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Positive or Negative Development: IELTS Model Essay

An IELTS model essay for positive or negative development questions. It is common in IELTS writing task 2 to be asked to choose either something is a positive or negative development or trend. Your task is to answer the question in the introduction and explain your answer in the body paragraphs.

IELTS Positive &Essay Question

Nowadays, more people are choosing to socialise online rather than face to face. Is this a positive or negative development?

IELTS Model Essay: Positive or Negative Development?

An increasing number of people meet and talk to their friends online instead of in person. In my opinion, this is a negative development which can lead to isolation, potentially harmful situations and also problems later on in life.

One serious problem that can arise from people socialising online is that it can lead to isolation. Before the internet, people would frequently go out to meet friends, for example in cafes, bars or restaurants, whereas now people prefer to stay at home alone, chatting online. As a result, people are starting to spend the majority of their time alone at home in their room without meeting others. Isolation of this kind is not healthy and can sometimes lead to depression and other issues.

Another issue is that meeting people online can be risky. In other words, people can assume fake identities online as well as hide their true characteristics. This is particularly concerning for teenagers who are impressionable and can easily be led into dangerous situations. Furthermore, as this interaction is online, parents have no way of monitoring it and protecting their children.

Finally, socialising online can end in difficulties years later as conversations and shared photos that had been forgotten reappear. This situation is currently critical for many people, again especially for teenagers who do not think carefully before posting online. That is to say, information which is put online can remain there forever and while people may share intimate communications with close friends, these words can then resurface later on leading to much embarrassment.

In conclusion, although it has become more popular for people to socialise through the internet, it has brought about too many problems for this to be considered a positive trend.

Examiner’s Comments: This essay provides a clear answer to the essay question. The position is clearly presented in the introduction and also explained and supported throughout the essay. Linking devices are well used and ideas are organised logically. Language is flexible and accurate. This would reach band 9. (Word count = 286)

More IELTS Model Essays:

IELTS Agree Disagree Essay (Opinion Essay)

IELTS Discussion Essay

IELTS Direct Question Essay 

IELTS Solution Essay

All IELTS Model Essays, Tips & Free Videos for Task 2

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  1. Hi Liz,

    The way I prefer to answer these types of question is:
    Body 1 negatives
    Body 2 positives
    Conclusion: Since the positives outweigh the negatives it is a positive change or vice versa.

    Is this a correct approach? Or does it have to be one dimensional like the example essay above?


    • What do the instructions tell you to do? Do the instructions as you positive OR negative. Or do the instructions say to give both the positive AND negative and give your view?

  2. Thank you, Liz! Your tips and suggestions are valuable and precious. I’ve gone through some of them and they’ve really helped me get an idea of what an IELTS test is supposed to look like. Thank you, once again, for generously helping many of us!

  3. Hi liz
    I am an IELTS trainer and I constantly goes through your site and finds it very beneficial.Recently my students gave IELTS exam and they got question as follow:
    Nowadays men’s sports are given far more attention by society as compared to females.What are the reasons for that? Do you think it is a positive or negative situation?
    Now my question is I always told my students two answer such questions in two paragraphs.Body paragraph one stating reasons and body paragraph 2 saying whether it is a positive or negative development…And I know that my students have excellent writing skills,but both of them got 5.5.I couldn’t believe it.Can you please tell me whether answering this way is wrong or fine?This will help me to guide in future,especially regarding going for reevaluation

    • It’s absolutely fine to answer that way. The reasons are in one body paragraph and the pos/neg opinion will be in the second body paragraph. Getting the right paragraph structure is only one of many steps to getting a good score in IELTS. It is completely possible to get band 5 and still have the right paragraphs. Their band score will be based on the ability to extend ideas, using a range linking words, not making mistakes with linking words, connect ideas back to the issues given, grammar range, grammar accuracy, punctuation, vocabulary range, choice of words, avoiding learned phrases, poor paraphrasing (this means over paraphrasing) and spelling. So, you see, there are many reasons they might have got 5.5.

  4. Hi Liz,

    How this essay can get 9 bands. As it starts with negative and ended with positive development. “considered as a positive trend” (Conclusion)

    I believe, the opinion must be the same throughout the essay.

