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Wednesday, April 03, 2019


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Thank you Mr Simon. Particularly pertinent for those seemingly stuck on 6.5.


Following your train of thought, is this a "good essay structure" for Discussion Type essay?

Body 1 - View 1
Body 2 - View 2
Body 3 - Opinion

I have seen this structure many times and I think Body 3 is a bit redundant. What is your thought? Thanks



To me, this suggests that it would be better to add your own opinion to each paragraph as you go, or skew the discussion in some way so that your own opinion is clear, possibly by pointing out the weaknesses of one view and the strengths of the other.



This seems to also apply even for an agree/disagree question:


Hi Simon,

Great Post! Can you please explain what do you mean by the real content in more detail? Thanks!

Hi Vishaal

Did you take IELTS already?

Hi Cara,

Twice! Got band 6.5 in writing, chasing for the band 7.5 in the next attempt.


Look at my essay and suggest!

Plastic shopping bags contribute to the pollution of land and sea. Some people think they should be banned. Do you agree or disagree?

It is argued that polythene carry bags play a significant role in contaminating soil and ocean, and thus they should be prohibited. I fully support this viewpoint as they put an extra burden on government and cause certain health issues in people.

It has always been a big challenge for authorities to decompose used plastic bags. That is to say, polymeric components in such bags are difficult to destroy or recycle, and they release harmful fumes when burning under the fire. Therefore, governments need to spend a huge fund, just to remove unwanted plastic wastes from their countries, which can be utilized in other crucial areas, such as education, transportation, and research. The United States Government, for example, has completely banned the use of plastic bags in 2005 as they had to annually spend around 20 million USD for removing polyethylene waste from all of the States.

Plastic constituents have detrimental effects on human well-being. They easily react with food products when in contact at the room temperature, and leach hazardous chemicals into them, especially when they are in a semi-solid or liquid state. Hence, if people daily consume food stored in plastic bags or containers, they will be at a higher risk of getting serious health disorders. Multiple research studies, for instance, conducted at the World Health Organisation have revealed that elements in polythene bags are carcinogenic for humans if they are ingested for a prolonged period of time.

In conclusion, the use of plastic bags ought to be stopped altogether to remove the additional financial burden from states’ shoulder, and to maintain a healthy society.


1) Apparently, plastic shopping bags were traditionally made from polyethylene, but some from polylactic acid or bioplastics. "Polythene" is a less used term. See here:

My understanding is using a three-word phrase from the question will not lower the score, whereas paraphrasing the topic itself may be inaccurate and misleading.

2) "It is argued": this is ambiguous; this phrase is sometimes used to refer to your own viewpoint. It has often been argued

3) "they put an extra burden on government": how so? It is not the bags themselves that are a burden; possibly the problems with collection and disposal.

4) https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=a+*+challenge&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t2%3B%2Ca%20%2A%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Ba%20major%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20serious%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20direct%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20new%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20real%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20great%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20formidable%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20significant%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20special%20challenge%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ba%20greater%20challenge%3B%2Cc0

"Big" is usually informal outside of certain standard phrases such as "Big Data".

5) "for authorities to decompose used plastic bags." The issues are in collection, sorting, and disposal. Plastic bags are rarely recycled in practice. See Wikipedia above.

6) "when burning under the fire": when burnt

7) "spend a huge fund":

8) "which can be utilized":

9) "has completely banned .. in 2005 "
Present perfect is rarely used with a specific date or a finished period. Use past simple instead.

10) "if people daily consume food stored"; 'daily' does not come between subject and verb. .... on a daily basis.

11) 'from states’ shoulder': not a natural phrase. from central government and local authorities

12) "maintain a healthy society.": maintain public health/ as a matter of public health

Some countries have already banned plastic shopping bags. There are issues around the legal definition, what constitutes 'single-use', how thick the plastic film needs to be to escape the ban, whether bio-plastic bags can be used instead, and whether the alternative, which is sometimes paper bags, is better environmentally.

My understanding is that examiners are not especially looking for technical vocabulary, but would expect to see words, such as "toxic", "disposable", "recyclable", of more general applicability.

Thanks Cara for in-depth analysis and valuable suggestions!

Thanks again Cara !

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