3100 Guide

French 3100 (J. MacLean)

(Fall 2013)

To be read carefully at the very beginning of the course. This is your guide to the course and contains all the instructions and necessary information for preparing classes and assignments and on how you will be evaluated.

It will take you a few minutes to study this document, but it is essential for your success in the course to familiarize yourself thoroughly each of the points explained in this guide. Your instructor will assume that you have carefully read and taken note of every instruction, so at no point in the course will you feel uncertain about what is expected for each class and each assignment. Assignments not prepared according to these instructions will not be credited.

In each Thursday's grammar lesson and in each Tuesday's textual study lesson it will be assumed that you have prepared according to the instructions in this guide.

Important dates, Fall Semester 2013:

Thursday, September 19: First submission of vocabulary-grammar notebook assignment, for inspection only
Thursday, October 10: Midterm exam (15%)
Thursday, October 17: Second submission of vocabulary-grammar notebook (10%)
Thursday, November 14: In-class composition (20%)
Tuesday, November 26: Final submission of vocabulary-grammar notebook (10%)


1. What is the purpose of studying grammar?

In this course, to enable you to understand clearly what you hear and read in French, and to be able to say and write what you mean in an authentic manner. For example, the study of different tenses enables you to situate the things you are talking about in the right time-frame.

In French as in other languages the action described in any sentence is expressed by a verb. The speaker or writer of the sentence indicates the time of the action (tense), and her or his attitude towards the action, whether it is a fact, an hypothesis, a wish, an order, etc. (mood). The grammar component of French 3100 (i.e., one half of the course) concerns principally the French verbal system. You will master all the forms of French verbs, the use of all the tenses and all the moods (infinitive, indicative, imperative, conditional, subjunctive).

2. Since I have studied grammar in 1000-level and 2000-level university French courses, are there new points I will need to learn in this course?

For most students, yes. Take three examples from everyday spoken French:

(a) How do you say the equivalent in French of "Helen is afraid she [herself] will be sick on the plane?" Many students entering French 3100 will incorrectly begin this sentence in French with the words "Hélène a peur qu'elle...". Similarly, many students trying to say "I'm sorry I'm late" will incorrectly start with the words "Je suis désolé [or Je regrette] que je..."

(b) How do you say the equivalent of "...in case you need help"? Many students entering French 3100 cannot say this, since they incorrectly use the present indicative tense to express the words you need in this sentence.

(c) How do you say the equivalent of "You should grow your beard" or "You should let your hair grow" or "I'm going to get my hair cut this afteroon"? Many students entering French 3100 do not know how to express these ideas correctly because they have not yet mastered the constructions "se faire + infinitif" and "se laisser + infinitif".

When you have finished French 3100 you will be able to say correctly in French each of these sentences, and many others. So that you will be able to express yourself authentically in speech and writing, and not use embarrassing "broken" French, grammar topics you have studied in previous courses will studied in much greater detail, and new topics will be covered.

3. How do I prepare the grammar classes?

Note: This preparation for the grammar class, although essential, does not mean that you have to "teach yourself" without explanations of all important material by your instructor. As is explained in Question 4 below, "In each class your instructor will explain the major grammatical points of the Grammar Unit. Emphasis will be on new material that you have not studied in previous French language classes."

On occasion, class discussion of a weekly Grammar Unit may continue into the first part of the following Tuesday's class, although normally Tuesday's classes are reserved for textual rather than formal grammatical study.

Note that for the Grammar Unit and other French 3100 assignments each "week" begins on a Wednesday and ends the following Tuesday, since the semester began on a Wednesday.

You will need to spend about four hours preparing for each Thursday's grammar Unit ("module de grammaire") and preparing the weekly grammar assignment from the Workbook for submission a week later in the following Thursday's class (see question 33 below on time management for the course).

You will find it helpful to begin your preparation for each grammar class by reviewing the grammar topic being studied in your first-year and second-year textbooks and notes.

