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May 09, 2012


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hi simon.
your site is wonderful.just want to ask that how many ideas we should normally put in one paragraph.if we lack ideas is it possible to prolong the same idea by saying it in different ways with examples.
bless you.

Hi Ayesha,

I'm glad you like my lessons. It's fine to write about one idea if you explain it well and give examples. I usually have between one and three ideas per main paragraph.

Hi Simon, here is my try on similar topic:

To begin with, it is abundantly clear that having one punishment for each type of crime has several advantages. Firstly, it will be much easier for judges and lawyers to come to conclusion while sentencing offenders. Secondly, it will be a fair justice system and there won't be ambiguity. For example, if someone is found of stealing, judges can simply follow the rules and apply appropriate punishment. It is obvious that this system will be easy to understand, implement and maintain.

Words: 81
Words: To begin with, Firstly, Secondly, For example, won't, It is ovbious
Structure: Intro followed by 2 complex statement followed by example and lastly, conclusion.

Hi Simon

please explain punctuation marks
does it affect our essay?

Dear Simon,thanks for ur continuous help to us.my exam is in 26th instant.i find it difficult to get the ideas in writing task 2.can u please tell me how can i overcome this?

Hi Simon,

If an essay contains "good vocabulary" but the overall grammar level is very poor, can it still get a high score?

Several of my students are constantly forcing themselves to use "good words and phrases", but because of their poor level in grammar, most of their sentences are either "unclear" or "awkward"... so I'm not sure how you would grade such essays.

If possible, please explain this so that students with lower levels of English can have a different approach to improving their writing skills.

Thank you in advance!


hi simon,i just ask one question regarding writing module..to write what i will use pen or pencil..i m worried...

Prison is a good way for punishment.people who commit any crime should face a legal way to make them feel guilty and not try to attempt the crime again.In this case, criminals' isolation in prisons away from what they like in their free life could make them think many times about their guilts.It is not easy for any person to be abducted from their families, friends or anything connected to their usual life,therefore,prison sentence could be a good lesson for any person who try to steal or abuse the life of others.For example,iraqi government puts a restricted law and severe judgment of prisons for whole life against any person who attempts or imposes other to commit suicidal bombing.This lawful decision has prevented many terrorists from harming other innocent people.

Hi Simon, i am new student,it is short time i follow your site and your lessons.You are amazing and many thanks for your effort.
I have 3 task2 questions that i don't know in which type of your task2 questions category, i can put them.
thank you so much in advance for your

1/The age at which children are allowed to work for money varies from country to country.While some people believe it is wrong,others regard it as a valuable opportunity to gain experience of the work environment.Discuss the arguments for and against children participating in paid work.

2/These days,the wealthy in society often throw away perfectly good products in order to replace them with more up-to-date models.Do the environmental disadvantages of this development outweigh the economic advantages?

3/Many governments state that they value equal opportunities for all but do not provide adequate support for the disabled.Discuss this view and give your own opinion.

Hi Simon, could you please rephrase for me this The paragraph contains 5 sentences, with a total of 85 words. This is the kind of length I suggest aiming for"

Task 2 in IELTS we have 250 words,

I feel a bit double dutch here!

Dear Mr. Simon
Thanks a lot for developing this tremandous site. I am following your rules to write task 2 and improved a lot. This is your best contribution and effort for mankind.
God bless you.

Hi, Simon,
I also think 85 words for the paragraph in main body is too brief even if we can make it double by discussing both sides of the case.
So far as I heard from some exam takers that the longer text can guarantee a better score comparing to the shorter essays with the same level of grammar and wording.
Do you agree with this?

Hi Khatira,

Have a look at this lesson:



Hi Gangchil,

Just keep preparing topics. That's what I try to help with in my writing lessons here on the site.


Hi Martin,

Yes, their grammar scores will probably be lower than their vocabulary scores. However, I still think that those students are on the right path - they shouldn't stop trying to use good words and phrases. I think this is where a teacher's feedback about mistakes can really help. Hopefully, with practice and feedback, your students will gradually reduce the number of mistakes they make.


Hi Nur,

You can use either pen or pencil.


Hi Min,

Use this lesson to help you decide:



Hi Linh,

It's just one of the four paragraphs that I would write in a full essay.


