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May 31, 2014


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I noticed your habit.I guess that you would not use'on balancing' for a both view type question. Would you?

Hi Simon
We can see a lot of essays which use To put it in a nutshell, particularly teachers from India.
Your advice really surprised me. Because I am used to writing this phrase in my almost every essay.
I should check it.

Can you share some letter writing tasks for General Writing Task1? Its been a long time you shared one. I am preparing for General and letters are also equally important for me like essays. I hope you will share one this week.

Hi, Simon:

So what phrases do you use instead to write a conclusion in Task2?

Please share your approach with us! Many thanks! ^^

Hi simon!
I always start with the phrase 'In brief" for task 2. i want to know wheather or not it is appropriate for an academy essay.
Thank you very much!

Hi Simon,

I don't know if this is too much to ask but could you please create lessons that summarize all of your main advice for each aspect in IELTS. For example, you could make a lesson about the approaches for each type of listening or reading question, or the overall structure for each type of writing task 1 and 2, etc.

I know this may take a lot of time, which you seem not to have much. However, I think if possible, it would be very great.

Agree, 'In a nutshell' should be avoided as should 'first and foremost' and 'last, but not least'.

Can i use task 1 this type of phrases ..
1.All things considered
2.To sum up
3.In summary
4.To summarize
5.In short

Simon is spot on. Use ONE phrase to introduce your conclusion. There is no point learning others if it is natural English. There are no marks in IELTS for knowing other ways.

English, however, does vary. In some native Englishes, and Indian English is one of them, phrases like 'in a nutshell' are fine. It depends a lot on the style of the essay staying consistent in that style.

In Australia, the following are very natural for us:
1. In short
2. Overall
3. In conlusion

You also have to understand that long conclusion phrases such as the old fashioned 'all things considered' take longer to write and may slow you down in the test.

Can you explain us a bit more on why nutshell should not be used? Is it not appropriate for essays like IELTS? Is it old-fashioned way? or why? Can we use that in other contexts?

Please add-on your advice just to understand the language better.

Can you please explain us a bit more so that we can understand the language better?
Is nutshell not appropriate for this context like IELTS essays? Can it used for other contexts? Or is it not recommended as it is old-fashioned?

Can you please explain a bit more? Is nutshell not recommended for this context like IELTS essays? Can it be used in other contexts? Or is it old-fashioned way?

Just to understand the language better. Please answer.

From my experience working with natives from different English speaking areas, the phrase 'in a nutshell' is viewed in different ways. Some feel it is fine in writing, others find it old fashioned, and other think it is okay but only in some spoken contexts.

Because you cannot predict your examiner's background, you should not use a phrase that some people would find 'unnatural' (and therefore not fulfil the 'appropriate vocabulary' criteria) or 'spoken' (and therefore not fulfil the style criteria if the essay was written quite formally.

'In a nutshell' there is no advantage to using this expression (it doesn't impress examiners in any way) AND there is a chance it will damage your vocabulary score, so don't use it.

Thanks for the detailed explanation, sjm. It helps!

Hi Simon,
I have two questions:
#1 Dose "in conclusion" equals to "to conclude"?
#2 Do you think that "To sum up" is more proper for a "problems + solutions" essay?


1. Yes
2. These expressions all mean the same thing so there is no reason to use a different one for different essay questions.

Simon, it would be really nice if you could throw some light on the usage of such terms and the reason as we are quite used to such phrases.

Hi Simon,

It is about the length of writing.
So in the real case, how do the IELTS examiners tell the length of one's writing?



They count your words.

Hi Simon,

They count every essay or they only count it when they feel it is possibly under length?


Hello Simon, my question is: Might I use "To recapitulate briefly,"to start my conclusion?
Thank you so much for your help

Hi Simon,

What about "I have come to the conclusion that...."

Thank you

What about
Taking everything into the consideration,....

Thank you in advance

can we write all in all in task1 and contemplating ally views in task 2

how appropriate it is to begin our conclusion with 'to recapitulate'

i will really be thankful if you could answer my question
thank you


No, don't use "To recapitulate", "I have come to the conclusion that" or "Taking everything into the consideration".

These phrases seem to 'forced' and they will only make your conclusion look strange, rather than helping your score.

Hi simon,
Can we use “but” in IELTS WRITING TASK 2

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