The following two examples are the typical length of a General question at Standard Grade. It will be your job to read through the passage several times and answer the questions which come after the passage.
You read an article about the early life of Amélie star Audrey Tautou.
A l’école, elle a pratiqué le piano, le hautbois, le dessin, la danse, le volley et a fait partie de la chorale. Une véritable frénésie d'activités! Quand elle était petite, elle a toujours adoré les singes et voulait devenir zoologue. Elle a même effectué un voyage à Sumatra spécialement pour les observer en liberté.
1) Which activities did she do at school? Name any three (3)
2) What animal does she love? (1)
3) Why did she travel to Sumatra? (1)
1) Any three of piano, oboe, art/drawing, volleyball, sang in the choir (3)
2) Monkeys (1) The key word here is "elle a toujours adoré les singes" - "she has always loved monkeys."
3) She went to Sumatra to see them in the wild (in freedom) (1) The key phrase here is "pour les observer en liberté."
If you feel confident, you can skip the next example and go straight to the Test Bite.
You read an article about Johnny Depp and his relationship with Vanessa Paradis.
Il est le pirate le plus connu au monde, elle est l'une des meilleures chanteuses de France. Johnny Depp et Vanessa Paradis sont en couple depuis 1998. Johnny passait alors son temps à détruire des chambres d'hôtel sous l'effet de la drogue... Mais pour les beaux yeux de Vanessa, il s'est petit à petit tranformé en père de famille modèle. Ils ont deux enfants Lilly Rose et Jack et ils partagent leur temps entre leurs maisons à Paris, à Los Angeles et dans un petit village de Provence où ils ont une maison et un vignoble.
1) How is Johnny Depp described at the beginning of the article? (2)
2) Apart from being with Johnny Depp, how is Vanessa Paradis famous in her own right? (1)
3) When they met, what was he renowned for doing under the influence of drugs? (1)
4) What has he gradually turned into? (1)
5) How many children do they have? (1)
6) What properties do they own in Provence? (2)
1) For two marks you need to say more than 'a pirate'! He is described as the most famous pirate in the world (2)
2) She is a singer or one of the best French singers (1)
3) Destroying hotel bedrooms (1)
4) A model father (1)
5) Two (1) Don't be put off by the names!
6) A house and a vineyard (2)
Now try a Test Bite
A Few Ground Rules
Describing people, especially in another language, requires some skills. First of all, to describe someone well, you need astute observation skills. To describe them well physically, you need to take note of physical characteristics. To describe their personality accurately, you need to spend a little time with them and converse at least enough to gather their mood, their interests or something else about them as a person.
When describing a person in French, you must keep the gender issue in mind. Every noun in French is classified as either masculine or feminine in gender. When you are speaking about people, the gender usually corresponds to the actual gender of the person being described. For example, if you are talking about "my father," "the boy," "he" or "that man," you will be using masculine nouns (or pronouns). And you must keep in mind that the adjectives you use to describe a person must be the same gender as the noun naming that person. So as you learn adjectives to describe people, be sure you memorize both the masculine and the feminine form.