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Wednesday, March 09, 2011


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OMG!!! This is my writing task 2 on march 5 and I did so bad :(
I check your website everyday, Simon. It is really wonderful but I have to try harder...

Hi Simon,

It is a brillant essay for this difficult topic. Personally, i would find it hard to answer this question as i do not have much ideas about the topic.

By the way, please help check with my following sentences because my tutor think it should be fixed in his way while i think my sentence is quite correct since i choose some vocabularies from an ielts vocabulary book.

Consequently, it is pedestrians who are the victims, knocked down as they are walking across the street at pedestrian crossings by drivers who seem to have forgotten the high way code order them to stop at the red lights.

His corrections

Consequently, it is pedestrians who are the victims, run over as they are walking across the street at pedestrian crossings by drivers who seem to have forgotten the high way code , which orders them to stop at the red lights.

My second sentence

The police and court should come down hard on drivers who misuse the road, handing down large fines on inconsiderate drivers who do not take the safety of others seriously

His corrections
The police and court should strictly deal with the drivers who misuse the road, improse heavy fines on inconsiderate drivers who do not take the safety of others seriously.

Second questions

Drivers speeding,driver's speeding and speeding drivers. Could you please tell me which one is correct.

And is there any differences between drink-driving and druken-driving?

And thanks alot. :)

Than you very much Mr. Simon for the essay
God bless you

Hi Simon,

Thanks for sharing this essay! The expressions and vocabulary you used were indeed simple, clear, and very easy to understand.

Many students don't realize how easy it could be to get a high band score in the writing module; instead of reviewing grammar and thinking of "big ideas" and putting them in a coherent way, they would waste their time and effort trying to apply "big words" that are used improperly or incorrectly most of the time. Also, I found out that many students tend to only use the IELTS books from Cambridge as their preparation materials, and that is simply not enough to become a good English user... students nowadays are very fortunate to have the Internet as a great and free resource to improve their English, but it all depends on how smart they are when utilizing this tool...

Thanks again,

Hi Simon,

It is redundant if i say thank and highly appreciate your valuable lessons, as everybody admits this !
( But i always say thank in whispers :) )

In your sample essay, i can not explain some structure, can you help me to make sense them?
Thank in advance

1. "Governments could cut all kinds of costs related to communicating with each minority group."
Why do you use "communicating with" in this case ? why do you not use "communication" ?

2. "A language is much more than simply a means of communication; it has a vital connection with the cultural identity of the people who speak it"
Why do you use "simply" in this case?

3 "if we allow minority languages to disappear, but in the long term this would have an extremely negative impact on our cultural heritage."
why do you use " would have" ? instead of "will" ?

i got confuse.
should it be "a mean of communication" or a means of communication"?

Hi Daphne,

Remember, my answer is not the only way to answer this question - maybe your ideas and arguments were better than you think!

Good luck!


Hi Nick,

1. 'knocked down' is fine, but I agree that you need to write 'which orders/tells them...'

2. 'come down hard on' is fine, but I'd write 'giving large fines to/ imposing large fines on/ handing out large fines to'

3. All 3 could be correct depending on the context - try Googling each one to see how they might be used.

4. If you look on Google you will find drink driving, drunk driving and drunken driving are all used in the same way. You could Google to see which one is more common.


No problem Niam.


Thanks Martin. We're definitely on the same wavelength! It's all about 'big ideas'.


Hi Hanasahi,

1. You can use either communication or communicating.

2. "Simply" here is the same as "just" or "only" - language is not just...

3. I used "would" because the implication is that it's hypothetical, rather than something that will happen. Using "will" is ok, but "would" seems more natural to me.

Hope this helps


Hi Smile,

It might seem strange, but we say "a means". We don't say "a mean".

Thanks Simon!.

Hi Simon,
can you pls post some model essays in terms of "to what extent do you agree or disagree?" next time.

Thanks a lot for valuable lessons!!

Of course, Simon. thank for your explanation.

No problem guys.

Zhang: Yes, I'll try to do an agree/disagree essay soon.


Is it really alright to write with this format:
My tutor marked me down because she wants me to use this format: intro ( no opinion yet), view one (unbiased), view two (unbiased), my opinion, conclusion.

If I follow hers it will be too much words. But yours fit 250.
hmmm... what should I do??? I'm very confused which to follow.

I will include this topic with my coursework writing

Hi Christian,

An IELTS examiner will NOT mark you down if you use my format - in fact, you will get a better score.


Ok Martha.

My friends got this topic when he did the IELTS exam back in March
god if he had read this...
where did u get this topic Simon?

Hi Rey,

I think a student gave me the question on the Monday after he had taken the exam.

dear teacher Simon, thank for your marvelous advises,

I am writting because i have 2 question.

1. when i should write about advantages and disadvantages, should i mention my opinion ? where?
2. I should mention my opinion in For and against essays

thank you very much for your useful information

Hi Eve,

1. If the question asks for your opinion (like in the lesson above), put it in the introduction, one of the main paragraphs, and the conclusion - look at my essay above to see how I put my opinion in these 3 places. If the question DOESN'T ask for your opinion, don't give it.

2. 'For and against' means the same as advantages/disadvantages or positives/negatives. If you are asking about "agree/disagree" questions, the answer is YES, the whole essay is about your opinion.

Hope this helps

Thanks Simon!! you really solved my doubts!

No problem Eve!

Hi simon.

I've been told that essays should be as "impersonal" as possible. (i.e- avoid using phrases such as "I believe",

But your band 9 sample uses "I".

have I been mislead? If the question asks to write an argumentative essay (not specifically asking for my opinion), would the answer be any different?

Hi Liy,

When the question uses the word "you/your", it's perfectly acceptable to answer using "I".

The advice that you have been given is good for university academic writing. However, IELTS questions are not 'true' academic questions in that sense.

Dear Simon, could you explain for me why you used "minority languages" instead of " minor languages " ? .

I normally think that before a noun is an adjective . I know you are right while I see many people do this as well . So please break this down for me. Thanks

Hi Kevin,

In English we often put 2 nouns together e.g. distance learning, world cup etc.

To read more, just Google "compound nouns".

Hi Simon,

This topic is so difficult and abstract. It is not easy to find a proper expamle. And I am confused about the difference between 'cultural identity' and 'cultural diversity'. Could you explain?

Thanks in advance.

Hi Lei,

Cultural identity = the specific things that we recognise in one culture e.g. the key features of your culture could be food, clothing, social habits, festivals etc.

Diversity means 'variety' or 'differences'. So cultural diversity usually refers to people from different cultural backgrounds living together in one place.

My argument is that language is connected to culture and even to the way we think, so the differences between countries and peoples would disappear if we all spoke the same language.

Hope this helps

thank you very much...

hi simon! is it ok to use "they" and "them".? and how to avoid that pronouns. thanks!

Hi Simon,

Great website, especially on writing task 2.

I have a question on the last sentence,e.g. "By spending money to protect minority languages, governments can also preserve traditions, customs and behaviours that are part of a country’s history." The word 'custom', if is of 'convention' meaning, it's a non-countable word. So, is there any other indication you use plural format please?

Hi Dean,

When talking about the 'local customs' of a country, 'custom' is a normal countable noun.

Maybe you are confusing this with a different use of the word 'custom', meaning 'using a certain shop or dealing with a certain business' e.g. A business person could say to a client: "Thank you for your custom."

great essay


Hi Simon,

Could you help me distinguish the different of "part of" and "a part of"? I'm really confused how to use them correctly in the context.

Thank you so much for your help.

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