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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
My experience as a Master in the Royal Military Academy, where the Gentlemen Cadets are entitled to be considered as highly advanced and intelligent pupils, has induced me to adopt a peculiar method for impressing grammatical difficulties on their memory. This plan, which is likewise resorted to by many efficient teachers of the French language, has invariably answered my purpose.
I think it will be found useful, wherever the manifold preparations for an examination do not leave sufficient leisure for a regular and lengthened course of grammar, or whenever it becomes necessary to revise rapidly the different rules and idioms.
This simple plan consists in dictating, at every attendance, a certain number of grammatical and idiomatic questions. The students have to write out the answers, with the help of any good Grammar and Dictionary. An opportunity is thus afforded the Professor for correcting the wrong ideas of his pupils, and giving pointed and telling explanations.
Some masters put these questions in English. I generally prefer to give them in French, a system which offers the double advantage of forcing the student to write from dictation and accustoming him to search for the accurate meaning of each sentence, instead of doing mere guess-work, as is but too often the case in ordinary translations.
Several collections have lately been published, containing questions put at random by different Exami
I thought it more logical to edit a whole set,
arranged in a strictly grammatical order. Thus, I modestly offer my fellow-teachers the materials which I found useful in my own practice, and trust this small work will also prove a valuable help in self-tuition and general repetition. I merely dwelt on the principal difficulties, by which I was struck in my own course of teaching, without in the least pretending to complete the subject; for I am fully aware that it would be quite impossible to exhaust the rich mine of French idioms.
For the exclusive use of Gentlemen Cadets and Officers, I have added a short compilation of sentences containing military expressions and sundry details, some of which were borrowed from the “Artillerist's Manual." I am fuily aware that a colloquial acquaintance with the French language is of paramount interest, and that the teacher must particularly aim at enabling his pupils to read a French book with ease, and to express themselves with accuracy, as well in speaking as in writing. To this end, I publish the collection of grammatical and idiomatic questions, and the general student may stop there. But, for a special profession, a knowledge of the most usual technical terms is absolutely indispensable. Without it, the young officer can derive no real and lasting advantage from the perusal of the remarkable military works which are brought out abroad. I sincerely wish that the few pages which complete the present volume may prove useful in this respect.
OLD CHARLTON, February, 1865.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The Questionnaire français has met with a success which the author did not dare to expect. Not only has the first edition been sold with a most gratifying regularity, but many of the most distinguished Professors of French in England have marked their approval of the work in terms too flattering for reproduction. To evince his gratitude, the author has improved and enlarged the second edition, to the best of his ability. The French language is so rich in idiomatic expressions, that he was able without the least difficulty to double the number of his questions; he hopes that but few of paramount importance have now escaped his notice.
Many students, teachers and officers having pointed out that it is impossible for them to find the accurate translation of the military expressions contained in the book, the author thought it advisable to give these special sentences both in French and in English. He trusts military students will study with profit this part of his unpretending work.
Finally, yielding to suggestions and entreaties coming from Professors and Examiners of such high standing that it would be unwise to disregard them, the author has begun to prepare a "Handbook of French idiomatic and grammatical difficulties.” Without being intended for a "Key" to the Questionnaire a plan which would simply be mischievous this Manual will give in a condensed form, and in nearly the same order, explanatory answers to the principal questions contained in this volume. This new work will be arranged in such a way that, although the explanations will be connected in a logical sequence, any student or reader may be able to find at once the solution of a difficulty. It will thus be, – at least in the author's intention -- better and higher than a mere "Key": it will be a regular "Dictionary of Difficulties”.
TABLE DES MATIÈRES.
III. DIFFICULTÉS IDIOMATIQUES.