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November 16, 2011


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this is really helpful, simon. many thanks

Dear Simon,

Your website is really very helpful..and it is updated daily..

Thanks once again.

Nisha Vora

No problem. I'm glad you find it useful.

thanks simon.

Hi Simon,
it was a really helpful lesson.in your discussion essay you started with
(on the other hand, it is also understandable that...............)
while giving general opinion can we start like this

(on the other hand many people believe that.......)


i would like to share a link regarding how should we memorise a new word.


i hope this will be helpful for other students.

i have some questions about the writing tasks in general, and i can't seem to find the answers anywhere else. These may sound silly but i hope you can find time to answer them...

1. In writing task 1 academic (I know this belongs to another criteria, sorry :)is it acceptable to write in the following manner - that is using parentheses?

"It is evident in the chart that A (80%) is significantly higher than B (50%) by 30%."

2. What about hyphens?

"There is a significant difference between A and B - that is, A is higher than B by 30%."

3. Can i use cursive writing in ielts? i write terribly slow in print so i'd prefer writing in cursive.

Thanks in advance :)

Hi Simon. May I ask you why in the sentence below we use: benefits TO getting a job, not benefits OF getting a job? What is the rule? I did not get it.
While there are benefits to getting a job straight after school, I would argue that it is
better to go to college or university.

hello simon
can u give me some ideas of this essay

The twenty-first century has already brought great changes to the world.
What other developments do you expect to happen over this century?


hi simon
I bought your e-book yesterday.In your book, you have written ' Education is the key to improving the economy of these countries'. could you tell me grammar points when we can use verb+ing after 'to' ? thanks in advance

one more sentence...there are many benefits to going to university.

Hi Jawairia,

Yes, you can use that phrase when giving a general opinion, but be careful because it doesn't give YOUR opinion.

Thanks for sharing the useful link.


Hi Allan,

Brackets are fine if you use them once (in one sentence), but I wouldn't use them more than that.

I'd avoid hyphens. Use a comma or full stop depending on the sentence.

Cursive is fine.


Hi Nataly,

Both 'to' and 'of' are acceptable (try Googling both and you'll see many examples). I tend to use 'benefits to doing' for an action, and 'benefits of + noun' (e.g. benefits of computers).


Hi Nisha,

Try to research some ideas on the Internet. Some examples could be related to online communication, space tourism, cars that drive themselves etc. There are lots of websites about these topics.


Hi Zillur,

Have a look at my comment to Nataly (above). There are many cases in which you will see "to + ing". Point 11 on the link below explains this:


Usually the reason is that the word "to" belongs with the word before it (e.g. the key to) - the "ing" form after this is acting as a noun (a gerund) e.g. "The key to success" is like "The key to having success".

I'll try to do a lesson about this soon.

Hi, Simon. Is there any difference between these two sentences below?

1 Young people who do not have qualifications from a university or college will not be able to compete.
2 Young people who do not have qualifications from a university or college may not be able to compete.
I never use future tense before. I have IELTS test on 26th, Nov. It is my last chance. I hope I can pass it. I just need every mark of every module is above 6.

Hi Heather,

They are almost the same - 'will' shows more certainty than 'may', but both are correct.

Good luck on the 26th!

Hi Simon,

I am really confused about using some phrase expressing personal opinion such as: in my view, I think that, personally, ect in the assay. Because some people told me that those pharses will make my writing not be sophisticated, and I can not get a high band score. Instead, I should use some pharses like: peole believe that, It can not be denied that...However, I think if the test ask for my opinion, I need to use those personal opinon above. Could you help to be clear about that problem? Thank you very much!

Hi Phuong,

YOU are right, and they are wrong. Read this lesson:


Hi Simon, I'm confused. In discuss both views and your opinion, do we still have to discuss each views in different paragraph then another paragraph my opinion? Thanks pinky

Hi Arnie/Pinky,

No, don't write an extra paragraph with your view. Your view should be the same as one of the 2 views you have already explained, so you don't want to repeat the same ideas.

In my 'discussion + opinion' essays, you should see that I do a paragraph for each view, but I make it clear that I agree with one of the views. For example:

- Paragraph with first view: "On the one hand, many people argue that..."
- Paragraph with second/my view: "On the other hand, I believe that..."

Hi Simon,

I've been reading your blog for hrs and found it extremely helpful!!! thanks for all your work, really appreciate it (:


No problem Jenny!

Dear Simon,

Thank you very much for your daily lessons. It really has been a great help for me. I would like to clarify with you on " Opinion" & "Discussion" essays. I understand that we need to write both sides for disucssion essays. However, when we try to write both views for opinion essays, would it be very much similar to discussion essays? How should I make it clear?

Again, thank you very much for your help.

Hi Eve,

Yes, they are similar, but there is a key difference:

In a 'discussion' essay, you can talk about what "some people believe" and "other people think". However, in a 'balanced opinion' essay, you need to make it clear that the views are YOURS rather than other people's - so write something like "On the one hand, I accept that..." and "However, I also believe that..." instead of using "some/other people".

Hope this helps!

Thank you very much Simon. Your explanation clears my doubts.

Hi Simon I just saw your website yesterday. I am glad that i found your website I am finding it very useful. I am going to write the test on Jan 12 I hope i can get 7 each which i need for my medical registration with the GMC. I thinking to attend your course on 17 dec.
Thank you for you help

No problem Khan. Maybe I'll see you on the 17th.

Hi Simon,I've been followed your website for a long time,and I find it very useful.I really appreciate your help.I have a confusion,though.In test2 of IELTS book 5,the requirement of the topic is "Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decide to do this".(I assume there's no need to mention personal opinion.Am i right? But i found personal opinion in the conclusion of the Model Answer.I'm so lost

Hi Aegean,

You are right that the question does not ask for a personal opinion. Sometimes the Cambridge model answers are not perfect!

Really,really thanks.Simon :)

Hi Simon,

I have a question about this essay regarding how we present both views in Task 2.

For quiz such as “discuss both view and give my opinion”, I notice that you put the arguable views in the first paragraph and state favorable opinions in the second paragraph. Could you please explain the reason?

Also, does it matter if I state favorable view in first paragraph and the opposite opinion in the second one?


Hi Karen,

It doesn't really matter which order you put the views. I just prefer to give the other view first so that I can then write "However, I believe..." in the second main paragraph. I also find that this paragraph then leads nicely into the conclusion.

It won't affect your score if you do it the other way around.

Hi Simon,

Thank you very much!


hi,i was brwosing the internet for one question that i can't seem to find.I know this is silly but im not sure of the answer.I have a terrible handwriting using cursive,is it okay to write in prints(all in capital letters)..thanks..=)

Hi Keycy,

It's best not to print your essays (in capital letters). Try to improve your handwriting.

Dear Simon,

Thank you very much for your daily lessons. It really has been a great help for me. But I have some problems in " Opinion" & "Discussion" essays.So would you please give me some advice or a full essay sample for this case.

Again, thank you very much for your help.

Hi Simon,
thank you very much for this discussion essay. The "without opinion" part was very confusing to me and you have just vanished all my doubts. :)


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