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September 08, 2010


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Hi, Simon.
I have been writing a paragraph about problems in developing countries using the e-book. Here is what I have finished:

In modern society, developing countries face a range of problems. One of these problems is that, in most developing nations, standards of education and health care are low. Many schools lack textbooks and teaching materials due to inadequate government budgets ,and low-quality teaching means that students will not be able to receive proper education like their counterparts in developed countries can.

I want to continue to write about health care, but I do not know how I can move from talking about education to health care. Can you help me?

Dear Simon,

Would you please let me know whether following sentences are correct?

1. Leisure activities takes up the greatest proportion of time between men and women on daily basis, with 15 min per day.

2. Women spend twice as time on house working per day as men (or compared to men).
Twice as much time spend on house work per day among women compared to men.


Hi Simon,

I am not quite sure how to use "account for" in the sentences as you mentioned before this is a good phrase to us.
Is this sentence fine?

One car ownership was accounted for about 44% of households in the UK.


Households with one car ownership accounted for about 44%

Many thanks

Hi Lafuer,

It's easy - you have already written "One of these problems is that..." so now you can write "Another problem affecting developing countries is..."

By the way, good paragraph!


Hi Felora,

Some corrections:

1. take (not 'takes'), for both men and women (not 'between'), on "a" daily basis.

2. Women spend twice as much time on housework each day compared to men. (Don't use the second sentence)

3. Households with one car accounted for 44%.



Thank you so much!

Hi, Simon.
Sorry to bother you again. If I want to introduce a third or fourth problem. Can I use" There are also other problems like..."

Hi, Simon.
Can you give me some alternatives for" from a/an...perspective"?
I find it boring to use this phrase over and over again. Thank you so much.

Hi Lafuer,

Yes, you can introduce more problems in that way.


Hi Adverb,

You can use "point of view" instead of "perspective". Or, you could write "In terms of" e.g. "In terms of the environmental impact,..."



Hello, Simon.

Thank you a lot for organizing very useful site. I wanted to ask, in case of this topic 'zoo', should we write our opinion in the introduction, while question is 'Discuss both views'?

Thanks in advance...

Hi Maxat,

I'm glad you like the site.

No, this question doesn't ask for your opinion so it could be considered irrelevant for you to give it. Just discuss both sides equally, and only write your own opinion if the question asks for it.

All the best

Hi, Simon.

This is my first comment in the blog which is fantastic.. congratulations !

Could you tell me when do I have to use the adjective "fun" and when "funny" ?

Hi Ernesto, it's nice to see you here!

"Fun" means "enjoyable".
"Funny" means it makes you laugh.

e.g. I had fun at the party / the party was fun.
The film was really funny (i.e. I was laughing a lot).

See you soon

Hi Simon:

Thanks for your effort to maintain this website, I have used it for my last minutes IELTS preparation and it is really helpful.

For this zoo question mentioned above, may I know how to write the conclusion for it? Should there be any comparision between the 2 discussion topic(paragraph 2,3) or give own opinion based on the discussion topics given in paragraph 2,3? Or just restate by rephrasing the question sentence? Or stand at a neutral point?

Can I write:
In conclusion, different people has different opinion about the role of the zoo. It depends on how individual looks at it as a whole. Some people have a strong stand not to keep animals in the zoo whereas some see zoo is a shelter for endangered species and a place for nature lovers and scientists to do research on the animals. At the meanwhile, some think zoo is a place of entertainment.

Hi Yuki,

Don't worry too much about conclusions. You could do any of the things you suggested. Your conclusion is fine, although it's definitely longer than necessary. Personally, I'd probably just write one sentence repeating the main arguments for and against.

Simon's ideas for IELTS are so good that many Chinese-speaking IELTS teachers in China are using them as semi textbooks. And free

Thanks Zheb. It's a real compliment if they are doing that.

