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August 13, 2014


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I see if the introduction the person completely disagree, how can this person write 2 body paragraphs to show 2 sides of argument??? and after that in conclusion just only has disagree :3

the writer discussed both view while he said completely disagree
should i use pen or pencil in Ielts writing exam?
thank you!

Paragraph 1 : Introduce the topic,then give an idea whether i am going to agree or disagree

Paragraph 2 : give strong logic and example on
what i am agree with.

Paragraph 3 : disciss something what the other people think.
Paragraph 4 : support my view using despite of,inspite of and such word with other people's think.

am i right????pls some body give a revew

@Minh: both pen or pencil are acepted but I prefer pencil to correct my mistakes.

@Simon: how about that in Paragraph 2: Give the other side of the argument e.g. "On the one hand, many people believe..." then in this paragraph I also say something like that: "Although this may be true in some cases, I still believe that (give my point". Is it ok?

The writer didn't have to discuss both views

1. Introduction of the topic and personal support of the prefer side

2. why opposite idea is wrong

3 why the supporting side is right

4. conclusion - summary with the support prefer side

1. introduction - rewrite the topic and give your opinion
2. main body - main idea 1 with supporting ideas
3. main body - main idea 2 with supporting ideas
4. conclusion- summarize/repeat your opinion

As I see in this vignette, as the question is "to what extent" you "agree" or "disagree" we have to take just one part and in both of our paragraphs explain our opinion in only agreed or disagreed condition, as Amber did in her posting. The problem in your suggested example is that, we explain both sides in separate paragraph. However, in one of your task 2 writing example, in task about "celebrities and their glamorous lifestyle", you fallow the same rule. I am a little confuse about this and I have asked you once before.

Hi Simon,
For argumentative essay like this, I am usually recommended to follow this structure:
1. Introduction: 2 sentences
- 1st sentence: rephrase the topic
- 2nd sentence: give my opinion
2. body A: give the first reason: 3 sentences
- 1st sentence: topic sentence
- 2nd sentence: explain the 1st sentence
- 3rd sentence: example
3. body B: give the second reason
(like body A)
4. body C: counter-argument: 2 sentences
- 1st sentence: give reason for the other side
- 2nd sentence: show why the other side is wrong or weak.
5. conclusion
I'd like to ask you if this structure is OK and if it is necessary to add the body C(counter-argument)
hope you answer my question!
thank you!

My teachers once told me that balanced both side is quite challenging, so it will be scored better than just one sided opinion.

Hi Simon,

You have mentioned it is better to strongly agree or disagree. However, if there is a balanced argument stating two opinions, it is also acceptable.tin

But on this case, it is completely disagree. I am confused now. Can't I discuss the opposite opinion in the essay? It the intention is to introduce what other think, but finally I dont agree them and have other opinions.
Looking forward to your review.

balanced opinions.

Hi Simon,

In my opinion, in the first body paragraph, the writer has expressed himself very clearly with his person view that he 100% disagrees and so there's no need for the counter-argument in the 2nd body paragraph and it also renders the 3rd paragraph redundant. Instead of that, in the next two paragraphs, he should just give other reasons to support his argument and in the end, give a short conclusion. That is, I think, a good structure and reduces the chance that writers spend too much time and writing too much.

In the English center where I learned, they taught me another alternative. Writers can use 2 body paragraphs for 2 sides of the issue but only use impersonal opinions or facts rather than personal. In the conclusion, the writers can give his personal point of view and it is better to be accompanied by some reasons. I believe this show the process of weighing up each side of the problem and then deciding your opinion, which makes it logically.

Hi Simon,
What I should write if I agree and disagree with the topic?
Can I us I partly agree/disagree with...?
Can you give me more references? I get stuck to express my opinion in this kind of question.

it was very helpful, please you can add more info about it because, currently I am preparing myself to take IELTS in 20 0f sep, I wish I want get 7.0, so, can you please give me some suggestion how to get the band score I need?

thank's a lot.
hope to hearing from you


It should be your point of view, not other people's

hello Simon,
I hope everything is going well. Thanks for your helpful guidance in IELTS tasks.

Recently I found a task 2 writing question a little tricky: Cambridge IELTS 7, General Writing Test A at page 116:

    Some people prefer to live in a house, while others feel that there more advantages to living in an apartment. Are there more advantages than disadvantages of living in a house compared with living in an apartment?

I come across a confusion in planning part. The question type is "Discussion+Opinion" due to this post: http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2014/08/ielts-writing-task-2-from-plan-to-paragraph.html#comments .
Consequently I need to discuss both views. We can assume that both views are advantages and disadvantages. On the other hand, we have to compare apartment and house. So we need to discuss drawbacks and benefits of both hoes and apartment.

The examiner's comment approves this assumption:

    The response looks at the advantages of living in apartments and houses then briefly considers some disadvantages before giving the candidate's own opinion. Fuller development of the disadvantages would raise the candidate's score here.

