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4.6 out of 5 stars83
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2012
When I found this book to help me through my uni course I thought, great! This is going to improve my essays so much... the phrases sound really flashy and it expanded my vocabulary a lot... however, when I asked a french friend to take a look at my work, she informed me that many of the expressions I had selected are either not commonly used or did not translate well in french. I bought the spanish one too, with the same results! It is a good book, but I would say verify the phrases you select with another external source before putting them into that all important essay!
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on 3 May 2011
I bought this book after having read an earlier edition of the book belonging to my college. I thought it would be useful for writing essays but I was surprised at just how vital it is for French A level. Especially since the newer version contains a lot more than the previous editions.
I can honestly say that this book is my absolute bible for A level, and I'll definitely be taking it to Uni this year. It has everything in! There are tons of helpful and idiomatic essay phrases for every single section of the essay/presentation and within those, a few phrases that can be used colloquially.
There is also extensive topic specific vocab, which goes way beyond the key terms of the topic, containing vocabulary which you wouldn't even think to use in English!
This can be extremely helpful when researching a certain topic for speaking exams, essays and the like.
I especially like the fact that there are useful little points on which prepositions to use after a selection of commonly used verbs, and a page of synonyms for common words.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to study French for A level onwards. It's inexpensive, and in my opinion an investment when I consider the amount I've used it so far. Couldn't live without it now!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 April 2012
Although I believe this is designed for AS level students, with more advanced vocabulary for A2 shown in bold, it is also useful for adult students with a grasp of the basics, who want to have at their fingertips the turns of phrase needed in conversation or written exercises.

I like the way the material is themed: phrases to enrich conversation, e.g. "A mon avis" or "Je ne suis pas d'accord"; some common synonyms and easily confused "false friends" like "versatile" in French which means "volatile" in English; aspects of everyday life, even into such details as emotional life, sun worshipping, eating disorders and tobacco addiction;topics of conversation such as many aspects of the workplace, politics, the tabloid press, celebrity, the environment - it's hard to think of a neglected aspect.

Since this is not a dictionary, it may be hard to locate a particular word, or check if it is even listed, so I see this as a book to browse, say when waiting for a bus, or to consult before embarking on a conversation or essay on a specific topic.

If you had mastery of all the entries, your French would be quite impressive. It is true that it can be hard to learn from lists of phrases. To get more than the general benefit of reading the entries several times, you probably need a learning strategy: for instance, to stimulate one's brain, suggest the French for an English phrase before looking at the version given. Another approach is to practise using each phrase in a specific example.

On a "little and often" basis, I hope this handy reference book will make a noticeable difference to my French over the next few months.
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on 3 April 2011
VERY handy vocab guide which has a whole section on different ways of saying common essay phrases such as Firstly, In my opinion... etc. (very useful for the A level orals too)
Includes A-level vocab topic by topic, broken down into sections, with some excellent phrases which we don't learn at school.
Goes well with Action Grammaire: New Advanced French Grammar which is a great grammar guide.
Thoroughly recommend.
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on 7 May 2012
There's no doubt that this is super little book and very handy for those learning French and trying to pick up and use all those myriad idioms. It is not really for the beginner - there are other books on less advanced vocabulary and idioms for beginners - but it is extremely useful nonetheless.

I looked at Horsfall's book "Advanced French Vocabulary" which is very similar, but Mot a Mot seeemd to me to be more comprehensive and better laid out.

The one thing I really wish for, however, is some form of index that helps one to find idioms. I know this is difficult - and I am not suggesting a full vocab list that would amount to little more than an alternative dictionary. But the difficulty I often find is that I come across something, in French, that does not translate in any literal sense and one surmises is, or might be, an idiom. What plainly one cannot realistically do is to plough through this book looking for something like it; the groupings of subjects helps a bit, but I have found that it is very hard to choose the group that is most likley to house the idiom one is searching for.

What is needed then is some form of index. This could be something like the indices one finds in a book of quotations for example. All keywords that are to be found in idioms could be listed and the page numbers of all idioms with that word given. With modern word processors I would not have thought this was particularly difficult.

It would also be useful to find idioms that one knows one has seen in the book but then cannot find a second time. I used an idiom I had read in the book when in conversation with my teacher. She could not understand me and when I tried to explain it she did not think it existed. I know it's there somewhere but can I find it again? An index would solve the problem.

Without this (and I am yet to see it in any book of this kind) the book is useful for writing fresh work in French, or for learning idioms, but it is pretty hopeless for assisting in translating from the French.
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on 23 June 2014
The concept behind this book is great, as I really needed something to improve my vocab. However, I found a certain percentage of the words/phrases weren't really ever used by native speakers in whatever register. It also gives no context to the words of phrases so you have a fair chance of getiing the usage wrong.

That's the criticism but obviously there were some really useful words/phrases however I relegated this book to a dusty place on my bookshelf after one too many quizical looks from my French language partners. There are better ways to learn vocabulary.
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on 28 February 2011
At the moment i'm studying AS French. I'm finding this product perfect for helping me to write my essays and prepare for my oral, it's full of useful vocabulary, and it's all relevant to what i am studying! I am very pleased with this product! :)
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on 9 November 2010
it tells you phrase for words to use in essays that you wouldn't even consider using. It's brilliant. It also goes through lots of different topics that are a really big help for me when i write my A level essays!
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on 23 November 2012
It helped me with all my essays and whenever I ran out of ideas even just looking on the topics in the book, it really inspires me to trigger me where to start, ideas and everything, it's just great!
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on 16 November 2011
I recommend this book to anyone doing or considering doing AS or A2 French. It is so helpful when it comes to writing essays as it has vocab for all the topics that can come up in the exam.
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