IELTS Discussion Essay Video Lesson: Useful Language

Learn expressions to use in your discussion essay for IELTS writing task 2 with this video lesson. It is important to use a variety of language to express both sides in your essay. Being able to have flexible language for giving other people’s opinions is a good way to increase your vocabulary band score.


Hello in this lesson I’m going to look at some expressions that you can use for a discussion essay for IELTS writing task 2. Now when you have a discussion essay you have to support two different sides and this is not about your opinion this is about what other people think, other people’s opinion and you have to support what they think. so here are some very useful expressions to help you show other people’s thoughts and opinions.

Now there’s quite a lot of expressions you can use. I will run through each one but I will tell you now there are two expressions here that you shouldn’t use. can you see which ones? well I’ll tell you at the end of the lesson let’s have a look the first one. “Many people believe that ” this is a very common expression to use for IELTS It is not high band score but its clear and its academic so don’t worry, please use it. The next one “it is commonly believed that” this is a very nice expression because you can see here “is believed” that is the passive and it’s very good to give the examiner some passive tense in your essay. It will improve your band score and you can see this word here “commonly” that means many people so it has the same meaning as this sentence and this word we can change, we could say “it is frequently believed that” or we could say “it is often believed that”. So we could put a different adverb of frequency here. The next one “some people think that”  again it’s very simple but it is academic and its clear. “It is often thought that” here we’ve got another passive, so very nice to use. But “on the side of” or “the other side of the coin is” this is the other opinion, the other side. “It is considered by many that” this is a very nice expression is very academic. It’s very good to use for IELTS and again you have a passive here and you can change this word if you want and you could say “it is considered by some that”. The next one here “many argue that” is very nice very clear. You don’t need to say “many people”, you could say “many argue that “. Another one, “it is argued by some that”, again here we’ve got the passive and you can change this word, “it is argued by many that”. “On the one hand” and”On the other hand”, so that’s the one side of the argument, on the other hand that’s the other side of the argument. The last one “some people support the opinion that” again this is very nice, very academic.

So can you see the 2 expressions that you shouldn’t use? Well, it is these 2 here this one is not very academic, we use it more for speaking, and this one many students love to use this because it is an idiom however it is very informal and we don’t usually use that for an academic essay for IELTS so please don’t use that one in your discussion essay. But all the others are great and when you’re writing your discussion essay it’s very important that you give the simple tense and then sometimes a passive as well and you can keep changing that through your essay to show flexibility. Well that’s all for this lesson I’ll see you again in another IELTS lesson

Discussion Essay Model Answer


  1. Ebizi Eradiri Njoku says

    Hi Liz,

    I am exceedingly grateful for your copious and advantageous free resources.

    I will be back with my testimonial about how your resources assisted me with acing my IELTS test once.

    Well done and God bless you.

    Ebizi Eradiri Njoku

  2. hi Liz I have subscribed your channel for many years now .I do receive some emails .However I need support in writing the introduction for a discussion please could you guide me

    • Think about getting my advanced lessons. I’ll be offering a discount at the start of July: The reason I made advanced lessons is so that I could explain fully how to write essays step by step. Each lesson is around 1 hour in length.

  3. Meenakshi Gupta says


    I am a new student learning the IELTS and today I started following you with the lesson writing task – 2. It is observed that there are -04- types of essays. I started the discussion type but little confused and not able to analyse the discussion type. Please advise, how may I understand whether the topic is discussion or opinion-based or discussion with opinion.


  4. Ekta Rani says

    Dear liz,
    I have read your E-Book and that helped me a lot because I didn’t know about how to develop Ideas, but after reading that book I have learned what we can write in our essay according to the topic. Thank you for making that E-book.
    But here I have different doubt about structuring an Introduction for discussion type essay. (Specially, one sided opinion essay)
    While writing discussion type essay, you taught to give balanced approach or one sided approach. My confusion here is after paraphrasing both view points in the introduction we can directly state our opinion even if it is one sided, do we have to mention that why we do not agree with the other view point? What I mean to say is, if I think cooperation is more important to learn then do i have to mention why i do not think competition is important?
    My another doubt is do we have to give the hint what body paragraphs will discuss about within the introduction? Like, after paraphrasing the two different view points do we have to write again that many people think competition because it develops a sense of self-esteem in a child, while others believe cooperation is important as it helps in developing social skills + giving my opinion stating, I believe cooperation is important + reason why I believe so + why don’t I believe competition is important?

    I am confused what should I exclude to make a short yet clear Introduction with one sided clear opinion? because giving reason why we do not think other view point is more important is making introduction too lengthy. Similarly giving hint within the introduction why people have different view points making it too lengthy.