Could you please advise me whether I should mention all the numerical values in task one or it is ok to say the maximum amount was in year ... Without mentioning the numbers.
Also,could I just write the figure in brackets,for eg the biggest expenses was shown in France(£600)thanks a lot

Hi Moka,

You should definitely mention SOME numbers (not all of them). It's ok to use brackets once or twice, but it's better to make the number part of the sentence - this shows better language ability.

Hi Simone,
I used to be your student. I find difficulties to analyse the topic of the task2. Sometimes, they asked both views,or do you agree or disagree, these types of questions.

Hi Sharmeen,

When the question asks for both views, you should write one paragraph about each.

When the question asks whether you agree or disagree, it's different: if you have a strong opinion, you don't need to discuss the other view. If you want to discuss both views, you need to say that you "partly agree" or "agree to a certain extent".

Have a look through my lessons to see examples.

Dear Simon, I have some little problems with these sentences , would you mind helping me ?

_ "There is no grammatical rule" or "there are no grammatical rules" ?
_" Many animals get better care and safety in the zoo compared to the wild " or " many animals get better cares and safeties in the zoo compared to the wild"

_Wild animals belong to the wild, not to the zoo ( is this sentence correct ? )

_He picked up the phone rather than ignore it . ( I see one people wrote : " ...rather than ignoring it " ).

_ A large number of juveniles is becoming depraved , as the internet's detrimental effects are spreading rapidly ( do I need to have a comma before "as " ? )

P/s : I know I just asked a bunch of questions, but my ielts exam is coming and I still stuck sometimes with these kinds of small problems. I want to thank you thousand times for the great job you are doing.

Hi Kevin,

1. Both are possible, depending on whether you are talking about one grammar issue or more than one.

2. "better care and safety" is correct. Don't use plurals.

3. "belong IN the wild, not IN a/the zoo"

4. Both are ok. we often use the -ING form after "rather than".

5. It doesn't matter, but I'd probably miss the comma.

Hi Simon'
Can we write a lot number of juveniles........

People cannot deny that zoo brings many funs to children and plays a significant role in education. However, many animal protection organizations hold an opinion that it is cruel to keep animals in cages and they should be released to a wild nature environment once they lived in.

On the one hand, the major concern for animal protectors against zoo is in relation to the inhuman living condition and feeding methods. The circumstance is true especially in many developing countries, such as India and China. Because of the insufficient financial support from the governments, zoo administrators cannot spend more on improving living conditions and medical care since the daily routine maintenance has already took a large proportion of the investment. However, from my point of view, the problem should be tackled soon through strict monitoring and regulation and extra financial injection.

On the other hand, feeding animals in zoos can also bring benefits from numerous aspects. Firstly, a zoo trip is always the best choice to educate kids through presenting a real tiger or a dolphin in front of their faces. Through observation, students can leave with an impressed vision and obtain knowledge about the habits of animals and other physical features which is helpful to increase their awareness of wild animals and environmental protection. Secondly, zoo often offers opportunities for scientists to do various experiments. Since majority of them are focusing on wildlife conservation, with the first-hand material, researchers will easily predict wild animals’ actions and encode their behavior. For example, with many years of studies on panda, scientists eventually overcome the secret of its pregnancy which contributes a lot helping this rare species expand its population.

In conclusion, zoo does have many inevitable drawbacks. However, there is no doubt that building a zoo also makes contribution on the scientific research as well as the wild animal conservation and its educational meaning cannot outweigh by its drawbacks.

Correct hey boss

Some useful videos about this topic:




Dear Simon,
Thank you very much for your videos and blog, they are very helpful.
I was wondering about a discussion type questions, when opinion is not asked, such as in the following question:
Some people believe that it is wrong to keep animals in zoos, while others think that zoos are both entertaining and ecologically important. Discuss both views.
In my intro, can I write only one sentence, meaning only the background/topic sentence? I found it hard to write 2 intro sentences for the question above without being repetitive.
I'll appreciate a response as soon as possible as my exam is on Saturday.

Thank you

Dear simon
thank you very much for your videos and blog, they are very useful.

Full essay

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