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Improving Sentences for Academic Writing

This practice exercise is about improving sentences for a higher score in IELTS writing task 2. See the essay question below.

There is a significant gap between rich and poor countries. Some people think that richer countries should be responsible for supporting poorer countries while others think it is the responsibility of the poorer countries. What is your opinion?

Below are some sentences from a student’s essay on the above topic. Read through the sentences and try to improve them yourself before you check the model answers. In other words, write the sentences again to make them accurate and also a better score.

1. Firstly, it is obvious that this is their job. Poorer countries should not wait for any organisation abroad or other governments to deal with this.

2. Secondly, depending too much on rich countries may make them weaker. For example, they will lose a part of their power  if they agree to allow developed nations to help them with critical issues.

3. Regarding to responsibility  of wealthy countries. They should support poorer countries because there are millions of people in poorer nations need their help. Many people in Africa, especially women and children die everyday because of lack of food, medical treatments.

4. However, rich countries should not be forces to help poorer ones. It should be a choice not a responsibility.

Answer
  1. Firstly, poorer countries need to take immediate responsibility for developing their own country rather than wait for aid from foreign organisations or governments.
  2. Secondly, if poorer nations overly rely on aid from wealthy counties, it can create a dependency which may result in them growing weaker rather than stronger in the long run.
  3. Regarding the responsibility of the wealthier nations in the world, they should support poorer countries which are in need of fundamental help. For example, in Africa many people  die needlessly everyday, especially women and children, because of the lack of food and medical treatment which could be provided by richer countries in the form of aid.
  4. However, aid given by  richer countries should not be an obligation but, instead, a choice to take responsibility to help people in need regardless of the country in which they live.

 

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Recent IELTS Essay: Handwriting Skills for Children

Below is a recently reported essay question with some useful ideas. Read through the ideas and learn any new vocabulary.

Some people think that it is important to teach children the skill of handwriting.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Reasons in Support of Children Learning Handwriting Skills

  • handwriting is a basic tool in many subjects, for example doing tests, taking notes and writing homework.
    • poor handwriting skills or illegible writing can have negative effects on school performance
  • learning handwriting is linked to learning to spell, basic reading and grammar
    • these are basic and fundamental requirements for any school child
  • good handwriting skills should be taught at an early age to form good habits as it is essential later in life
    • in some situations it is better to write by hand rather than type
  • there is a link between cognition and writing by hand
    • children learn better when they are forced to write something by hand

Other Ideas

  •  teaching children how to touch-type would be more useful
    • being proficient in the use of modern technological devices by touch typing is essential for the future
  • focusing on handwriting which is less relevant today, is a waste of time for children
    • time could be better spent on developing other useful skills and knowledge
  • handwriting is linked to learning to spell but spell check is a function that all computers have
    • therefore less time should be spent focusing on this

Practice with Linking Words

In IELTS writing task 2, you will need to use a range of linking words to connect your sentences and to make your essay coherent. If you are aiming for band score 6 and above, it is important to show the examiner that you can use a good range of linkers. This lesson is aimed at intermediate to upper intermediate levels.

Below are some sentences which relate to the topic of work. Fill in the gaps to complete the sentences by choosing the appropriate linking word. Please note that you will need to consider the grammatical structure of each sentence to choose the correct linking word.

1. It is generally agreed that professional people doing shift work, …………………. (like / such as / take for example) nurses, doctors and police, should be given compensation for unsociable hours in the form of better benefits and higher pay.

2. Working overtime has its compensations ……………… ( therefore / but / although) can have a detrimental effect on the family.

3. ……………..(However / Although / But) women have equal employment rights to men, there still exists a glass ceiling, in many countries, which can prevent them from reaching the upper levels of a company.

4. Juvenile delinquency, which is a growing issue in many countries, should be addressed by both schools and parents ……………………( consequently / so as to / so ) get to the root of the problem.

5. Technology has had a great impact on the way people work …………..(but / and / consequently)  will no doubt continue to do so in the future.

Answers
  1. such as (‘like’ is not appropriate to use /  ‘take for example’ would require a different sentence structure to be used)
  2. but (‘although’ would require a different sentence structure to be used)
  3. Although
  4. so as to (this means ‘in order to’)
  5. and 
Tips

 

  1. Don’t just learn the meaning of linking words, learn how to use them correctly.
  2. Never use ‘like’ as a linking word in an academic essay.
  3. Don’t forget to use the linker ‘and’ – it is easy to use and still able to give you a high score.
  4. If you make mistakes with your linkers, you will struggle to get over band score 7 in Coherence and Cohesion, which is 25% of your marks.

 

IELTS Teachers and students can download this lesson for free on pdf file: linking-words-practice

Recommended

Conclusion Linkers: Video Tutorial

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Reported Essay Question Jan 10

Here is an IELTS writing task 2 essay question which was reported in the test on Saturday. Below are some ideas for your answer.