Thanks Rozina.


Hi Fiona,

I usually write between 90 and 100 words for each main paragraph, but 85 is fine. Ideally, the other main paragraph would need to be 95 to 100 words.

Dear Simon,
I would like to ask you about something from the last sentence from your paragraph.
You wrote:...from similar behaviour in future or perhaps it should be in the future?
I would appreciate very much your answer,as I have sometimes certain doubts about English articles.

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your response and I would like to share with you a bit of my experience in this regard.

Although I am constantly giving my students feedback and correcting their mistakes, some of them still make the same or another similar mistake in future essays, and I think this is a clear indication of their poor level in grammar because they simply cannot properly adjust a new sentence when using those "good words/phrases" again. As a result, their essays may look "forced" and "unnatural".

For students who are always looking for shortcuts and don't want to do the hard work (improve their grammar), I would say that they are wasting their time. But for those students who show regular improvement and better control and understanding of grammar, I would encourage them to use more of those good words and expressions in order to streamline their sentences and essays overall.

Getting a high score in the IELTS exam is important, but I think it is even more important if a student is able to communicate in an English-speaking country properly and efficiently. Well, perhaps I am a perfectionist to a certain degree...


Do the following questions ask for your opinion or not?
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
Is this a positive or negative development?
What are the benefits and drawbacks?

Only two of the above questions don't ask for your opinion. If the question doesn't ask for your opinion, don't give it. For the other four questions, you should make your opinion clear in the introduction and conclusion.

- Numbers 2 and 6 are discussion questions. Discuss both sides of the issue, but don't give your opinion about which side you agree with.
- Numbers 1 and 5 are opinion questions. Give your opinion and support it. You don't need to mention the other side of the argument.
- Numbers 3 and 4 can be called discussion + opinion questions. Discuss both sides and make your opinion clear too.

AFTER THIS I READ THIS ESSAY http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2012/02/ielts-writing-task-2-technology-essay.html#tp


Hi Aleksandra,

Both are fine. There's no real difference.


Good points Martin. Just throwing a few 'good words' into an essay won't help if they are not used correctly.


Hi Khatira,

I often talk about both sides when the question asks for my opinion. I do this when I don't completely agree or disagree. It's fine to explain that you partly agree, and then mention your views on both sides.

On other occasions, I just choose one side of the argument that I completely agree or disagree with, and then I only support that view.

If the question is asking for YOUR view, you have a choice of how to answer.

I hope this helps.

Hi Simon,

been following yr blog for 2 weeks thats all i studied for the IELTS that i sat today.

The writing task 2 question today is :
12 May 2012 , Hong Kong
"In most countries, prison is a common punishment. Some suggest that better education should be provided so as to stop people become criminals- Give relevant example or use your own experience" (Sorry, may not be in exact wording)

Wanna thanks for the great work that u share!

Hi simon
Many thanks to give me wenderfull vocablary but I am stil couldnt control the time when I practice
How I can solve it?

Dear simon
I try to write enother idea in same vocablary i
But I don understand (unlowfull)?

No problem MW. Best of luck!


Hi Eman,

Try following the advice about timing in this lesson:




'unlawful' means 'illegal'.

Dear Simon,
Thank you very much for your answer.

Dear Simon,

in "discuss both view'essay, if i agree with neither of them, what is the recommended structure for it then?
e.g.some think that children should start school as early as possible, while others believe that they should start school at the age of seven. Discuss both views and give your own opion.

My viewpoint is 7 is sort of late for most to start school, however, begining formal education too early like 2-3 can also brings some problems. In this way, I find the discussion will be a little bit complex for me to handle. Can you give recommended structure for this kind of situation?

Sir can you show an example on conclusion,i mean how to rephrase it from introduction.

Prisons are primarily established to punish the offenders. It is believed by many that prisons are the best place to reduce the criminal activities. One who commits a crime atleast must be acquainted with the bad influence on his or her life. Prison penalties makes the peole to think before a crime is committed. This can deter them from committing a offence. To illustrate it, 15 years ago in Murada Bad, India, many communal groups were put into prison in an order to curb the communal riot that took thousand of lives of innocent men, women and children, and certainly this punishment would control the rioters.

Dear simon Ineed all vocabularyfor ielts
many thank

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