But I haven't found a sample in your posts like this. In your method you always argue , for example, advantages one thing in 2nd paragraph, and in 3rd one, explain disadvantages of that thing with expression of your opinion. But here we need to talk about ads. and disads. 2 times: 1st time for houses and 2nd time for apartment.

So I think with regards to your method the best plan is the following:
1- Introduction of a discussion+opinion essay
2- Advantages and disadvantages of houses
3- Advantages and disadvantages of apartment + my opinion (which prefers apartments)
4- Conclusion and my opinion.

I found this plan unpleasant. I know your comment untie this confusion.

Thanks for everything.

Hi Simon.....

I am a little bit confused too like Aria.

I remember you posted once about how we can have a strong introduction and yet be able to discuss both views in two separate paragraphs.

for example, in your 'salary' essay on April 30 2014

1. Intro : "Many people choose... .Personally, I disagree with the idea that... "
2. Body1 : "On the one hand, I agree that.... "
3. Body2 : " Nevertheless, I believe that... "
4. Conclusion : "In conclusion, while..., I do not believe that.... "

So, I guess it is perfectly OK to mention opposing views and have a strong introduction ( as you have taught us )

I would suggest something like this for your question

1. Topic + While many people..., I disagree that ... ( I would avoid using the word "completely" )
2. The vast majority of people usually .... ( Idea,Explain,Example )
3. Nevertheless, I believe that .... (Firstly, secondly, finally)
4. In conclusion, while many people believe that ...., I do not agree that ...., for the reasons mentioned above )

I think the problem is using "on the one hand" and "on the other hand"
it is more of a "Discussion+opinion" rather than "agree/disagree" form of structure .

Am I right ?
does anybody agree with my opinion ?

Sorry guys....
I think I just understood the problem....
I wanna contradict myself pretty quickly :D

think about the structure I mentioned from Simon.
I copy it again.
1. Intro : "Many people choose... .Personally, I disagree with the idea that... "
2. Body1 : "On the one hand, I agree that.... "
3. Body2 : " Nevertheless, I believe that... "
4. Conclusion : "In conclusion, while..., I do not believe that.... "

this question asks whether YOU agree or disagree . Thus, you should not include other people's opinion .
my previous comment was wrong because I started my first body paragraph like this : 2. The vast majority of people usually .... ( Idea,Explain,Example )

it is not important what others think or believe or do because the question asks about MY opinion ( To what extent do YOU agree or disagree? )
Hence, I just need to express MY OWN OPINION.

So I believe the best structure would be something like this

1. Introduction : Topic (many people usually) + I disagree that...
2. Body 1 : On the one hand I accept that ... ( Idea,Explain,Example)
3. Body 2 : On the other hand I believe that ... ( Firstly, secondly,finally)
4. Conclusion : In conclusion, while...., I do not believe that... for the reasons mentioned above

So I suppose the problem is the use of "Many people believe ..." in the second paragraph....
It does not matter what others believe.... The question wants to find out what YOU believe so do not deprive it of YOUR VIEWPOINT .

Now, Am I right ? :D
If not, am I even getting close to the answer ? :D

Share your opinions ;-)

hi everybody!

a few hours ago, i had my speaking test. i dont think i met the scores that i need :(

its all a blur now.

on task 1, he asked me about my hometown, if i like the place that i live in, if the area is good for family with children. he asked if i prefer to live in another place.

task 2 is somehow related to his last question. the question was like was there ever a time i lived in another place away from home, where was it, why am i there and if i liked living there.

task 3, this is the time i wished the floor opened up and just swallowed me. i was really nervous. i didnt understand some of the questions. we talked about tourism and hospitality, about hotels. he asked if the government should regulate those who are in the hospitality industry, he asked what do people usually look for in hotels, then, i really didnt understand the last question, so he just reached his hand out and said thanks,time is up.

My outline could be:
1- Simon's paragraph 1
2- Simon's paragraph 3
3- Simon's paragraph 2
4- Concludion: summerize why I disagree

Problem on paragraph coherence:
Should be -


Body 1 - Reasons why I strongly disagree

Body 2 - Reasons why some agree

Conclusion - restate main points in body 1

Hey Simon , I want to know where the mistake is. I used to write essay in the below format. Kindly advice me at the earliest, since i have my test scheduled on 16th August.

i feel ..it should be written in this format:-
paragraph 1 -(disagree) reasons of disbelieve+ explanation with relevant examples
paragraph 2-(disagree) 2 more reasons for not following the belief+ explanation with examples if possible
paragraph 3- short para for the reason why other's agree with the same view
conclusion- restate your opinion

@mara .. oh mara that's sad :(......... but good luck for your results.....

Dear Simon, I am wondering If the following idea is right? please give me answer.Your reply is very important with me. Thank you so much !

1. Introduction : Topic (many people usually) + I disagree that...
2. Body 1 : On the one hand I accept that ... ( Idea,Explain,Example)
3. Body 2 : On the other hand I believe that ... ( Firstly, secondly,finally)
4. Conclusion : Restate my idea.

Bich Hann!
You need a comma after "On the one hand" and "On the other hand"


Mara, it will be ok, do not give up...Good luck...

