctionner comme un/une/des = to work like a …
  9. C’est également = it is also or equally
  10. Tant que = while

SAMPLE PROVERBS/FRENCH SAYINGS

  1. Être collet monté – To be uptight
  2. Numéroter ses abattis – To check whether you are injured after a fall or a fight/ to be ready for combat or a dangerous activity.
  3. Rabattre le caquet – to force someone to be less cheeky, to put someone back in their place
  4. Rabaisser le caquet – to force someone to be less cheeky, to put someone back in their place
  5. Attendre quelqu’un au tournant – to avenge someone
  6. Avoir quelqu’un au tournant – to get someone back for something.
  7. Changer de crèmerie – to go somewhere else
  8. Une querelle d’Allemand – a ridiculous argument.
  9. À l’eau de rose – sentimental (normally used to describe soppy films or books).
  10. Tuer un âne à coups de figues molles – to attack something impossible.

I would suggest at this point, learning as much vocabulary on topics as possible. French Notes.ie has sample essays available on its website, with each essay written in both English and French. There is a key to the grammatical constructions used, together with a list of important vocabulary.

Local and global issues

Your friend Martin has written about:

  • what his town is like
  • what environmental problems there are in his town
  • what he does at home to protect the environment
  • what he thinks is the most serious global environmental problem
  • what he did recently to help the environment
  • what he will do in the future to protect the environment

Salut,

J’habite à Nîmes dans le sud de la France. J’y habite depuis sept ans. C’est une grande ville historique et il y a beaucoup de sites touristiques. Nîmes est une ville agréable et elle est jolie, surtout dans le centre. En été, il fait chaud, mais en hiver, il y a du vent et il gèle.

Bien que Nîmes soit jolie, il y a aussi des problèmes écologiques. Je trouve que la circulation est un grand problème parce qu’il y a toujours des embouteillages au centre-ville. Nous avons beaucoup d’espaces verts où on peut faire des promenades, mais il y a un problème en ce qui concerne les détritus. Les personnes qui jettent des déchets dans la rue ne s’inquiètent pas de l’impact que ça a... Malgré ces problèmes, j’adore habiter à Nîmes.

J’aide beaucoup à la maison et ma famille est très écolo. Nous faisons du recyclage tous les jours, et moi, je trie les déchets pour recycler. Normalement, je prends une douche au lieu de prendre un bain. Je ne laisse jamais le robinet couler lorsque je me brosse les dents et j’essaie de baisser le chauffage central pour réduire le gaspillage d’énergie.

En ce qui concerne l’environnement, je pense que le problème mondial le plus grand est l’effet de serre. Il y a trop de voitures dans les rues et beaucoup d’usines qui émettent les gaz d’échappement. Ces gaz contribuent au réchauffement de la terre et c’est dangereux pour notre planète.

Le week-end dernier, je suis allé au parc pour jouer au foot avec mes amis. J’y suis allé en vélo au lieu d’y aller en voiture parce que c’est bon pour l’environnement. À la maison, j’ai fait du recyclage et j’ai travaillé dans le jardin avec mon père. Nous avons planté des arbres et arrosé les plantes avec de l’eau recyclée.

À l’avenir, j’ai l’intention d’être plus écolo en changeant mon mode de vie. Je vendrai ma voiture et je prendrai le bus ou le train au lieu d’utiliser la voiture. Je ferai pousser mes propres fruits et légumes parce que j’espère être plus écolo.

Est-ce que tu es écolo ? Comment est ta ville ? Quels sont les problèmes écologiques dans ta ville ?

À bientôt,

Martin

Translation

Hi,

I live in Nîmes in the south of France. I have lived here for seven years. It is a historic city and there are lots of tourist sites. Nîmes is a pleasant town and it’s pretty, especially in the centre. In summer it is hot but in winter it is windy and it freezes.

Although Nîmes is pretty, there are also some environmental problems. I find that the traffic is a big problem because there are always traffic jams in the town centre. We have lots of green spaces where you can go for a walk but there is a problem with regards to litter. People who throw litter in the street don’t worry about the impact that it has... In spite of these problems, I love living in Nîmes.

I help a lot at home and my family is very environmentally-friendly. We recycle every day and I sort the rubbish out to recycle. Normally I take a shower instead of having a bath. I never leave the tap running whilst brushing my teeth and I try to turn down the central heating to reduce the energy waste.

With regards to the environment, I think that the biggest global problem is the greenhouse effect. There are too many cars on the road and lots of factories which emit fumes. These gases contribute to global warming and it’s dangerous for our planet.

Last weekend I went to the park to play football with my friends. I went by bike instead of going by car because it’s good for the environment. At home I did the recycling and I worked in the garden with my dad. We planted trees and watered the plants with recycled water.

In the future I intend to be more environmentally-friendly by changing my lifestyle. I will sell my car and I will take the bus or the train instead of travelling my car. I will grow my own fruit and vegetables because I wish to be greener.

Are you environmentally-friendly? What is your town like? What are the environmental problems in your town?

See you soon,

Martin

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