The Narrative Question or Récit Leaving Cert French
The Narrative Question or Récit
In order to do well in this type of writing, students need to have a very clear understanding of the use of “Past” tenses such as the passé composé, the Imparfait and the plus-que-parfait.
According to the 2016 Chief Examiner’s report, the narrative or récit question is generally not a popular choice. The Linguistic Skills needed were those from I.6 (Giving an account or description of an event in the past and sequencing events), requiring the use of Passé Composé, imperfect and pluperfect tenses. The récit format should have been familiar to all candidates, as this type of question occurs in either part (a) or part (b) of Q.1 in most years.
Many candidates, who choose to do this question, put together interesting, and imaginative stories, which are relevant to the question being asked and clearly expressed.
Students who do not do well in the récit question usually attempt to tell a story which lacks coherence and the different elements do not hold together well.
In addition, a lot of candidates struggle with the format of the various past tenses, or have difficulty distinguishing between the use of the Passé Composé and the imperfect tenses.
Let’s take a look at one of the questions from the Leaving Cert papers. Décrivez un incident amusant qui s’est passé dans votre école un jour. (Votre récit peut
être réel ou imaginaire.) – Describe a humorous incident which happened in your school one day. (Your story can be real or imagined).
In order to answer this question, I usually ask my students to include the following 5 elements. In doing this, they then have a complete structure, and waffling is avoided.
- Set the scene. Tell the reader where you were, and depending on the type of story, what the weather was like. (The imperfect tense is generally used to set the scene in the past tense. It is also used to express weather and feelings in the past tense).
- Who was there? Were you alone? Were others there or nearby?
- What happened (the substantial part of the récit). You would use a mixture of passé composé, imparfait and plus-que-parfait here.
- What was the result or consequence. The tense used here would be dependent on what you want to say.
- Your feelings about what happened. (Remember that you may have different feelings throughout the récit. In this particular récit, you may have started off feeling bored at school, but through the incident, you change your feelings accordingly.
A lot of students wonder about correctly using proverbs and French sayings in their writing. My own advice would be to use proverbs and colloquial expressions only where they really fit, and avoid using too many of them.
I have put together a list of commonly used phrases to help you with this type of writing.
Full version of these phrases is available to members of Teacher or Leaving Cert Plans. Please click on these links for more information on our 3 different plans, which will give you 365 days peace of mind, whatever stage you are at.
As a member of the Leaving Cert or Teacher Plan, you would have immediate access to:
- Over 500 sample topic sentences on a wide-range of topics
- Approximately 60 sample opinion pieces.
- Diary Entries
- Narrative writing technique & Phrases
- Grammar section
- Grammar exercises
- Reading comprehensions
- Verb drills
- Study guides
- Comprehensive oral section with videos
- Expressions & key constructions
- Letters and much more…
To see some of our sample revision notes, please follow these links:
If you were to sign up for our one year Junior Cert plan, you would have access to:
- Audio section
- Oral questions & Role-plays
- Powerpoint presentations
- Comprehensive vocabulary lists
- Verb drills
- Grammar section
- Reading Section
- Written section with postcards, notes & letters
Please see some of our sample Junior Cert revision notes here
Members of the Teacher Plan have automatic access to both Leaving Cert & Junior Cert revision notes. Also we are constantly adding new files to the site, so whatever is put up for the duration of your membership, you have access to it. While we do put up some of our material on social media, it is only a fraction of what you will find on our site.
C’était un matin ordinaire
It was a typical morning
Ce jeudi matin avait commencé comme tous les autres
That Thursday morning had started like any other
Ce jour-là – On that particular day
J’avais honte – I was ashamed
J’avais peur – I was afraid
J’étais aux anges – I was excited
J’avais cru que – I had believed that
Qui l’aurait cru – Who would have believed it!
Vous vous rendez compte! – Can you believe it!
Ça fait + period of time + que + present tense
It has now been … that I have been ..