Note on the textbook Contrastes. This textbook, with its accompanying Workbook, is an intermediate-level grammar designed specifically for students whose mother tongue is English. Take ten minutes at the very beginning of the course to familiarize yourself with its contents. It will be for you a useful reference and review grammar for topics additional to those studied formally in the syllabus of French 3100, and you will find it helpful for all your French courses. You are advised to keep and use the book after completing French 3100.


This method uses Grammar Unit 2 (Future and Conditional) as an example.

(a) Read through the whole chapter (pages 142-154) a first time without memorizing, but noting with an asterisk new grammatical points

(b) Study the assigned future, futur antérieur, conditional and past conditional forms in the verb tables on pages 354-367, writing down any forms you do not already know or have forgotten.

(c) Study the future and conditional forms of the assigned verbs, writing down any forms you do not already know or have forgotten.

Important note: Make sure you have learned all the forms (morphology) of verbs and nouns appearing in each Grammar Unit that you have not previously studied or do not remember (for example, the verb résoudre). This is memory work that only you can do. Your instructor can explain constructions to you, but he cannot memorize for you! In this course it is essential that you memorize all the verb and noun forms as you encounter them. This will include the forms of tenses used in the written language such as the passé simple and the imperfect subjunctive.

(d) Read the assigned Grammar Unit 2 Internet pages from the University of Texas French grammar, and do the on-line interactive exercises. Print for yourself any of these pages you find particularly helpful for review.

(e) Returning to page 142 of Contrastes, read the French sentences in section 1a aloud. Then cover up the French sentences in section 1a with a small card, and reproduce them orally (and in writing when you feel this would be helpful) from the English equivalent. Take whatever written notes you consider appropriate as you work through each section. Continue with each section in the chapter.

(f) When you arrive at a "Vérification" exercise, do the exercise orally and/or in writing and check your answers at the back of the book

(g) When (and only when!) you have thoroughly mastered a group of sections in Contrastes sufficiently to prepare the first assigned written exercises in the Workbook, do the written exercise. (See question 6 below.) Immediately correct each set of questions by checking the answer key at the back of the Workbook and replacing any mistakes with the correct words in red ink. (See question 7 below.) Read aloud all the corrected sentences in each Workbook exercise. See questions 5,6,7, and 8 below for more information on preparation of the weekly written assignment.

(h) Proceed through the rest of the chapter, following steps (e), (f), and (g) for each section.

(i) Review the whole of the chapter and your written notes, and write down any questions you wish to ask your instructor in Thursday's grammar class.

Note that this method combines several different kinds of learning activities: reading, writing, note-taking, using the Internet, speaking aloud, and immediate correction of errors.

Note on Web-based grammar explanations: For each grammar unit you will find explanations and interactive exercises in off-campus Web sites, principally from the University of Texas, accessible from the weekly assignment Web page. If you received less than 80% in French 1501/02 , you will find it helpful to read these Web pages before preparing your lessons in Contrastes. If you received an "A" in French 1501/02, you will find these grammar Web pages a useful review of the major points of the grammar unit, and you should read them after having studied the assigned pages in your textbooks.

4. What will happen in each Thursday's grammar class?

You will have thoroughly prepared the week's assigned Grammar Unit before coming to the Thursday grammar class.

In each class your instructor will explain the major grammatical points of the Grammar Unit. Emphasis will be on new material that you have not studied in previous French language classes. He will answer your questions, will explain difficult points, and will give you various oral and written exercises on the Grammar Unit being studied. These exercises will include such activities as writing the proper forms of verbs (for example, transforming verbs from the present indicative into other tenses and moods -- an in-class exercise concentrating on verb forms will normally be done in every Thursday grammar class, so be sure you have memorized all the irregular verb forms before coming to class -- doing in class exercises in Contrastes, writing dictations, doing oral dialogues with fellow students and other small group activities, etc.


The in-class verb exercise done in each Thursday grammar class must be corrected in class with a red pen and submitted with the grammar assignment the following Thursday, after having been stapled to the back of the grammar assignment. Any grammar assignment not accompanied by this in-class exercise will be reduced from a mark of .5% to a mark of .3%. Loose, non-stapled sheets of paper will not be accepted.