    • Your background statement will include the two views held by others. The details for those views will be explained in the body paragraphs. The thesis statement will contain your view and the body paragraph will explain it. It is your choice how you develop the body paragraph. You might want to explain why you agree with one side and why you disagree with the other – if they are two completely different choices to make. It really depends on how much you have to say. IELTS essay are as much about strategy as they are about ideas. Think about word count and length. IELTS essays are short – they were never designed to be long. You should be aiming between 270 and 290 words. So, plan each sentence before you start writing and you’ll soon see how much you can and can’t fit into each paragraph. Also remember that if you agree with one side fully, your opinion will be given along side (in the same paragraph) as the same view that others have. If you are unsure or confused, get my Advanced lessons because I’ve explained it really carefully in those lessons: Glad you liked the Ideas E-book 🙂

  5. Hello Ma’am, Sorry for over bugging You
    Hope You’re kicking fine. Meanwhile, Where can I get full length videos of Your Academic Test teachings on Tips for Task 1 writing- Graphs, Charts, pictures etc- My elder Brother is attempting it for the first time and needs help with it as His Academic test is slated for 12 September. I introduced Him to Your blog but all He could set His eyes on were snippets of Your teachings on YouTube.

    Best Regards.

  6. Francis says

    Hello Liz,
    i visited your website and discovered numerous information and tips that will be useful for my ielts academic test. please i would like to be notified for any new video and information.

    • You can access over 300 pages of free lessons and tips through the RED MENU Bar at the top of the website. All new lessons can be found listed in the side bar column if you are using desktop or at the bottom of all posts if you are using a smart phone.

  7. Hi Liz,
    I am a little confused when it’s about the introduction of the “discuss both views and give your opinion” essay.
    As I understood, introduction is made of 2 parts:
    1. Paraphrasing the question (very clear)
    2. Thesis to introduce the topics of the body paragraphs
    In this type of questions, if we start the thesis just right after paraphrasing with “in my opinion”, doesn’t show the examiner that my essay will be only about my opinion?

    You’re website and advanced videos are very helpful
    Thank you

  8. Waleed Khan says

    Hello liz i find your videos very helpful, i wanted to ask can you give the complete structure of an ielts essay

    • You can find model essays on the main writing task 2 page – click on the RED BAR at the top of the website.

  9. Hi Liz,

    Thank you very much for all your insights on various topics on IELTS. I genuinely appreciate it.

    I have a doubt regarding the essay writing; are we allowed to use colon, semi-colon and double-dash in our GT essays and letters just as how I’ve used in this comment?

    Your input here will be a good help. Thanks again.

    🙂 Sunil

    • There is no need to use them. Using just full stops and commas is enough. However, there are a no fixed rules.

  10. Machie Emeka says

    Hi Liz,
    Thanks your youtube videos are outstanding and very helpful. Please i will need some clarifications on the following:
    1. Can I treat an opinion essay as a discussion essay where i write about both views or do i just stick with my opinion throughout my essay.
    2. Is this thesis statement correct- This essay will discuss both views before reaching a logical conclusion.
    Will appreciate your response

    • You can’t alter the instructions and write a discussion essay if you are given an opinion essay. However, it is possible to have a partial agreement but you need training for that. See my Advanced Writing Task 2 lessons:
      2. That is not a thesis statement for IELTS. If you are asked for your view, you must give it directly – I, my. The words “this essay” does not represent your own personal opinion. Also NEVER use learned phrases in an English language test. Each sentence must be created uniquely by you. The examiner will put a line through any learned sentences.

  11. Ma’am thanks so much for all the content that you have provided!
    I had a question regarding a discussion cum opinion essay.
    Do I make 1 body paragraphs for each side and a third body para for the details of my opinion (totally 3 paras) or do i combine both sides in body paragraph 1 and explain my perspective in the 2nd body paragraph?

    I’d very much appreciate your input.

    • Do not combine opposite sides in one paragraph. If your opinion agrees with one side, add it to that paragraph. Otherwise, create a third body paragraph.

  12. Ksenia says

    Your website is a lifesaver, thank you so much for your work!
    I have a question regarding the use of singular ‘they’ in an essay: is it allowed or is it better to be avoided? I find myself using it quite often but I am not sure how the examiner would react.
    Thank you in advance

  13. Anne Marie says

    Hi Liz,
    Your videos are very informative.

    In an opinion essay, could the term ‘I feel’ be used? Or is it better to use I think or I believe?


  14. It’s very helpful thank you. You’re doing a great job.

  15. Pradzee says

    This was very helpful.

  16. Crucifixo says

    Can we say “On the flip side …”?

  17. Daniela says

    Hi Liz,
    Thank you for your support 🙂
    I wanted to ask you about Writting Task 2; in an opinion essay should I writte the two paragraphs to support my opinion or should I writte the first paragraph for supporting and admitting the suggested opinion in the topic and the second to introduce mine. So do I get more points for a balanced answer or should I present my 2 topics in both paragraphs?

    • Liz says

      You do not get more points for a balanced view or a one sided view. You choose your opinion, state it in the introduction and then explain it in the body.

  18. amber says

    Hi Liz

    What if we agree with both of the views. Can we still use those sentences you provided in the video? Thank you 🙂

    • A balanced approach does not mean agreeeing with both sides. It means presenting an opinion which is neither one side nor the other but your own specific opinion.

