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March 14, 2012


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I think it may be easier to maximize writing score with the essay with one side argument format. Even though I gave a fake ideal.

Is it true?My tutor taught me to be neutral to write for giving both sides for getting higher scores.

Hi Samuel,

Either way is fine. Your score depends on the quality of your answer.

good day simon:)
I am wondering if the sentence is authentic and right
"car acciidents arising from driving and talking on the phone simutaneously are also a case in point".
i was trying to describe a negative effect that mobile phone had, and already gave an example,so " do you use... is also a case in point" in the essay? thank you simon!

Hi Simon,

I'm a new follower of ur blog and recently brought ur ebook. While I was reading it, I found one of the sentences confused me. I hope u can help me out.

"Technology is no substitute for a real teacher"

I thought I should be "is not a substitute", but after I checked a dictionary, I was convinced ur way of writing is correct. But I wonder why my way is not correct.


Hi Andy,

Yes, that's correct.


Hi Yan,

Both are possible and correct!

Hi Simon,

Can you tell me what are most common topics that are being asked in writing task 2.


Hello Simon,

I have recently appeared in IELTS and didn't get the needed scores so I am planing to retake the test.I find your blog very helpful and it has totally improved my approach toward doing my tasks.
If I get a agree/disagree task in task 2 of my IELTS can I write pros and cons of the topic in the two paragraph and finally mention in the conclusion paragraph that I agree totally with the topic.Would you be kind enough to write if this is a correct way of writing task 2 .Thank you very much

Hi Simon,

I have a question about the introduction.

I made an introduction with the way you showed in the previous essay. But my tutor pointed the introduction has a serious structural problem. Could you help me understand what's wrong with my introduction?


"Some people think that national sports teams and athletes should receive financial support from the government. Others feel that the financial support should come from private donors such as corporations. Discuss both of these points of view and give your own opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. "

My introudction is like this:

"These days national sports players and teams need huge amount of money in order to continuously win matches and perform well. While some people argue that private organizations such as corporations should financially support athletes. I firmly believe that governments should play a bigger role in supporting athletes."

The comments of my tutor is like this:

"The thesis states a position with regard to the topic. In a "both sides of an arguement" essay, the thesis should state that reasons exist to support both sides of the arguement. In addition, the main points are not stated in the introduction. Include two main points. In this kind of essay, each main point should be a specific reason that supports one side of arguement. The main points should be stated immediately after the thesis"

Really thank you in advance.

Hi Jess,

Click this link:



Hi Shara,

If the question asks for your opinion, don't wait until the conclusion. The examiner wants to know what YOU think - don't make it a 'surprise' at the end of the essay.

Give your opinion from the beginning of the essay, then support your opinion with ideas and examples in your main body paragraphs.


Hi Kim,

In my opinion, your introduction is good. You just need a comma before "I firmly" instead of a full stop. Your tutor's suggestion is good for longer essays, but it wastes time if you add reasons to the introduction in an IELTS test.

Hi Simon

Im really confused with the structure for writing. Hope you can help me!

My friends said they wrote freestyle, and they keep it simple and straightforward. In the end, they got 7 or 7.5 for writing.

They don't write like how you gave the examples above. For some ielts books, the authors put their arguments here and there.

My friends who went for the ielts workshop in british council said that we have to write at least 2 advantages and 2 disadvantages.
So I really wish to know how many points should I write and the real structure to get at least band6 for writing.

Please reply me as soon as possible!
Thanks in advance!

Hi Simon,
I just have a short question: is it ok if I mention both sides in 2 body graph even when I totally agree/disagree?
Thanks a million!

Hi Dung,

Yes, but only if you are mentioning the other side to explain why it is wrong (or why you disagree with it).


I am a bit worried on the test I did as I wrote a neutral answer. the question was

"In today's world the younger generation mostly leave their parents house for work and study" write whether this is has more advantages or disadvantages. (I can't remember the exact words but something to that effect)

I wrote in neutral to these stating that, it depends on the persons circumstances and he/she should think wisely before moving

Would i get penalized?

It's fine to give a balanced answer Krishan.

Hi Simon,

I am a bit concern now with the agree and disagree question where i find the way i stating my opinion was, agree to ¨this extent¨ but with impression im inclined to disagree. Would that be a problem?

Also, what happen if I have only 230-240 words?

Apperciate your reply!

Hi Pei,

I find your phrase "agree to ¨this extent¨ but with impression im inclined to disagree" very confusing.

Try to express your opinion more clearly and simply.

Hi Simon, sorry for my late reply.

The question on 21st July at Lee Green, Writing Task 2 was

Money should be spent on building new public buildings instead of renovating the existing one. To what extend I agree or disagree.