In some countries, fast food restaurants and companies give money to schools provided that the schools promote their products to school children.

What do you think is the positive and negative of this in the development of children?

Positive Effects

  • children benefit from the additional resources and facilities that schools can afford due to the funding from companies
  • children can learn the value of money in order to buy the products being promoted
    • learning to manage money is a useful life skill
    • children learn to be selective about what they buy

Negative Effects

  • promoting companies such as fast food restaurants encourages a poor diet
    • poor diets, which include high quantities of salt and sugar, can be harmful to a child’s health
    • this sets children up to be unhealthy adults which can be expensive for the state in the long run
  • advertising and promoting to children can be exploitative and unethical
    • they are easily influenced
    • they are not able to criticise or form their own opinion
    • this form of advertising is aimed at the parents through their children
    • children are unable to distinguish what is promotional and what is educational

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IELTS Current Essay Question Jan 2015

Below is a an essay question that came in the exam this week.

Directors and managers of organizations are often older people. Some people say that it is better for younger people to be leaders. To what extend do you agree or disagree?

This is an opinion essay which means you must give a clear opinion in the introduction and then support it and explain it in the body paragraphs. Let me give you some ideas for this topic. If you have more ideas of your own, please post them in the comments box below.

Reasons why young people should be leaders

  • young people are usually more up-to-date and in touch with the modern world
  • they are often more dynamic and forward thinking which means they are more open to new ideas
  • young leaders are stronger and healthier than their old counterparts and therefore more able to cope with the demands of leadership

Reasons why older people should be leaders

  • with age comes experience and this is critical for any leader
  • older people have more authority which is needed to lead and manage others
  • a sense of responsibility is needed to lead effectively which is found in older people and often lacking in the young

If you recently did your exam, please post your full essay question in the comments box below so we can all benefit from it.

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Introduction Paragraph Feedback

The introduction paragraph below was sent to me by a student in response to the following essay question.

Essay Question

With an increasing population communicating via the internet and text messaging, face to face communication will become a thing of the past. To what extent do you agree?

Student Introduction

Face to face communication is become less important than the past, since increase and populate communication by the internet and text messaging. In my opinion, I agree that face to face communication will suffer as some small, develop new technologies but it is fishy that it is cause the death of traditional communicate.

Feedback

The ideas and technique in this introduction are fine. However, the grammar and vocaulary make it difficult for the reader. Let’s go through each mistake before seeing the model.

      1.  “Face to face communication is become less important than the past ….” There are two mistakes in this sentence. One mistake is with the grammar tense and one mistake is a missing preposition. Can you correct the errors? Answer
        Face to face communication has become less important than in the past.
      2. since increase and populate communication by the internet and text messaging. There is a problem with both vocabulary and grammar. Can you correct it? Answer
        …since the popular increase in communication by internet and text messaging.
      3. face to face communication will suffer as some small, develop new technologies Can you correct the problems? Answer
        …face to face communication will suffer due to the development of technology.. 
      4. …but it is fishy that it is cause the death of traditional communicateThere are a lot of errors with this part of the sentence due to the choice of vocabulary. How would you write it? Answer
        but it is unlikely that it will result in the disappearance of direct, face to face communication .

Comments

  1. “It is fishy that …” this is an idiom which means it is suspicious. Firstly, the meaning is not right for the above sentence. Secondly, it is not academic. Many idioms are not academic and therefore many shouldn’t be used in IELTS writing task 2. Don’t confuse idioms with idiomatic language. The student should use “it is unlikely to …” or “it is doubtful that …”.
  2. “..cause the death of …” this is also an idiom which can be used in academic writing but the meaning is not appropriate for this essay.
  3. “traditional communication” the writer is trying to paraphrase the words “face to face communication”. Unfortunately, it can’t be paraphrased. Not all words can be paraphrased in English.
  4. Many students try to paraphrase all words because they think they will get a high score. Unfortunately, the result is a lot of errors. If you have frequent errors, you will get band score 5  or 5.5 in vocabulary. You must be very sure of your paraphrasing or you will end up with more and more mistakes which will reduce your band score.

Model Introduction

As a growing number of people are choosing to communicate through the use of modern technology, such as the internet and text messaging, some people think that face to face communication will eventually die out. In my opinion, although I agree that face to face communication will become increasingly less popular, it is unlikely to disappear completely and will still be favoured in certain situations.

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IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Model Essay

Below is an IELTS advantage / disadvantage model essay about having one language in the world. The essay is estimated at band score 9.

The development of tourism contributed to English becoming the most prominent language in the world. Some people think this will lead to English becoming the only language to be spoken globally.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to having one language in the world?

IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Model Essay

It is thought by some people that English, which is now the most widely spoken language in the world, may one day predominate over all other languages and result in their eventual disappearance. Having one language would certainly aid understanding and economic growth but there will also be some drawbacks.

