Use of the French Tutors for French Literature Papers

The following list enumerates best practices for French literature students to make use of the tutoring services at the Center for Writing, Learning and Teaching. Tutors are available for individual appointments and some group sessions. They will help you as you write papers, develop thesis statements and work on refining your grammar.


  • Since learning to write papers and to use correct grammar is part of the language learning process, it is your responsibility to proofread papers for spelling, grammar and proper accentuation before you meet with a tutor.
  • Tutors are NOT expected to correct all your errors. French tutors can help you improve the style, identify repeated grammar errors, and suggest ways to correct them. Rather than expect them to find all your errors, you can expect that they will try to guide you to an understanding of the areas in which you demonstrate the least comfort.
  • If the paper does not give evidence of adequate initial proofreading of obvious language errors, or appears to suffer from having been translated by an online software program, tutors are instructed to ask you to return after you have spent some time in careful proofreading. They may work with you on a selected part to point out the nature of needed editing before returning for their help.
  • You should not expect that working with a tutor would solve your paper’s problems for a final version. Several edited versions may be necessary, and tutors may not be familiar with a course expectations or what was covered in class for a particular paper.


  • Tutors are available to help you brainstorm about thesis ideas. You may also consult one of the writing specialists in English by providing a translation of your thesis statement to determine if you’re on the right track.
  • Share with the tutors the expected structure, the paper's prompt, and any guidelines to help them provide you with the most effective guidance.
  • In order to best enter into a conversation about improvements of your thesis or argument, go to your appointment with a draft of your thesis, introduction and conclusion, as well as an outline of the rest of your paper.


  • You may find that one tutor is more helpful in grammar while another is more effective with stylistic editing. So you may choose to consult several times. You should consider having classmates read your paper for their feedback; peer editing is an excellent way to focus your attention objectively on areas you did not observe in your own writing.
  • In the case where a tutor is also in the same literature course, consultation may be easier, but it is still YOUR paper, and you are only seeking guidance to detect the most obvious weaknesses in a paper in terms of grammar, style, and the paper’s general direction. Consult the tutors early and not the night before the paper is due; the sheer volume can be overwhelming to them, particularly if they are working on a paper for the same course.
  • Do not send tutors your drafts electronically expecting them to provide you with editing help during unscheduled hours. Such practice is an imposition and places them in an uncomfortable position. Effective tutoring should be an active exchange not an editing service
  • Finally, remember that French literary analysis differs in some ways from practices with which you may have been familiar. In French, you should aim for precision, lack of repetition, elegant literary language, and specific transitional phrases to link your ideas. Avoid stating what you intend to do; just do it! No need to number your major points; instead, use more fluid transitions. In French literary analysis, the emphasis should be neither on your feelings about a text, nor on your personal values. Avoid moralizing or dealing with what the author may or may not have meant to do. Your analysis should be mostly about the textual content and its overall effect according to the nature of the text, and on any literary research elements pertaining to the specific paper.

Paper prompts provide further helpful hints, and as usual, do not hesitate to ask your professor. We are of course available to read drafts of your thesis and outline to guide you in this aspect, IF you consult us early.