  19. Shree Banoth says

    Hi Liz,

    I was wondering if we are not suppose this language in Agree/disagee(Opinion) essay.

    Basically whenever I start any opinion essay using one of the expressions mentioned above. And also some times for each paragraph I use “on the other hand” for the second paragraph opening sentences for opinion essay.

    Kindly confirm the same. If I not supposed to use, can you provide us with some Agree/Disagree(opinion) essay language too.


    • You use expressions such as “it is thought …” or “some people believe that …” when you express other people’s opinions. For your background statement in almost all essays, you might use these expressions. When you have an opinion essay, you use these expressions in the background and then present your own opinion directly in the thesis “In my opinion”.

      When you use “On the other hand” it is to present an opposing view. It shows an opposite. This is unlikely to be used in an opinion essay but not impossible. It depends on the ideas and the paragraph content.

      I hope that helps. See my model writing task 2 essays on this page:

  20. Divya says

    Hi Liz,
    Cam you please clarify between discussion type and agree disagree type questions. How does the structure vary.

    • All IELTS essays have either two or three body paragraphs. The structures are decided depending on your opinion and ideas.

  21. Hello Liz,
    Is there a link for all the essay sample questions you shared?


  22. Hello Liz,
    Is there are a link for all essay answers?


  23. Hello Liz

    Is it necessary to write your opinion in introduction in a discussion essay (discuss both views and give your opinion)? And also please tell that is it the write structure for this type of question
    body para 1 (discussing one view)
    body para 2 (discussing other side of the argument and giving your opinion)

  24. Lee Stebbins says

    Helpful commentary, I love the info – Does anyone know where I could acquire a sample form I could use?

  25. ziya says

    can we say the other side of the MEDALLION is

  26. NICK says

    Hi Liz, can i write 3 paragraphs if i agree with both sides of the arguments and third one is going to be about my opinion that it is better both

    • Liz says

      You shouldn’t agree with both sides. Giving an opinion, doesn’t mean sitting on the fence. Please see my advanced lessons.

  27. Hi Liz,
    Thank you very much for this helpful Blog.
    Just trying to be helpful here, you said in the first line: wring task1. So, I know it’s not serious error, but just want to get your attention on it, so maybe better to correct it.

    Best regards,

    • Thanks. It really helps me when people tell me about typos because I don’t have much time for proof reading. Well spotted!!
      Liz 🙂

  28. ali asad says

    Hello ALi From PAKISTAN and i am prepairing my IELTS exam test for 23 Jan ….could you give me few tips and techniques for task 2 and speaking for General Question

  29. Hi Im Aysa Im 12 years old and Im studing Ielts I have 2 older sister.My schools name is Hafez and the place that I study Ielts in it is Melal English school and there are some knowledgeable teachers there.
    Actually Im a cheerful person and I love Art.
    and then I love so much eating and watching animations especially Sponge bob.

    • Please inform your parents that you have posted a comment on my blog. It is essential that all underage comments are done with parental permission.

  30. Asli Conku says

    Hi liz,
    Thank you for your videos and everything.
    In writing task 2 if the topic says “discuss both these views and give your own opinion” when should we state our opinion? Can we mention it in inroduction part or in conclusion?
    While discussing both views are we allowed to be personal or we should discuss them objectively?

  31. Priji John says

    Mam, I was going through the subscription video of your Discussion essay.After viewing it i was trying to write a Background statement for the question ” Some say all offenders should be sent to prison,others argue that there are better alternatives such as community work for those who commit minor crimes.Discuss both views and give your opinion “.

    I tried writing this line same as you were explaining on that video ” Although it is sometimes argued that all criminal ought to sent to jail,other people believe that the focus should be on other alternative methods “. Is this back ground statement correct.Please help me in this

  32. Hi mam
    My question is regarding writing task 2,
    Mam what counts more in IELTS,more number of ideas but not explained much or one-two ideas bit well explained.
    For example,to reduce environmental pollution ,we can write about a number of ideas like Using green energy resources to curb air pollution,lesser use of pesticides to control land pollution and so should we write about all the ideas that i have in my mind or should i pick one or two of them and elaborate upon then well.?

  33. Hi Liz ..conclusion is compulsory in each essay?

  34. After 7 days I have an IELTS exam. And I have still problem with speaking and reading, so can you please help me how can I get improvisation in both?

    • Please see the reading section and the lesson: how to improve your reading. The look at the speaking section and how to develop your speaking at home.
      All the best

  35. Michael says


    • You can write anything you want. No one will check whether the information is true or not. However, as you have not presented me with an example of “a lie”, I can’t fully say yes.
      All the best

      • plzz telk me which is best BC or IDP test

        • IELTS is owned by Cambridge ESOL, IDP and the British Council – they are all the same company. The test at IDP and BC is the same, the examiners are trained in the same way – there’s no difference.
          All the best

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