From time to time student volunteers will be invited to write their answers on the blackboard.

Important note on extra help in grammar. If there is any point covered in the Grammar Unit which you have not fully understood by the end of each grammar class, or which you do not think you will be able to apply easily in your own spoken and written French, you should immediately contact your instructor for extra help. This help can be one of two types: further explanation and practice with your instructor during his office hour, or small group work with your instructor's assistant, who is trained and experienced in providing such help.

5. How often will I submit written grammar exercises?

Each week. Weekly written grammar assignments are based on material discussed in Thursday's grammar class. They consist of a set of exercises in the Workbook for Contrastes. They will be passed in to your instructor every week in class one week later in the Thursday class of the following week. Each assignment should be dated and clearly labelled with the appropriate Grammar Unit ("Module de grammaire") number. Please double-check that you have put your name on the assignment, as this is something that is sometimes forgotten and your instructor cannot give credit to anonymous assignments!

Since your instructor or his assistant checks off receipt of assignments immediately after the Thursday class, the assignments must be submitted in class to be credited. Unexplained absence from the Thursday class, having left your assignment at home, etc., will not constitute a valid reason for not submitting the weekly assignment on time.

You may either detach the assigned pages from the Workbook, or photocopy them, if you wish to keep the Workbook intact. In either case the pages must be stapled in the upper lefthand corner. Assignments submitted as loose pages will not be accepted, since it is impossible for your instructor to keep track of such loose pages. The weekly exercises are for practice, and are intended to help you master the grammar being studied that week. For this reason they will not be evaluated for accuracy. However, to acknowledge your work in preparing the practice sentences, a full 5% of the final mark will be assigned automatically when you submit all weekly grammar assignments on time and duly corrected -- see Question 7).

Most of the Workbook exercises are sentence completion answers of one or two words, and can therefore be done quickly if you have already thoroughly mastered the grammatical material studies. Some of the assigned exercises are designed for native speakers of English and comprise assisted translation of sentences.

Only a selection of the written exercises in each chapter are assigned for your weekly assignment. These constitute the minimum required to master the material. However, time permitting, you are encouraged to complete and correct additional or even all of the exercises in each chapter.

6. What is the best way to prepare the weekly written exercises?

Experience has shown that you will spend much more time preparing your written exercises, and will learn much less, if you have not thoroughly mastered the grammar material before attempting the written exercises. With the textbook Contrastes, you should read aloud several times every French sentence in a chapter, and then reconstitute each of these sentences (orally and/or in writing) by covering it up and referring to the English equivalent. Only when you have mastered all the sentences of the section in this manner should you attempt the corresponding written exercises. If you attempt to do the exercises by searching for the grammar points as you write them, you will find that you spend more time working on your assignments and that you learn much less. (See the last paragraph of the answer to question 26 and question 33 on the matter of time management.)

Important note. Assignments in which the answers have obviously been simply copied from the correction key will not be credited. Your experienced instructor will generally recognize answers that have been copied from the answer key!

7. How will I know if I have made mistakes?

You have access to an answer key for these exercises at the end of the Workbook. Before submitting your assignment on Thursday you should rewrite in RED ink any words you have incorrectly written. This will enable you to review at a glance the correct form and will lessen the possibility of your making the same mistake again.

While making such corrections you should understand, if possible (e.g., by consulting your textbook) the nature of your mistakes, and make appropriate notes so you will avoid repetition of the same mistake in the future. In short, correction of your exercises should be as much a part of your study for the course as is your initial learning of the grammatical material. Duly corrected assignments (only) will be credited 5% of the course mark automatically when all such assignments have been submitted on time in each Thursday's class.