    • Please read it again carefully:

      “…it has brought about too many problems for this to be considered a positive trend.” = “too many problems for this to be positive” – this means it is not positive at all, it is negative. It is an advanced level of English.

  5. Srishti says:

    Hi liz
    Could you tell me in these types of essay we can go with one side or explain both positive side and negative side

  6. These days,majority of people prefer socializing online instead of face to face interaction.In my opinion,it definitely is a negative development which will pose potential harms to the social health of community.

  7. This essay is 242 word long, will it get 9?

  8. Hi Liz
    “Is this good or bad thing?”

    How do we categorize above within types of essay you mentioned over your website ?
    Is this “Positive or Negative” essay OR “Direct Question Essay” ?

    • Direct questions include “positive negative”. It could be any direct question or questions. “good or bad” is the same.

  9. Hi Liz, I just took the IELTS on the 6th and 7th of January 2018. I just can’t state it exactly but as far as I remember ….
    My Writing Task 2 topic was:
    Many people spend money, and not save. What are the reasons? Is this a positive or a negative development?

  10. Nita Aprilia says:

    Thank you so much, Liz! I really appreciate all your works.
    Best regards from Indonesia!

  11. I guess you are not interested in my comments and keep deleting them. Whatever the reason I’m not leaving comments any more
    Thanks anyway

    • I am not able to answer over 10 thousand comments that are waiting for me. I work alone and I am human – on top of that I am seriously ill. If you are not happy with the 300 pages of tips, lessons and videos that I provide for free, that is your choice. Sometimes

  12. Hi Liz,

    When it comes to a Negative or positive kind of an essay, can we say some this is both+ and – and support both sides in the essay. Is it also correct?

  13. Hi Liz!
    Probably you have been asked this question a lot of times but can I write that something has both positive and negative effects and still state that it’s more like positive, for example (in positive/negative development essay)? Or should I stick to one side only?
    Thanks in advance

  14. Hi Liz,

    Evan here, I think it should be “negative trend” instead of positive trend at the last part, I mean the last phrases..’it has brought too many problems for this to be considered as positive trend..” in the conclusion. Please correct if I’m wrong or not.

    • “it brought too many problems to be positive” This means there were so many many many problems that it is not positive. This is the meaning of that sentence.

  15. Leoni Spilker says:

    Hi Liz,

    first I would like to thank you for your support and informations you offer to all students around the world! Your homepage is fantastic!!!
    I bought your advanced lessons for the writing part but I am still not sure when I have to state my opinion and when not to…
    It is obvious to give my opinion when the question says “Do you think../To what extend do you agree/What is your opinion….” but in the essay above the question is “Is this a pos. or neg. development?” I don’t understand why I should give my opinion. Do you have any advice, when to write/not write my opinion?
    Thanks in advance,

  16. Gita Sharma says:

    Hi Liz,
    i am in a serious mess. One of my students inquired me about ” the positive or negative development question” and it was ‘Can we write that it has both positive AND negative development in the introduction? Though i have told her that we can’t as the question asks us either positive OR negative, not AND. But, i am still in doubt.Please answer!

    • Students need to be very careful that they don’t change an opinion essay into a discussion essay. You are right the instructions ask “OR” which means to choose. With these essays, the easiest way to deal with it is to choose one side and have a main point for each body paragraph. As you can see , in my model essay above, I have chosen one side.

      It is also possible to choose a specific opinion (balanced view). This doesn’t mean that something is both negative AND positive. It means you express in exactly what way it is negative and in what way it is positive – a very quantified and specific view. This technique is only possible with high level students who have the English ability to present this type of view. Any lower level student will make a mistake and WILL get a lower score as a result.

      So, from a teacher’s perspective, it is better to encourage them to go for a one sided view. Unless you have very high level students who can deal with a specific view point.

      • Hi liz
        I wrote an introduction on this essay.Do you think i should change it related to conversation you had above?
        ”Presently an increasing number of people meet with their friends online instead of facing each other.In my opinion altough this provides some easiness , this is a negative development which can lead to social isolation and also possible damaging situations.

  17. Hi Liz!
    Your lessons are very helpful and I enjoy learning from you.
    I would like to ask about positive or negative development question types.

