In our last class we looked at how to write a one-sided opinion essay. In this class you will learn how to structure and write an effective two-sided discussion essay, building on the skills you developed in that last class.
Read the following IELTS task 2 essay question
Some people think that money is the best gift to give to young people, while others think other types of gifts are better for young people.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Before we start planning our essay, we need to make sure we understand the task.
Are the following statements about the question above true or false?
Before we continue the activities below, spend 5 minutes brainstorming arguments that you might use in your essay. You can later compare your arguments to the ones in exercise 3.
Body Paragraph 1
Body Paragraph 2
Note: If you have more ideas and write fast then it is possible to have more than 2 body paragraphs.
Let's have a look at an example:
First of all, certain types of programs can have a harmful effect on children’s emotional and behavioural development. Police stories and action movies, for example, often contain a great deal of violence. People are beaten up and killed with guns, knives and even cars. Seeing this, some children might think that these things could easily happen to themselves at any time and therefore become frightened. Moreover, some might begin to think that violence is a normal, acceptable form of behaviour because they see it so often on television. As a result, they may become aggressive and may hurt both themselves and their playmates.
Second, television can impair children’s reading ability. Reading requires skills and brain processes that watching television does not. If children watch television for too many hours each day, they do not have the chance to practice the skills that they need in order to learn how to read.
Finally, television may impact on children’s schoolwork in other ways. If they spend too much time watching television, they may get behind in their homework. In addition, if they stay up to watch a late night movie, they may fall asleep in class the next day. Consequently, they will not learn their lessons and they could even fail in school.
To summarize, if children watch too much television or watch the wrong programs, their personalities can be harmed. Furthermore, their progress in school can be affected. It is vital, therefore, that parents should find out what programs their children are watching and take appropriate steps to counteract any harmful effects. This should include turning off the television so that their children will study.
Second, television can impair children’s reading ability.
Finally, television may impact on children’s schoolwork in other ways.
It is vital, therefore, that parents should find out what programs their children are watching and take appropriate steps to counteract any harmful effects. This should include turning off the television so that their children will study.
Give your opinion with a concession paragraph
Concession Paragraph (not your opinion)
Your opinion Paragraph
One of the main arguments in favour of television is the role it can play in educating children. For example, programs broadcast on channels such as Cbeebies and BabyTV, which are dedicated to pre-school education, can help young children learn to speak, count and read and are very popular. Although educational programs may be beneficial I think that it is better to educate children through books or, these days, through interactive computer games designed for the purpose. Both of these examples are more active and encourage deeper use of cognitive abilities than passively watching the TV.
A major cause of concern among parents is the amount of violence on television. Even so-called “children’s entertainment” programs frequently involve battles between the “goodies” and the “baddies”. This has a very harmful effect on children’s moral, social and behavioural development, because it teaches them to label people as “good” or “bad” and condones the use of violence as a way of resolving disagreements. Such programs simply encourage hatred and aggression instead of promoting tolerance and conciliation. The danger is even greater if children watch violent programs that are meant for adults, such as crime stories, action movies and the like.
Another danger with television is the impact of advertising. Children are bombarded with advertisements for snacks and toys. As a result, they are likely to demand a diet of junk foods high in MSG, and clamour for toys which their parents cannot afford to buy.
In conclusion, certain television programs are beneficial for children while many others are harmful. It is vital, therefore, that parents supervise their children when watching television and take appropriate steps to counteract any harmful effects.
In my opinion, the effect of television is at best neutral and often negative...
Then adds: Although educational programs may be beneficial I think that it is better to educate children through books...
The first argument is against the writer's opinion, so it is a concession.
Write a response to the question below. If you would like some free feedback, copy and paste your essay into the comments section below, and we'll get back to you with our ideas. Happy writing!
Some people think the government are responsible for the rise in childhood obesity, while others think it is the fault of the parents.
Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
The next post on Writing Task 2 'Types of Task' is about how to structure an essay to describing a problem and its solutions. Follow the link to keep studying.
- introduces the general topic.
- introduces the specific topic.
- gives the writer’s position.
- tells us how many paragraphs / main ideas there are (optional).
IELTSTutors Body Paragraph Advice
- Make sure you plan the essay before you write anything. In the test you can plan your essay on the question paper. Note down your main ideas and the supporting reasons for them.
- Every paragraph should contain one main idea relating to the position (opinion) you gave in the introduction.
- You should have no more than three body paragraphs in your IELTS Writing Task 2 essay because you don’t have time to write more. Usually 2 body paragraphs will be enough.
- Start your body paragraph by giving an idea which relates to the position (opinion) you gave in the introduction. This sentence is called a topic sentence because it tells the reader the topic of the paragraph.
- After you give the topic sentence you need to give supporting examples. These could be from personal experience or from things that you have read or seen.
An IELTS Body Paragraph Example
Look at the example below.
Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?
This is our introduction and first paragraph model answer:
The first reason is that children learn and remember new words more easily at a young age than when they are older. As a teacher I notice my young students have much better memories for new words than older students even though they often struggle to understand the complex rules of grammar which the older students are better able to cope with. Studies have been done which support this and show children who start studying a second language at elementary school absorb new words much faster than older students and in the long term are more likely to achieve a higher level in the second language than students who only start studying a second language at high school. However, these studies also suggest that complex grammar should be left until students are older and more able to deal with such complex concepts.
Common IELTS Paragraph Mistakes
- There is no clear break in the essay. You should leave a line between two paragraphs.
- There is no clear main topic for the paragraph. People sometimes try and cover more than one main idea per paragraph. This can be confusing for the reader.
- There is no topic sentence at the start of the paragraph.
- Sentences do not follow on from each other logically.
- There is no use of discourse markers such as ‘for example’, ‘for instance’ or ‘such as’ to introduce examples or ‘however’, although’ or ‘though’ to demonstrate contradiction.
- Some of the information in the paragraph does not relate to the main idea of the paragraph and so is pointless.
- There is not enough supporting evidence for the writer’s main idea.
- People who don’t plan their essay often write too much in the first body paragraph and then not enough for the second body paragraph because they run out of time – plan your essay first!
Note: If the interactive exercises aren't giving you a score, try refreshing the page.
It takes us a long time to make these lessons and we don't want ads on our site. If you would like to support us then we would greatly appreciate a donation. This will ensure we continue to help students like you everywhere!
IELTSTutors.org - All these IELTS lessons are completely free, so enjoy studying and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!
About The IELTS Test
Academic Writing Task 1
Academic Writing Task 2
Cause And Effect
Coherence And Cohesion
Complete The Notes
Complete The Table
Frequently Asked Questions
General Training Reading
General Writing Task 1
General Writing Task 2
Listening Section 1
Listening Section 2
Listening Section 3
Listening Section 4
Problem Solution Essay
Speaking Part 1
Speaking Part 2
Speaking Part 3
True / False / Not Given