8. What if I cannot tell whether my answer is right, or do not understand why it is wrong?

Supposing, for example, in an exercise on the use of the subjunctive and the indicative, you use the subjunctive instead of the indicative and do not know why the answer key gives the indicative. You should at first attempt to find the answer in the sections you have studied in Contrastes and in the Internet grammar pages. If you cannot find the explanation and still do not understand why your answer is a mistake, or if you are not certain that an answer different from the one provided by the correction key is equally acceptable, then you should indicate on a cover page of the assignment the numbers of the exercises concerned and, where applicable, any questions you may have. Your instructor or his assistant will answer these questions in writing when feasible; in some cases where a lengthier explanation is necessary your instructor will invite you to meet him and discuss the difficulty.

Sometimes, especially in translation exercises, your answer will be correct although different from that provided by the answer key (for example, if you have translated a question in French using "est-ce que" rather than inversion or vice versa). If you are not sure of the correctness of an answer, you should put a red question mark beside the answer and the number of the question on the assignment cover page.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have submitted all assignments on time. Late assignments will not be credited to the final course mark.

Timetable of assignments.


9. What is the purpose of textual study?

Tuesday's classes will be devoted to the study of short texts (one to five pages each) of French prose (fiction and non-fiction) or poetry/songs with a view to developing students' mastery of vocabulary, grammar, and idiom. Therefore the purpose of studying these texts is not simply to understand the text. The passage under consideration will be used as a point of departure for developing vocabulary and grammar points related to those found in the passage. For example, the sentence "Il n'osa parler" in a passage could be used for a short lesson on what verbs omit "pas" for simple negation in written French. The sentence "C'est plus difficile que je ne pensais" could be lead to a discussion of the use of "ne" with no negative meaning. Students will be responsible for all points discussed in this manner in class.

10. How should I prepare the passage to be discussed each Tuesday?

You should spend about one and a half hours preparing the text before Tuesday's class (including identifying the expressions posted on the course "Active Vocabulary" Web page), and another half hour reviewing the material and studying your class notes after the Tuesday class and after the Thursday class (see below question 33 on time management for this course). Needless to say it is not a good idea to leave all the preparation of Tuesday's class until the Monday evening before.

The passages selected should be CAREFULLY prepared BEFORE the Tuesday class. Here "carefully" means finding all new words and expressions in bilingual and unilingual dictionaries, consulting a reference grammar to understand any new constructions encountered (why, for example, a certain verb is in the subjunctive mood, or why the normal order of a subject and its verb is inverted, or why, to refer to the examples in the previous question, the word "ne" appears without any complementary particle like "pas" or "jamais").

In class you will be expected to be able to answer questions, both orally and on the blackboard, concerning ALL of the vocabulary in the assigned passages. Where students do not fully understand an expression or construction they should prepare questions to ask your instructor in the Tuesday class.

11. If I don't have time to prepare the passage for Tuesday's class ahead of time, will I be able to learn everything I need to from class discussion?

No. Although your instructor will explain all the difficulties and draw your attention to important grammar and vocabulary points in the reading, careful preparation of the passage before the Tuesday class is is intended to allow you to make the most efficient use possible of your time. It is based on the observation that students profit from textual study only when they have diligently worked through the text themselves before class discussion. Experience has shown that students who attempt to garner from class discussion bits of information concerning an unfamiliar text derive little benefit from their efforts. (See the last paragraph of the answer to question 26 and question 33 on the matter of time management.)


12. Why is the preparation of a Vocabulary and Grammar Notebook assigned?

A major objective of French 3100 is to increase significantly your vocabulary and familiarity with the structures of French. To help meet this objective you will prepare in a STENO notebook (with a vertical line down the middle of each page), following the instructions and model distributed in class by your instructor, daily notes with contextualized new vocabulary and grammar points you learn in all of your readings in French.

See pictures of a steno notebook here, here, and here. The notebook can be easily carried in a purse or backpack, and easily placed beside a computer when you are working. Please purchase a 80-page or 120-page or 160-page steno notebook: larger ones are too bulky to be easily transported, either by yourself or by your instructor.

Note : Different instructors require different formats for notebook assignments, depending on the nature of the course. For your assignment to be credited for French 3100, it must be prepared in the format stipulated for this section of French 3100. See below "Important Note" to Question 24.