    From Cambridge 8 Test 2 material:
    “Has this become a positive or a negative development?” – Is it correct to explain about EFFECTS/CONSEQUENCES or have I misunderstood the word development ?

    Thank you 🙂

    • You are asked to present your opinion – is it positive or is it negative. Your whole essay should explain your view.

  18. Hi Liz,
    In a positive or negative development essay, could we able to write a balance approach?

    • A balanced approach does not mean you sit on the fence. You must have a clear position, a clear opinion which you explain.

  19. Hi Liz,
    I can see you’re inundated with questions here. Sorry to drop another on your lap.
    In your conclusion you didn’t use ‘opinion’ words, but rather stated the conclusion as though it were a fact i.e. you didn’t say “in my opinion”..
    I infer that you think this is ok, even though I steer my students away from this. Are you working on the basis that it’s implied that it’s your opinion or in fact, do you believe it’s a fact.
    [Interesting to note your use of rephrasing twice (body para’s 2 and 3)]
    Great site.
    PS I’m a Kiwi. How did you find NZ?

    • Hi Mark, yes, I’m just implying. As the whole essay is about my opinion, it therefore follows that my conclusion summarises exactly that. However, by all means recommend your students to make their opinion clear in the conclusion as well. Teachers are always best to give advice that steers students of all levels in a safe direction.

      I loved New Zealand. I did my teacher training in Auckland Language Center and also travelled around North Island. Unfortunately, I didn’t see much of South Island. Hopefully will do on another trip 🙂

  20. Hello! I want to ask a question for positive and negative essay…
    Do i need to answer both positive and negative sides o the issue or one side is enough? thanks in advance

    • Have you read the instructions carefully? Does it say “AND” or does it say “OR”. Is it asking for both or is it asking you to choose? Read the instructions.

  21. Hello Liz, if the question asks ” what are the positive and nagative effects on the trend ” do we have to discuss both negative and positive sides ?

    • If it asks for positive AND negative, you give both. If it asks you to choose “is it positive OR negative”, you need to express what you think.

  22. Gita Sharma says:

    Dear Liz,
    Can i start my introduction with “it is true that” if the question asks ‘is it a positive or negative development?’

  23. Gita Sharma says:

    Dear Liz,
    whenever we get a question of “positive or negative development”
    are we supposed to follow POSITIVE , NEGATIVE OR A BALANCED APPROACH?
    Do we have the liberty to write “I firmly believe it is a positive exercise in introduction” and state the negatives in the first main body paragraph and write positives in the second main body paragraph followed by a positive opinion in conclusion?

    • It is asking for your opinion. You decide your own opinion based on the issues given. Of course you can choose to say you think it is only positive. Your view is your view. The examiner is looking for a clear position with main points that support your view.

  24. Alaa Alshammari says:

    Dear Liz
    thank you for your useful sit,however in the last sentence of the conclusion paragraph, i think it is a negative trend not positive, is it?

    • I’m glad you checked with me. This sentence is correct. “it has brought about too many problems for this to be considered a positive trend.” when it is written “too many problems to be consider positive” is means that this can’t be positive – there are too many problems. Does that help?

  25. Hi liz, I have a question I would like to ask you. I´ve seen an statement that said: “Examine the arguments in favour of and against animal experiments, and come to a conclusion on this issue.”
    A part from arguing pros and cons, is this asking for my personal opinion? thanks in advance!:)

  26. Anil Shrestha says:

    Dear Liz,

    The question did not directly ask for the opinion or view but instead for positive and negative development. In such question do we need to give our opinion?

    • It does not ask for a positive AND negative development. It asks if you think it is positive OR negative. This means you need to choose what you think – that’s an opinion.

  27. Mohamed Hindam says:

    Will I be penalised if I use the academic style for solving GT task2 writing?

  28. Livi jomon says:

    His Liz,first of all I want to thank u for ur lessons.I recently appeared for ielts academic exam in kerala ,India.My writing task 2 was;Nowadays children likes to stay with computer games rather than outdoor activities.Why is this?State your view as it is a positive or negative development?

