How to write a Leaving Cert French Opinion Piece- Step by Step

Here’s a step by step breakdown on write an opinion piece….je vous en prie! You’re welcome! 😉

Here is a question from the 2011 paper:

Dans la Section I, Q.2, Nathan se dit : « Bienvenue dans le monde de l’illégalité. » En Irlande aujourd’hui la criminalité devient un problème sérieux. Beaucoup de gens ne sesentent plus en sécurité, ni dans les villes, ni à la campagne. Il paraît que le nombre de vols, cambriolages, agressions et meurtres augmente. Que pensez-vous de ce problème ? Y a-t-il des solutions ?

The most important part of the question is at the end:

Que pensez-vous de ce problème ? Y a-t-il des solutions ?

These are the points that we must address and answer in our work. Answering the actual question is of extreme importance in French. For example, if the question asks about doping in sport- you must address only that. Now is not the time to inform the examiner about how you like to jog once a week because c’est bonne pour la santé- you must focus your entire answer around the issue of drugs in sport.

Next, identify the topic. Contrary to popular belief, learning off opinion pieces WILL NOT WORK. Par contre, focus on perfecting a wide variety of sentences that you can use in any situation- you will find a list of these here.

Of course, learn a list of vocabulary for each topic but 10-12 phrases per topic is more than sufficient. Otherwise you are wasting your precious time- overly specific vocabulary probably won’t be relevant to your answer and you won’t use it in the exam.

Once you have identified the topic, make a list of it.
In this instance the topic is la criminalité– here is some vocabulary that should be relevant to your answer.

Se sentir en securité : To feel safe

Voler : To steal

Se faire agresser: To be mugged

Un couteau: A knife

Tuer: To kill

Menacer: To threaten

Les policiers: The police

Des attaques: Attacks

Des fusillades: Shootings

Des innocents: Innocent people

Next, use the above vocabulary to make a quick plan for your answer. Remember- you use the vocabulary that you know and create your answer around this. It doesn’t matter if you secretly disagree with whatever you’re writing- you must use the french you know to create a suitable answer for the question.

Next, make out two points and a personal point. In this instance each point relates to the two points that we have been asked- the first point being what we think of the issue and the second being what we can do to solve it.

Remember- create your points around the vocabulary that you already know and the sentence structures that you have learned.

First point: 

La presence de la criminalité….

On ne se sent pas en sécurité…

Des innocents…

Second point:

Agir ensemble…

Plus de policiers…

Next, write your answer. Use sentence structures to form the answer. To show the versatility of the sentences in this piece, I’ve placed each one that you could easily use/ modify for other topics in red. Use link words between each sentence- find these here. I will place these in blue colour.

Je partage cet avis. Qu’on le veille ou non, il y a de plus en plus de crime en Irlande. Cependant, on peut travailler ensemble pour résoudre cet enjeu.

I share this opinion. Whether we like it or not, there is more and more crime in Ireland. However, we can work together to resolve this issue.

                                En premier lieu, on ne peut pas nier la présence de la criminalité en Irlande. Certes, il ne se passe une semaine sans qu’il y existe des fusillades ou des attaques qui tuent des innocents en Irlande en plein jour.  En plus, le problème est répandu.Je connais une famille menacée le week-end dernier par un homme avec un couteau pour voler leur voiture.

In first place, one can’t deny the presence of crime in Ireland. Certainly, a week doesn’t go by without there being shootings or attacks that kill innocent people in Ireland in broad daylight. As well as this,  the problem is widespread.  I know a family threatened by a man with a knife to steal their car last weekend.

                                                Deuxièmement, c’est clair qu’il faut affronter le problème. Selon moi, on peut agir ensembleon peut rester vigilant et  essayer de protéger l’un l’autre. Également, il faut continuer à prendre notre sécurité au sérieuxpar exemple en évitant de marcher tout seul la nuit. En effet, le gouvernement doit mettre plus de policiers sur les rues pour lutter contre ce fléau. 

Secondly, it’s clear that it’s necessary to face the problem. In my opinion we can act together- we can stay vigilant and protect each other. Similarly, one must continue to take our safety seriously- for example by avoiding walking home alone at night. Certainly, the government must put more police on the streets to fight against this scourge.

              En somme, c’est clair que le crime en Irlande nous menace tous aujourd’hui. Il faut agir tout de suite pour qu’on puisse lutter contre ce problème.

In summary, it’s clear that crime threatens us all today in Ireland.  It is necessary to act immediately to fight against this problem.

Et voila! Take time afterwards to read over your work and fix grammar and spelling issues. Ensure that agreement is correct. I hope this was helpful and that it made the prospect of opinion pieces slightly less daunting. Remember- sentence structures are key- consider how many topics I could cover with the sentences in red. Bon courage!


2 thoughts on “How to write a Leaving Cert French Opinion Piece- Step by Step

Add yours

  1. Would that answer not be counted as too long for either a 90 word answer or a 75 word one?
    Is it better to just use one point and come up with a solution?
    Do you get penalised for writing too much when they suggest a word count?


    1. Hi Megan! Thanks so much for your comment. No- 90 words is far too short (even though they advise this!). Your 90 word entry (please don’t waste time actually counting words) should be around 3/4 page. The A1 answers are never 90/75 words- you should be going over them. That said, don’t make it overly long as you’re more likely to make mistakes if you do. Anymore questions let me know! X


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