13. What do you mean by "contextualized" vocabulary?

Giving a short direct quotation of a few words (sentence fragment, or very short sentence), taken from your readings and/or dictionaries, that illustrate how the word is used, and which help you remember the word (see the model distributed in class). Do not make up the illustration yourself. Students receiving A-level marks on this assignment typically include for each item both a short quotation from their reading and short sentences or expressions from their dictionaries illustrating the use (or different meanings) of the word.

14. How many items should I include in my notebook?

About twenty to twenty-five a week (three or four a day), leading to a total of about 250 (but a maximum of 300) items at the end of the term. Each item should include in the left-hand column the "dictionary" form of the word encountered in your reading (e.g., the infinitive form of the verb, the masculine singular form of adjectives, etc.), when applicable one or more useful French expressions using this word found in your dictionaries, and a short complete or partial direct quotation illustrating the use of the word. In the right hand-column there should be English equivalents to the word and expressions in the left-hand column, or, when appropriate (for example, when you are unfamiliar with the meaning of the English equivalent) a definition in French. Use the model pages distributed in class at the beginning of term.

15. Is it not difficult to learn that many items during in one term?

No, providing you learn three or four every day, testing yourself immediately after entering them in your notebook and reviewing what you have learned at the end of each week. But do not try to learn thirty or thirty-five new items all at once!

16. What are the advantages of learning vocabulary this way?

The principal advantage is that you yourself make the decisions and take responsibility for determining what you need to and should learn, rather than simply having your instructor tell you. In choosing outside readings you will be able to build up vocabulary in areas that interest you personally, and you will be rewarded for this in receiving marks for your work.

Another advantage is that it will help you master the vocabulary of texts studied on Tuesday and the vocabulary of your grammar books, which in turn will lead to higher marks on your examinations.

17. Has this method worked in the past?

In previous sections of French 3100 this exercise has proven successful for students' mastering both assigned material studied in class and material from outside readings. The notebook also helped students receive high marks on the textual study part of the exam. It has also given students a sense of personal satisfaction at mastering a definite body of vocabulary over the semester.

18. From what readings should I find material to put in my Vocabulary and Grammar Notebook?

You should include vocabulary and grammar items from both readings discussed in class and from your own choice of out-of-class readings in French. A wide variety of readings in French is made available on the course Web pages, and others are available in the university library. New vocabulary encountered in grammatical study (for example, in Contrastes) and in Internet vocabulary exercises should also be included in the notebook.

19. May I include in my Vocabulary and Grammar Notebook material from notebooks prepared in other courses or from old periodicals?

No. The entries in the notebook must not include entries used in similar notebooks for any other course taken by the student. For this reason entries taken from periodical literature may be taken only from periodicals published between Apirl 2013 and November 2013. This requirement does not apply to readings assigned for Tuesday study in class.

Important note on copying from another assignment:

Academic Offences defined in University Regulations 4.11.4 of the Calendar include "plagiarism", "copying from another student's work or allowing another student to copy from one's own work", and "submitting work for one course which has been or is being submitted for another course." Penalties range from reprimand and reduction of marks to suspension or expulsion from the university. Consult the university Calendar.

20. How do I distinguish between words and grammar points I want to be able to use myself, and those I want only to be able to recognize?

Vocabulary items that you wish to assimilate into your personal active (productive, as opposed to simple recognition) vocabulary (normally no less than 25% of items in the notebook) should be marked with an asterisk (*) beside the English (or French) equivalent of the term in the right-hand column (or, if you prefer, both columns) of the steno notebook. (In the right-hand column so you are able to test yourself on your mastery of the new vocabulary items you have entered in the left-hand column.)

21. How will my instructor know exactly how many and what readings I have used for this notebook?

At the back of the notebook, starting on the very last page, there must be a numbered bibliography of all readings you used in the preparation of the notebook, including publication data for each item. The information should be clear enough that your instructor could easily find the readings cited if he wished to check them.