One evident benefit to having one global language is that it would enable greater understanding between countries. In other words, if everyone spoke one language, there would be complete understanding between not only countries but all people throughout the world which would promote learning, the flow of information and ideas. Another reason that one language would be advantageous is that it would help economic growth. With all people speaking the same language, there will be less barriers and therefore trade would flourish between countries, resulting in a healthier world economy.

On the other hand, there are obvious disadvantages to having only one global language. Firstly, it would mean that all other languages would eventually disappear and, along with them, their cultures. The diversity of cultures is one of the joys this world has to offer. Each culture is unique with its own way of life and own perspectives of the world which would all be lost if there were only one language.  Secondly, it would result in the collapse of tourism because there would be no reason to travel for pleasure and interest if all countries had the same language and similar cultures. This would devastate many countries economically that rely on tourism as a source of income.

In conclusion, while there are plus points to having one global language, too much would be lost as a result. Maintaining local languages and cultures should be prioritised to ensure a rich world heritage for future generations.

Comments: This sample answer addresses the task fully and provides relevant, well extended ideas. All aspects of cohesion is well managed. Vocabulary is flexible and there is a good range of complex sentence structures.

More IELTS Model Essays

Opinion Essay Model

Discussion Essay Model

Solution Essay Model

Direct Question Essay Model

All Writing Task 2 Models, Tips and Lessons

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Opinion Essay Introduction Feedback

Below is some feedback to an IELTS opinion essay introduction written by a student in response to the following essay question.

IELTS Essay Question

Due to the development and rapid expansion of supermarkets in some countries, many small, local business are unable to compete. Some people think that the closure of local business will bring about the death of local communities. To what extent do you agree?

Student Introduction Sample

Small business are unable to competition supermarkets, which are rapidly increasing and developing in a number of countries. It is believed that close small business will bring negative impact on local societies. In my opinion modern buildings and comfortable service are important for new societies. However, local business increased the number of job opportunity.

General Feedback

The student introduction does not give a clear answer to the statement and the main points introduced are not completely relevant. It is important to spend time:

  1. to understand the issues in the statement
  2. to find main points which answer the statement.

Below are detailed comments on both the background statement and thesis statement for the student’s introduction.

Background Statement Feedback

Small business are unable to competition supermarkets, which are rapidly increasing and developing in a number of countries. It is believed that close small business will bring negative impact on local societies.

The content of the background statement is fine. The student has paraphrased most of the statement given by IELTS. This means the student is attempting to use the correct technique for IELTS with an academic style. The student has also used a clause in the first sentence which is great to increase the band score for grammar.

Unfortunately, there are also some errors in grammar and vocabulary.

  • to competition = to compete (check the form of the word – don’t use a noun if a verb is needed)
  • to compete supermarkets = compete with supermarkets (check all verbs to see if there needs to be a preposition after them)
  • it is believed that close small business will … = it is believed that the closure of small businesses will … (check the form of the word – it should be a noun not a verb / check the use of plural nouns)
  • will bring negative impact = will have a negative impact (check the use of (a / the etc) articles / check which verb to use)

Here is a model background statement:

Many small, local business are closing, owing to a boom in large supermarkets, and, according to some, this will have dire consequences for local communities.

Thesis statement Feedback

In my opinion modern buildings and comfortable service are important for new societies. However, local business increased the number of job opportunity.

This thesis statement does not address the task or offer a clear answer to the issue. The thesis statement should provide a clear answer to the issue: Do you think the community will die because many small shops close down and people go to do their shopping in large supermarkets instead? Here are some comments on the thesis statement above:

  • The student thesis statement above does not answer this question
  • It gives information about modern buildings which is off topic
  • The thesis contains information about comfortable services which is also off topic
  • It gives information about local business offering jobs – this is also not relevant to the topic

To write the model thesis statement we must understand all aspects of this issue and think more deeply. Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Why do people shop in supermarkets rather than small businesses? Answer
    The reason is that it is more convenient to buy everything in one large shop, for example a supermarket, than have to visit different shops to buy the same things. Supermarkets reduce shopping time and people can find what they want more quickly.
  2. What is the result of people shopping in supermarkets rather than small shops? Answer
    People no long need to go into the town center and walk around the shops to buy their goods. Instead, they can drive to a large supermarket, often located on the outskirts of town, to get what they want.
  3. How does this affect the community? Answer
    Local people no long need to go into the town center. This means that the town center no longer is a place to socialise and meet other people while shopping. As small shops close, town centers become empty and local people become more distant to each other.
  4. Is this the death of the community? Answer
    It certainly means that there are negative effects for communities but communities still survive through social events, through clubs, through schools and other institutions in society. Also there are a number of shops which will not be affected by supermarkets because they are not in direct competition for example, supermarkets do not offer top quality products so high end shops will not be affected by supermarkets.

Here is a model thesis statement:

In my opinion, I agree that communities will suffer as some small, local businesses close but it is doubtful that it will cause the death of local communities.