  29. Can we write both opinions in Positive or Negative development essay?

    • It is asking you to choose and explain your view. If it asks about family and individuals, one could be positive and the other negative. But if it asks about one thing, then you can’t have both. This isn’t a discussion essay.

  30. Hi Liz,
    I wanna say thank you for providing such helpful material and tips for us. I took my IELTS Test yesterday and got this model of task 2 in writing.
    The question was (I can’t remember the exact words):
    ‘More and more people are travelling to another countries. What is the cause, is it a positive or negative development?’
    The test was held in Indonesia, just wanna share hope it helps 🙂

  31. hi Liz that’s a perfect site.is there any lesson about punctuation marks?i am suffering from this

  32. There is a typo in the last sentence.

    … for this to be considered a positive trend.

    I suppose it should be a negative trend.

    • I’m glad you are thinking carefully about the meaning of language. This sentence “it has brought about too many problems for this to be considered a positive trend” is actually correct. The words “too many problems” is negative which means that there are so many problems, it can’t be a positive trend.

  33. Hi Liz. In your essay example above, you state your opinion (positive/negative) and give the reason for the opinion in the introduction. What if the question ask for the cause of some issue and also the trend? What should i state in the introduction? Both or just one? And how do i arrange the content in the paragraphs? For example: what is the cause for this issue? Is it a positive or negative development?

    Thanks in advance. :’)

    • It’s trick with cause and solution because you usually have two causes and two solutions so it’s too much to write it all in the introduction. You could give the causes and add “solutions must also be considered” so something like that. Then do the reverse for the conclusion.

  34. you are the best teacher……

  35. i have given IELTS test in Abu Dhabi writing task 2
    People are drinking more sugar based drinks. what are the reasons and how to prevent it.
    Writing task1 was
    The table gives information of population aged over 60 in 2000 and prediction of aged population in 2050 of six continents (asia, africa, europe, south america ,north america, oceana.) and the whole world…same as the one you have given in one of the sample ….

  36. Tara Bahadur Wanem says:

    I am really proud of myself getting a real guider like you for my IELTS preparation. I want to get some more tips and ideas from you so that I can do my level best in IELTS exam. Thank you so much Liz.

  37. Hi dear Liz. Can you help me I have just one question. Most artists earn low salaries and should therefore receive funding from government in order to continue with their work. do you agree. … What does ‘artists’ mean in this essay? just Painters or musicians , sculptors as well ? Thanks in advance.

    • The word “artist” covers most creative professions. You can highlight that in your essay with examples.

  38. quang anh says:

    In this type of essay, I am still allowed to give own opinion ? It is not required

    • This is asking for your opinion – it’s asking you to choose.
      All the best

      • quang anh says:

        thank you !

        • Dr. Sharif says:

          Dear Liz mam,
          Here the question is, is it a positive or negative development? . Author likes to answer as negetive deveopment and gives detail description why is it negative development.
          My question is, why does he not write a paragraph on its positive development? is it necessary? is it only acquired in both view discussion question?
          Thank you for your good job.
          Best regards!
          from Bangladesh

          • The instructions do not ask you to present the positive AND negative developments. The instructions ask if you think it is positive or negative – you need to choose and present your opinion. Be very careful that you understand the difference between essays which require you to discuss both sides and essays which require you to choose.

  39. can we support for both positive and negative.finally , in conclusion we say that there are more disadvantages than advantages……….


    This topic comes to me yesterday in my ielts test 🙁

  41. Hi Liz. are you gonna post your (do the advantages outweigh disadvantages) band9 example essay?

  42. Hi Liz. can I present both positive and negative trends in my essay.

    • You can either choose a one sided approach or a balanced approach but don’t go for the balanced approach unless you have been trained how to write it.
      All the best

  43. Hello Liz, I had this type of question in my last exam. The question is- Children are given more freedom nowadays as compared to the past. Do you think it is a positive or negative development?

    Can we answer like

    Intro- while some people believe it is a positive development , I strongly disagree their view ( making my stance clear in the essay)

    1st body- Some people believe it is positive dev for several reasons- firstly,…… Secondly……

    2nd body- however, I strongly delieve there are more detrimental effects, one of the major reason is,……. Another reason is…… Finally…..