References to Web pages should include the title (including the name of the site) and date of the page and it should include URL address of the site (but not the long URL address of the specific page). For example:

"Des gens à Terre-Neuve prennent les grands moyens pour éloigner les ours" (Radio-Canada), le 30 août 2012, http://www.radio-canada.ca/

Each separate book or article should be entered only once in the bibliography, and each item should be numbered starting at 1 for the first one, and continuing to the end of the course (for example, 275 for the final entry) so that at ny given time one can see exactly how many entries (how many different articles or books) there are in the bibliography

22. Will there be questions from my personal notebook on the final exam?

Not directly in Fall 2013. However your notebook entries will be extremely useful for vocabulary and grammar questions on the half of the final exam that will cover your term's work of textual study.

23. When will I have to pass my notebook in, and how much is it worth?

The notebook will be submitted three times: on Thursday, September 19 (with 40-50 entries), for inspection and advice; on Thursday, October 17 (with 125-150 entries), for a mark of 10%; Tuesday, November 26 (with 250-300 entries), for a further 10%.


In order to ensure fairness to all students, 0.3% of the final mark will be deducted each day beyond the deadline that the notebook assignment is not submitted.

Note: If a student so wishes, this assignment may be replaced with an extra twenty questions (=20%) on the final examination dealing with the student's general knowledge of French vocabulary. In this case there will be 15 vocabulary items to be translated from French to English, and five from English to French. The level of difficulty will be representative of the level of difficulty in students' notebooks, and normally will be chosen from those notebooks. Since usually students earn higher marks on the notebook assignment, which they can prepare at their leisure on their own time, than on examination questions testing vocabulary, this substitution is not recommended by your instructor, who must be informed in writing by October 16th if you wish to choose this option.

24. How will the notebook be marked?

Four criteria will be used in determining the mark of the notebook, namely:

(a) the care with each entry has been prepared, especially evidence of work with a dictionary showing different meanings of the word in question and, importantly, examples of contexts in which the word is used (quotations of short sentences or phrases);

(b) inclusion of paradigms and explanations of grammatical points encountered in reading;

(c) the number and variety of readings done by the student;

(d) the number of entries in the notebook (about 250 at the end of the coursefor normal "B" level work, to a maximum of 300, or 125 to a maximum of 150 for the first submission).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Notebook assignments not prepared according to the specific instructions for this section of French 3100 will not be accepted and credited. For example, notebooks in which adjectives are not listed in the masculine singular form, verbs not listed in the infinitive form or not labelled as transitive, indirect transitive or pronominal, and notebooks without a bibliography at the back or without labelling of personal active vocabulary, will not be credited.

Check list for submission of notebook assignment:

1. Are all items numbered consecutively, without restarting the numbering for new dates or new sources?

2. Is there a numbered bibliography at the very back (last page of the notebook), indicating what source(s) you have used (even if for the time being there is only one)?

3. Are all the entries facing the same way when you open your steno pad flat, displaying two pages?

4. Do all or most entries include in the left-hand column a quotation of a short sentence (or a few words from part of a sentence), found in your readings or your dictionaries, which illustrate the meaning or meanings of the word?

5. Is every verb entry in the infinitive or dictionary form (ending in -er, -ir or re)?

6. Is every verb entry clearly labelled "vt" (transitive verb, taking a direct object), "vti" (indirect transitive verb, taking an indirect object), "vi" (intransitive verb, never taking a direct object), or "vpr" (pronominal verb), according to the labels used in your unilingual or bilingual dictionary?

(There is some variation between, for example, the labelling system of the Petit Robert and the most recent edition of the Collins Robert dictionary; the latter no longer uses the indirect transitive category, but simply gives the verbal expression with the preposition. You may use either in your notebook.)

7. Is every noun entry given in the singular, with irregular plural forms noted when necessary?

8. Is the gender of every noun clearly indicated either by an article (le or la, un or une) or by a label?

9. Is every adjective entry given in the masculine singular form, with irregular feminine or plural forms noted when necessary?

10. Have you marked with an asterisk in the righthand (or both) column(s) of the steno pad about a quarter of your entries to indicate that you will learn these items as part of your active, productive (and not just recognition) vocabulary?