I was writing in the sense I agree the money should be spent on building new building, only if it was for newly developed area but not in the dense urban area where there is already existing building.

And the overall impression was that I was against the statement with opinion money should be spent on renovating the existing one or building extension next to the old building.

I felt that my overall statement wasn't clear as I was quite confused on how i should write that I agree money should be spending on building NEW building if it was for new area but not demolishing the existing one and building a new one for the same function.

How bad would this confusion pull down my mark?
What about the penalty too on not writing enough words.

Appreciate your reply.

I hope my question set as a good example for the writing task 2 practice. It is quite a tough question when you have a "neutral" opinion or agree to certain extent or certain scenario.


I think your idea is clear enough Pei.

hi simson.
in supporting "both sides" when i follwed ur blog to give opinion after introduction (i.e i partly,agree..)
my tutor said me not to mention ur opinion after introduction its wrong,u shd state after ur conclusion help me,im giving my xam tommorow only..plz

Hi Swapna,

I disagree with your tutor. The examiner's mark scheme states that your position (your opinion) should be clear "throughout the essay".

hi simon.

i wonder is it compulsory for me to state my opinion in the introduction?
Is it possible for me to give the advantages and disadvantages of the topic first, then state my opinion in the conclusion.

Hello, Simon. My name is Fred.

I did my IELTS exam on 22nd of September. In the writing test, the question was " Some people think advertisements on Tv are beneficial, others disagree. What's your opinion? ".

I believe that this is a opinion question and asking about which side do you support. Therefore, i followed your suggestion and used the Essay A structure. That is only talking about one side that i agree with. In the exam, my view was to support that advertisements on TV are good for people. I also used three good ideas, followed with strong supporting evidence. I did restate my opinion at the end of the essay.

Unfortunately, i just got 6.5 for my writing. I have been doing the IELTS exam in General Module for three times and every time i got 7 for my writing. But, this time i only got 6.5.

I don't understand why did this happen? I also talked to my private tutor and he also agreed with my writing style. So, now i am thinking of asking for the remark of my writing. Do you think this is workable?

Now i am a bit confused about my writing. Is that because i didn't mention the other view, then the examiner gave me that mark?

I would like to hear some thoughts from you. Many thanks, mate.



Hi Simon,

It must be rather overwhelming being asked all these questions on all the links of the blog. Naturally, I wouldn't be here if I did not have at least one.
Namely, do you personally find it acceptable to phrase the topic sentences (of essays, not reports) in this way: 'First of all, WE can analyse influence that athletes have on young people' ? This 'we' as the subject makes the whole sentence sound more fitting for an oral utterance than for writing :(.

Isn't it a bit declarative and ....odd?
Or am I delusional?

Hi simon , I recently gave Ielts test, in writing task The question was (Doing part-time job while studying has some major advanatges but has more Disadvantages)Something like that .

I only Explained Its disadvanges, properly structured with explained two examples in two paragraphs ? Is it fine to just answer only Disadvantages or i made a mistake by only mentioning Disadvantages.if I did How much marks to you think i can loose by anwering just disadvantages

Hi Simon

my question is about expressing the openinon in the introduction pargraph, in the discussion essay.

i followed one of the ielts blog, where the tutor sees that it is better not to express your openion directly like personally, i disagree ..."
änd write it like "it is disagreed, in stead of personal expression."

what do you think?



i want to know is it right way when you are goin to expains from both point of view...
'i will examine the merits of both sides of argument'

A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near your community.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this new influence on your community. Do you support or oppose the factory? Explain your position.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Model answer:
Can we accept development at the cost degrading serene environment of town? Very often people suggest that establishment of a new factory leads to economic prosperity of the surrounding. However, there is no denial of its negative outcomes to environment. Personally, I strongly believe that it could be far more constructive provided that we exercise great caution .
Establishment of factory plays a pivotal part with the stream of diverse benefits. The main benefit that it can offer is job opportunities. It is like a foreign soil which has been so fascinating for the Nepali Diasporas. The need of workers both skilled and menial can be resolved by accommodating of the unemployed. As a result, the town would economically prosper. Looking from advertisement perspective, it would unquestionably make the place known to all at least to its countrymen. Hence, it is going to be the backbone of growth. Nonetheless, it is not devoid of disadvantages either.