    Conclusion- although there are few benefits I personally feel that the demerits of this outweigh the advantages.

    Pls comment on this, is this acceptable?

  44. Hi Liz,

    I just wonder that whether we should use chat online instead of chatting online in 2nd paragraph of this essay since it can be a verb to present second action after “people prefer to”.

    Thank you / Thu

  45. Hi Liz,
    If am writing a positive /nigantive essay like this one above, do I write about only negatives if I think that the negatives are more or do I write about both of pros and cons and then say my opinion?…
    Do I say my potion in separate paragraph, or I say it in the paragraph that I agree with?….. Plz answer me I really need this?…..


    • It does not ask you to discuss both sides. You answer the question – which one do you think “positive OR negative”.

      • Amin Chowdhury says:

        Dear Liz,
        Yesterday I took General IELTS. My writing task 2 was that some people use some languages and these are disappearing in some countries. What are the reasons? Is it positive or negetive development?

        I wrote the some reasons with following your problems and solutions structure. I took the position of negetive development. I didn’t mention anything about positive develop. In conclusion paragraph, I mentioned only how can solve this.
        Am I in correct position?

  46. I hope I can write my essay as good as this. ☺

  47. Hi Liz,
    Is it okay to combine BP 2 and 3? thanks

    • I wouldn’t combine them. They are different points – one is about danger and one is about sharing personal information. Also it would make the body paragraphs unequal if you combined them.

  48. Dear mam,
    Thankyou for your lessons.may i ask you two doubts.1)while writing body paragragh can we include two or three points in same.For eg.if we need to state reasons for an opinion essay, can we include two reasons and its explanation in one paragraph by using firstly and secondly.2) whether it is neccessary to put a counter argument for agree diagree essay.

    • Each paragraph must have a central theme. Keep ideas logically organised. If it is an opinion essay, the whole content of the essay explains your opinion and nothing more.

  49. Liz,

    When will your next course be finished (I bought both already).

    Are you an examiner – present or past? Thanks!

  50. Dear teacher,

    I’m a little bit confused this question. Should i give my opinion or should I discuss both point of view? What I’m trying to say is that whether opinion essay or discussion essay.
    To tell you the truth, I can’t make a distinction this question if opinion essay or discuss essay.
    Could you explain a little bit more, please?
    Thank you very much!

    • This question is asking you to choose “or” not to give both “and”. Read the instructions “positive or negative”. When you choose something, it is your opinion. So this is asking you to choose a side and explain why you think that.

  51. Hello from Brazil Liz,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for your tips. It is very helpful and has help me a lot.

  52. hello Liz ,
    I just wonder the type of the your answer , because that type Of essays came to me in my last exam and I did not estate my opinion directly (as I thought the question did not ask to give personal opinion , I thought it needed a general answer) , is that right to answer this type of essay questions with general point of view not personal point of view??
    If I were wrong ,that would illustrate why I had 6 in my last exam however I was sure I did quite well :)=======I am trying to figure out my mistakes

    • Any questions that asks you to choose between two options, is asking for your opinion. It’s a personal choice and you must state your choice in the introduction and explain it in the body paragraphs. This is one of the biggest reasons why students fail to get the score they want.

  53. I tried writing my opinion on the essay and my last point is not too clear to me so i was wondering if u could check it out for me. This is the last point stated below.

    Online friendship makes it possible for one to experience the new and advanced trend that technology is depicting to the world. Technological advancement is moving the world to a different direction, and the only way to abreast oneself with such advanced improvement is to stay connected to the global network and a way of doing that is to keep up with this change.

  54. TON THAT HOA says:

    “This is particularly concerning for teenagers who are impressionable and can easily be lead into dangerous situations.”

    Hi Liz, I think there is a small mistake in the sentence: led must be used instead of lead because it is in passive voice.


  55. Hi Liz,

    For this type of question, do I always need to choose positive or negative?
    Or can I say, for instance, that this is positive for individuals and negative for society?


    • Yes, you can say that one aspect is positive and one aspect is negative. This is called a balanced approach where you quantify your opinion. If the essay question was only about society, you should just choose one side.
      All the best

  56. What score would you give for this essay?

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