11. Have you included some grammatical explanations or paradigms of new grammar points you have encountered in your reading (not those covered in regular French 3100 grammar classes)?

12. Is there an appropriate number of entries (40-50 for September 19; 125-150 for October 17; 250-300 for November 26)?


25. For examination purposes, exactly what am I responsible for?

For examination purposes, students will be responsible both for everything assigned for study and for everything discussed in class (including new vocabulary not appearing in the textbook and the passages assigned for study). A term examination will be held on Thursday, October 10, 2013 (15%, 50 minutes).

26. Am I likely to fail exam questions based on work covered in a class I have missed?

Yes, to judge from past experience. In the past most students who missed a class without cause (and thus without having supplementary help to make up for the missed class) have failed the midterm examination, and typically every student who attended every class has passed the examinations.

A student who misses a single Thursday class misses most of an entire grammar unit. Frequently a thorough knowledge of one grammar unit is essential to proceed to further units, and missing a single grammar class can have seriously detrimental effects on a student's work for the rest of the term. Even if a student believes that she has learned the material assigned in a weekly grammar unit, by not attending class she will miss essential exercises and practice on this grammar.

Similarly, students who miss a Tuesday class of textual study typically fail on examination questions devoted to that text.

Students often miss class because of some other pressing commitment, such as an assignment for another course that must be completed or an exam the same day. It is therefore very important for you to plan the whole of each week in such a way that you allot sufficient time to complete your different course requirements without missing any classes. If you have trouble organizing your time, you are encouraged to seek advice on this matter at the university Counselling Centre.

27. What should I do then if I have to miss a class for reasons of illness?

On your return to the university you should see your instructor during his office hour to determine what you missed and what remedial work can be done, and to obtain any documents that might have been distributed in class. Please do not contact your instructor to explain the reason for your absence -- the important thing is to catch up on the work and practice you have missed in the class so you will do well in the course. If you have to be absent for more than one class you should telephone or e-mail your instructor to inform him of the situation and seek advice on remedial work.

28. What should I study for exams?

See the Web pages on the midterm and final exams accessible from the main French 3100 Web page. These Web pages indicate what exercises from your textbooks will be adapted for exam questions.

The midterm and final examinations will each have approximately the same number of questions and points for grammar work and for textual study. The grammar questions will be modelled on grammar exercises prepared in the Workbook, and students are responsible for all the grammar they study in Contrastes and in the Conjugaison verb tables (see section A above on grammar study) and for all the vocabulary in their written assignments. A good way to prepare this part of the examinations is to carefully review the assigned and completed exercises, paying especially careful attention to any corrections you have made and marked in red.

The examination questions on textual study will include questions on all the vocabulary of the texts studied, as well as all vocabulary and grammar points discussed in class. See above section B on textual study. All examination answers must be written in ink.

29. Is there anything apart from grammar, textual and vocabulary study that I will be responsible for in each class?

Yes. You will be responsible for all announcements made in class concerning assignments, examinations, etc., as well as for any documents that might be distributed in class.

30. How many in-class tests are there?

There is one grammar and vocabulary test worth 15% (Thursday, October 10, 2013) and one in-class composition worth 20% (Thursday, November 14, 2013 -- see question 31 below). For the grammar component of the course, experience shows that French 3100 students do better on final examination questions than on mid-term exams (since they have worked with the material longer and know it better), and it is therefore to their advantage that the term test not be more heavily weighted. In addition, most of the term mark is made up from exercises (regular grammar assignments, notebook, composition) for which students normally receive higher marks than for tests, and which they can prepare in their own time.


31. What are the requirements for my composition assignment?

On Thursday, November 14, 2013 you will write an in-class composition of one single-spaced handwritten 8.5" x 14" page (or equivalent). You will be given a choice of three topics. Your in-class composition must be written in ink. You may consult your dictionaries, grammar, and your vocabulary-grammar steno-pad notebook but no other notes.

