Le Plan


'Le Plan' is a systematic structure for the writing of essays which is taught as a fundamental skill in French second level education. The ability to use 'Le Plan' is seen as an essential accomplishment on the part of all French students who are expected to present their second and third level essays in accordance with 'Le Plan'.

The essay is structured in the following manner:

Part 1: Introduction

The introduction is always written in three parts:

i) The introduction should start with a quotation or striking statement of a well known
fact, emphasising the importance of the issue or at least introducing it.

ii) The issue: the topic under discussion should be introduced generally, in the form of a
question or statement. Where the issue is very broad or convoluted, it may be
narrowed. The parameters should be defined and an explanation given for narrowing
the scope of the discussion.

iii) Announce the structure, outlining the layout of the essay. This might be done by means of such phrases as: 'Before raising the issue as to whether...'
'We shall first define the word.…'
'We shall first analyse why great authors such as... have believed that...'

Part 2: Development

The development is usually divided into two parts, each of which may have several paragraphs, referred to hereafter as parts A and B. The key to this section lies in the logical link between the paragraphs. This link can be achieved by a number of methods such as:

i) (A) - Analysis of facts / trends / problems.
(B) - Explanation of (A)

or ii) (A) - Analysis of facts / trends / problems.
(B) - Consequences and related problems

or iii) (A) - General approach; argument in support of the thesis being presented
(B) - 'But', presentation of antithesis, offering an alternative view to that put forward
in (A).
Parts (A) and (B) will usually be introduced by a heading, perhaps in the style of headline. A good headline should be eyecatching without being clichéd.

There should be a transitional sentence between parts (A) and (B), identifying the logical link between them. This link should already have been established in part (iii) of the introduction. There should also be a transitional sentence between each paragraph

Part 3: Conclusion

The conclusion to the essay is presented in two parts.

i) Summarise the theme or thesis of the essay in one or two sentences. Alternatively the outcome or conclusion could be stated.

ii) This part is called the 'overture', or opening. Its function is to open out the
essay to a larger theme, issue or related topic,

or to show how the issue is dealt with in other countries or times,

or to suggest how the theme or issue might develop in the future.


click here to download the 'Le Plan' in print out form (pdf) file

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