Skip to main content
Essays à la française: la dissertation

Essays à la française: la dissertation

Published on October 23, 2018

spip_logoFrance’s equivalent to the American standard five-paragraph essay, ‘la dissertation’ adheres to a structure unfamiliar to most. The format for the dissertation is as follows: introductory paragraph, thesis paragraph, antithesis paragraph, and concluding paragraph. However, depending on the subject, the format is subject to change.

Aside from classroom exercises and formal writing assignments, the dissertation is a major part of the BAC exam, which highschool students must pass to enter into university or secondary studies.


Similar to a standard essay introduction, the introduction presents the subject or issue that is to be analyzed and evaluated. The introduction serves as a roadmap for the writer’s upcoming argument and the structure of the remainder of the dissertation.

Part of what is often referred to as “le développement”, the thesis section outlines the body of the argument chosen for the topic of the dissertation.

Unlike the secondary support paragraph often found in an american essay, the anthesis section is dedicated to expressing the limits of one’s argument.

Also referred to as the synthesis, provides a brief conclusion of the paper. The conclusion also invites one to go further and put forth questions that the reader can reflect on.

In addition to structural differences, the content of the dissertation can oftentimes be different to that of an american essay.