Le commentaire littéraire en anglais : the top ten mistakes you must not make

1. Miscopying names etc from the text

One of the most basic mistakes that littéraire students make is miscopying words from the text - especially proper names, which are often unusual words.

2. Using inappropriate tenses

When you talk about texts there will be a limited number of tenses that you need to use. For the vast majority of the commentary you will only need the present simple. Don’t talk about the text in the present continuous or the past simple.

3. Using “we can”

Many students have a tendency to punctuate their commentaries (whether written or oral) with French discourse-management strategies. One particularly common example of this is the use of “we can” in phrases such as “We can ask ourselves...” or “In the two scenes we can distinguish…” This sounds very unnatural in English.

4. Using French literary terminology


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