While it’s easy enough to practice reading in French, what about the flip side of the coin: how can you practice writing? More importantly, how can you get feedback on what you write? Here are some ideas and resources to help you improve your French writing skills.
First things first
In order to write well, you need to read, a lot. Reading is an excellent way to improve your knowledge of French structure, grammar, and vocabulary, so be sure to make reading a variety of materials part of your regular French practice.
Correct spelling is essential, and in French that means not just using the right letters, but also including the right accents on them. Check out our article about the best way to type accents in Windows and Linux.
French writing ideas
Our popular French Weekend Workout includes writing challenges and dictées for Premium subscribers – learn more:
For regular French practice, I highly recommend that you keep a journal. If you write a little bit every day, you’ll soon find that it gets easier, just like everything you practice regularly. It doesn’t really matter what you write, though your level of French will limit you to some extent. But as long as it’s something that interests you and that you have or can find the necessary vocabulary and grammar for, you can write whatever you want.
- Your daily routine (wake up, get dressed, go to work, etc.)
- Personal experiences (a party, vacation memories, meeting your best friend…)
- Book / movie reviews
- Letters to the editor
- Devenez poète et critique littéraire – Advanced writing exercises
- Écrire conseils pratiques – Writing tips and ideas
- Le Résumé – Strategies for writing a good summary. (Note that résumé is a faux ami.)
- Les travaux d’écriture – Writing exercises on various topics.
Writing is one thing, but in order for this exercise to have any value, you need to ask for corrections. You can use a grammar checker and/or search engine to get very basic corrections, but if you really want to improve, you need human input.
When you have specific questions about vocabulary and grammar, you can ask on Kwiziq’s QandA forum. For detailed corrections, try posting on an online forum such as Lang-8 to get help from native French speakers. Let them know you’d appreciate an in-depth proofread so that you can improve as much as possible.
Another possibility is to find a pen pal, but make sure s/he’s a native French speaker. Two English speakers learning French are very likely to reinforce one another’s mistakes; you need a native speaker if you’re serious about improving.
Dictées combine listening comprehension with writing skills, and are an integral part of the French educational system.
La Dictée d’Archibald – Dictées for native and non-native speakers, from TV5Monde
Ladictee.fr – More than 1,300 dictées for all ages and skill levels
Dictées Audio – from Bescherelle
Dictées Audio – from la Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie
Amélioration du français – Dictées focused on specific areas of difficulty (e.g., agreement, spelling.)
The four basic language skills
Like speaking, writing requires knowledge of everything from grammar to vocabulary, so be sure to sign up for a Kwiziq account to kwiz your way to better French!