On the other hand, the harmful impacts are the stark reality. What is very significant adverse effect is factory will contaminate the quality of the air and water in town by emission of smog. It contains poisonous carbon mono oxide. Consequently, people are likely to prone to some respiratory illnesses which later develop into incurable chronic illness. Also, bangs and unmanaged garbage may lead to sound and water pollution respectively. On the whole, it spoils the beauty of surrounding. To make matters worse, it sometimes does devalue human skills. To put it another way, relying on machines takes away the opportunities for menial workers. Thus, due to these dangers, people often emphatically deny it. It is also true that a systematic approach would be remedy for it.

Weighing these into consideration, I firmly endorse the idea of initiating a factory in the town. Its worth outweighs other by fair margin. It is a universal fact that it results in improved public transportation. Also, local infrastructure sees a drastic change with reliable supply of water and electricity. It is all thanks to setting of new factory. Economic growth due to revenue from it will boost real estate development in our community. Despite a strong criticism, it is time to think ahead and accept the new. Also, can’t we minimize the ill-effects? Environmental pollution through human effort can be lessened, left alone devaluing human skills. Thus, I uphold it whole-heartedly. So do the most people.

In a nutshell, whatsoever the harmful outcomes are the advantages would certainly be beneficial. However, we must make an effort to pacify the inevitable negative outcome. As a matter of fact, development at the cost of a little change should be acceptable.

If i have more positive points regarding a and less negative points regarding a statement and if i wanna mention both,so can i use "partially agree".
For example intrnet has many advantages but few disadvantages also

can you please tell me how to get good score in writing , and i do have doubt regarding the task2 how many maximum words can i write on the task 2. can start my introduction like this the author asserts that, or the author state that .

Hi Simon,

I still confuse whether I have to answer by giving both sides argument or just one side.

I don't really understand the difference between "to what extent do you agree or disagree" and "do you agree or disagree" question.

Should we give one side argument for the question "to what extent do you agree or disagree", and both sides argument for the question "do you agree or disagree"?


Hi Simon,

Can I neither agree nor disagree to an argument completely and can I call out for instances where I would agree and give examples where I wouldn't and finally end of the essay by concluding that the argument lacks facts based on which it can be evaluated and without these information the argument remains open to debate ?

Please do reply as soon as possible. I'm giving my test in 3 days!

Thanks in advance :)

Thanks for the information Simon.

I was told from another teacher that you can still state both opinion in body para 1 and 2 even if you either strongly agree or disagree with the topic.

For instance, "It could be argued that...(body)...therefore, it is possible to insist that (topic) over..." BODY1
"Nevertheless, doing (topic) can bring more...(body)..." BODY2

Would this be the wrong structure when writing "agree and disagree" essay type?
(Not to what extent.)

I state both cases even though I strongly agree with one side.

Is do you agree or disagree type question is different from what extent do you agree or disagree question? Or the same ? Plz clear my doubt.

I too have a doubt about that.. Is agree disagree and what extent u agree or disagree is different?

hi sir
i have a doubt in agree or disagree type essays do v have to add one refuting para?

Hi Simon

I'm a little bit confuse how to attack agree or disagree questions. I saw one of your post that you discussed both sides but you only have one stand. The question with a phrase of "as well as" I think.

Hi Simon,
You have mentioned this on top of this page-For 'agree or disagree' essays, do you think you should give both sides of the argument or just one side? The answer is that you can do either.

A) Essay structure for one side of the argument:

Introduction: topic + your opinion (either agree or disagree)
First idea to support your opinion
Second idea to support your opinion
Conclusion: repeat your opinion
B) Essay structure for giving both sides:

Introduction: topic + say that you 'partly agree'
On the one hand,...
On the other hand,...
Conclusion: repeat that you accept elements of both arguments

My question is is the question agree or disagree or to what extend you agree or disagree.
Is your answer valid for agree/disagree questions?
Thanks for the explanation.

Hi Simon
I wonder if the following structure is correct when facing a "to what extent do you agree or disagree" question:

PH1.introduction: totally agree
PH2.arguments: reasons for why i agree
PH3.refer to possible reasons for why others disagree only to challenge and overthrow their views and finally restate my opinion
PH4. conclusion

Hope that you still check comments on this page which is very old LOL.Thanks a lot

Hi Simon,

I recently gave IELTS examination where in Writing task 2 - essay, It was straightly asked as " Do you agree or disagree".. I, in my thesis and conclusion mentioned as " In my opinion it is certainly true that.... and later in conclusion as " In my opinion, it is not wise that...." . I have not mentioned that " I agree or I do not agree" but instead did as told above. Will it affect my band score or my answer will be considered as clear agree/disagree? I seek your guidance on this matter please.

Hello, Simon .
I am sitting for IELTS this month. I would like to ask if i wish to write both supporting ideas for different stand in agree and disagree essay ? Is it a must to write I partially agree?

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