Jamais je n’avais imaginé que cela puisse m’arriver
I never thought that sort of thing could happen to me
Ces dernières années
In recent years
Il faut rappeler que It must be remembered that
Il faisait un temps merveilleux
The weather was fabulous
Il faisait un temps horrible! – The weather was horrible
Nous étions tous – We were all
De façon menaçante – In a threatening way
J’ai étouffé – I stifled
Je venais de – I had just + infinitive
Pris(e) de terreur – Gripped with fear
J’étais saisie d’un sentiment de crainte et d’impuissance
I was gripped by a feeling of fear and powerlessness
C’est agréable de pouvoir – It is nice to be able to
Tout d’un coup – All of a sudden
Cela ne fait que confirmer – It just goes to show
Our next monthly French Leaving Cert Revision Course takes place in Mary Immaculate College, on Saturday, 16th of February from 1pm – 5pm, and will be on the topic of the Environment.
For more info, please follow this link
1999 Leaving Cert Narrative Question
Il vous est sûrement déjà arrivé d’avoir eu très peur. Dans quelles circonstances? Comment avez-vous réagi ?
You have obviously had a time when you were very frightened. What were the circumstances and how did you react?
I will always remember the events leading up to Christmas, 2014. It was a very cold morning in the month of December. I had just started my Christmas holidays, and so I was still in bed. My parents had gone to town to get a few last minute things and my brother had gone with them. I was delighted to be in bed because it was freezing outside, and I was still wrecked from school. I decided to get a book from the shelf when suddenly I felt a shooting pain in my stomach. I doubled over with the pain. I tried to go downstairs but the pain was too bad. – I was gripped by a feeling of fear and powerlessness. My mobile phone was downstairs as the battery was charging. I didn’t know what to do.
Luckily for me my parents arrived home after about ten minutes and heard me crying upstairs. They immediately brought me to hospital, where I underwent emergency surgery to remove my appendix. I was very lucky that the appendix did not burst. I never thought that sort of thing could happen to me. I can honestly say I have never been more terrified! I spent a week in hospital but was home on Christmas Eve.
WORDS & PHRASES TO HELP YOU
|The events leading up to||Les événements qui ont précédé|
|Mes parents étaient partis||My parents had gone|
|Quelques choses de dernière minute||Last minute things|
|Il faisait un froid de canard||It was freezing|
|Une douleur lancinante||A shooting pain|
|J’ai doublé de douleur||I doubled over in pain|
|Subir une chirurgie d’urgence||To undergo emergency surgery|
|Enlever l’appendice||To remove the appendix|
|La veille de Noël||Christmas Eve|
Je me souviendrai toujours les événements qui ont précédé Noël 2014. C’était un matin très froid au mois de décembre. Je venais tout juste de commencer mes vacances de Noël et donc j’étais encore au lit. Mes parents étaient partis en ville chercher quelques choses de dernière minute, et mon frère était parti avec eux. J’étais ravi(e) d’être au lit car il faisait un froid de canard dehors et j’étais toujours épuisé(e) après l’école.
J’ai décidé de prendre un livre de l’étagère quand tout à coup j’ai ressenti une douleur lancinante dans l’estomac. J’ai doublé de douleur. J’ai essayé de descendre en bas mais la douleur était trop vive. – J’étais saisie d’un sentiment de crainte et d’impuissance. Mon portable était en-bas en charge. Je ne savais pas quoi faire.
Heureusement mes parents sont rentrés après environ dix minutes et ils m’ont entendu pleurer. Ils m’ont amené directement à l’hôpital où j’ai subi une chirurgie d’urgence pour enlever l’appendice. J’ai eu la très grande chance que l’appendice n’a pas rupturé. Jamais je n’avais imaginé que cela puisse m’arriver! Je peux affirmer honnêtement que je n’étais jamais si terrifié(e). J’ai passé une semaine à l’hôpital mais j’étais chez moi la veille de Noël