As this composition is a short one-page exercise, the emphasis will be on accuracy and quality. You should very carefully double-check every word to verify its spelling, meaning, gender, number, and agreement. Particular attention should be paid to the agreement of adjectives with the noun or pronoun they qualify, and agreement of verbs with their subjects, as well as other types of agreement such as agreement of determiners (le, un, ce, mon, etc.), possessives, and past participles. The composition will be corrected with a correction code. Compositions will be evaluated according to Calendar Regulations 4.6.4 and 4.8.3:

Good writing skills are required for effective communication. Students are, therefore, expected to demonstrate proficiency in logical organization, clarity of expression and grammatical correctness.

Students at all university levels should have reasonably sophisticated and effective communication skills and are expected to demonstrate proficiency in logical organization, clarity of expression and grammatical correctness. Hence good writing is expected of students in all courses, not only in those designated "Writing and Research courses." Upon graduation students should be capable of expressing complicated ideas clearly and concisely and should be able to develop arguments in a logical manner.

Good student writing is characterized by the following qualities:


- Critical insight and freshness of thought
- Clear and penetrating ideas
- Perceptive, pure grasp of subject
- Intelligent use of primary and secondary sources
- A sense of completeness about the handling of the topic


- Effective introduction and conclusion
- Main idea is clear and logical development follows
- Smooth transitions
- Good use of details


- Appropriate, accurate, precise and idiomatic diction
- Sentences varied in kind, length and effect


- Consistently correct spelling
- Accurate use of punctuation
- Grammatically correct sentences
- Well organized paragraphing


32. What is the level of French proficiency in this course?

French 3100 can be considered an "intermediate-level" French course. Intermediate-level students, while not having the same proficiency as they do in their mother tongue, should be able to understand everyday spoken French and modern written French in popular magazines, newspapers, plays, novels, etc. They should be able to express themselves orally on topics of everyday life with a minimum of grammatical errors and with a reasonably authentic accent. They should be able to write friendly letters or essays on topics of current interest with accurate grammar, vocabulary and spelling.

33. How many hours per week of out-of-class work will this course require?

The assignments in this course overlap considerably, so the workload is lighter than it might at first appear. For example, much of the work for the Vocabulary Notebook is in fact synonymous with preparation and review of texts for Tuesday work studied in class.

Typically a student can expect to spend about one hour a day (or seven hours a week) on out-of-class work:

* 2.5 hours per week studying the grammar units (including 30 minutes end-of-the-week review of what was learned in the preceding week);
* 1.5 hours per week preparing the weekly written grammar assignment;
* 2 hours preparing or reviewing the text[s] studied in Tuesday's class;
* a total of 1 hour making about 40-50 entries (2-4 per day) in your Vocabulary and Grammar Notebook.

Planning and budgeting your time are important ingredients to success in this course. At the very beginning of term you are strongly urged to draw up a weekly seven-hour out-of-class work schedule for French 3100, especially if you have a busy week with other courses, assignments, and perhaps employment.

34. What has led to success and what has led to problems in this course in the past?.

Students who have done well in this course in the past (70%+) have usually attended every class, have read aloud as much as possible sentences during their out-of-class work with in the textbook and workbook, have covered up the French sentences in the assigned chapters of the textbook in order to recreate them from their English equivalents, have spent time at the end of every week testing themselves on the vocabulary studied and on the grammar exercises done, and have availed themselves of every opportunity to speak, read and listen to French (on radio and television, for example).

The difficulties experienced by a very small number of students can be attributed to different factors. The most common cause is not keeping up with the work on a daily basis and missing class: this is often a simple problem of time management (see answers to questions 26 and 33).

Another difficulty that can occur at this level is an erroneous assumption by the student that she or he already has an excellent command of French and therefore needs to make only a minimal commitment to the work in French 3100. This difficulty often arises with students, such as ex-French Immersion or ex-Frecker Programme students, who do indeed have good comprehension and communication skills but whose command of such matters as the use of tense and mood, agreement, accurate vocabulary, and spelling and other aspects of written expression, are insufficient for intermediate-level university French. Such students usually do very well once they make a commitment to an hour a day of out-of-class work in French 3100.