Whenever an essay structure is discussed in this way , on this blog, things start to look far more complicated and " scary" than they actually are.
I wonder, how you guys do that, at least, my little brain gets completely lost :(

Yes, mara, no need to give up, it's such a "FUN " to take the same exam over and over again. Some people hate it, but still carry on to try their luck or in other words "bad luck" . Anyway, its a matter of chance and we never know when we will be lucky enough to get that chance. Fingers crossed

@Kamala, @Rose,
thank you! i was really nervous, i can hear my heartbeat louder than the examiner's voice! plus i was almost late, i walked around for 30 minutes just to reach the testing area.

Thanks @abdullah! yeah it's fun to meet people and gain experiences while taking exams like ielts, but it doesnt come cheap :)

The outline makes me confused with the discussing essays. There are 2 cases I want to mention as follows:

1. As I state above, this is agree/disagree eassays. If there are 2 paragraphs in the body, we should support the opinion we stated in the introduction (hereby is disareement) and make it clear and pursuaded, which are the 2 reasons why we disagree.

2. If there are 3 paragraphs in the body, we may add the counter agreement at the third paragraph in the body. The 2 first paragraphs are the 2 reasons why we disagree. The third is the counter argument (means we reject the opinion in the introduction) as the following outline:

Paragraph 1: In the thesis statement, state your opinion (hereby is disagree)

Paragraph 2: Your opinion and the supporting ideas such as the first reason why you disagree.

Paragraph 3: Your opinion and the supporting ideas such as the second reason why you disagree..

Paragraph 4: The counter argument (Simon's Paragraph 2)

Paragraph 5: Simon's Paragraph 4

Totally, for agree/disagree eassays, I prefer to support my view as the main idea in the whole body. Don't discuss both of view equally.

thanks for your kind words. i was really nervous yesterday. What is worse, I was almost late for the test. I walked around for 30 minutes just to get to the testing center. I can hear my heartbeat much louder than the examiner's voice!

thanks! though meeting people and gaining experience while taking exams like this can be fun, it also gets expensive! :)

I think possibly lalita and amber correct.

Hi Simon,
How are you?
Here is my answer :
For completely agree or disagree:

1. Introduce the Topic and give your opinion if you are completely agree or disagrer.

2.The main reason why you agree or disagree.
3.Another reason why you agree or disagree.
4. Rewite your ovarall opinion.
Thank you so much.
Have a nice day :)


Well said Abdullah. This is all too complicated.

Examiners look for opinions that are 'clear and consistent throughout the response'. This means that the opinion is easy to find and understand, and that it is the same opinion in all parts of the essay. In Simon's example, the introduction and conclusion seem to come from a strong opinion, and the body offers a more balanced view, therefore the opinion is not consistent.

There is nothing wrong with looking at both sides of an issue. In fact, it may often be easier to brainstorm because your available ideas are 'wider' than in a stronger opinion essay. Just make sure that your opinion is easy to find and that it matches the way you look at the question.

Paragraph-1 one sentece to introduce the topic, and exlain whether you are agree or disagree?
2-Paragraph-2-arguement with one reason
3-Paragraph-2 arguement with anpther reason.
4-summarise the reasons and your openion.
This should be the correct outline.
The problem in the outline of this post is that in the second para we do'nt have to give other side of the arguement. As in the first para, it is mentioned clearly that you are completely disagree. So, the correct ouline would be as I mentioned above. ThIS SHOULD BE STRONG OPINION ESSAY OUTLINE.


I think several people have summed up the problem well: it's the use of "many people believe" in paragraph 2.

For "agree / disagree" essays, make sure that the whole of the essay is about YOUR opinion, not the opinion of other people. It's fine to have a balanced view, but you should show that it's YOUR balanced view e.g.:

2) On the one hand, I accept that...
3) On the other hand, I also believe that...

Thanks for the kind words dear sjm.

Waalaykum salam Mara, yes, it all comes at the expense of : time, energy, and of course money. Despite some frustration eventually it ingrains desensitization, i'm afraid.

Hi Simon, I'm writing to express my gratitude! I just got my IELTS result, 7.0 for writing. I should mention that I had absolutely no idea how to prepare for the writing part two weeks before the test. You really helped me a great deal! Thank you very much!

GJ from China

Hi simon, this website really deserves a lot of applause from the students who are preparing for ielts. I need a small clarification. In your comment for "agree/disagree" you have mentioned that "It's fine to have a balanced view". But what difference does it would have made if the same question was asked this way : Discuss both the views and come up with your view.

Hi Simon,

First of all, I would like to thank you for the E-book.I have also bought target 7 from you.I need some suggestion from you.I took an exam on 16th of august in Australia and the topic for task 2 was:-
In some countries, governments are encouraging industries and businesses to move to regional areas outside the big cities.
Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages?
-cities are already overcrowded and polluted as well.if those industries/businesses will move out to outskirts then the big cities will have a better environment with clean air and free from pollution.
-create employment opportunities in the regional areas for the local inhabitants.
-should not be encouraged to shift to countrysides because in order to build/set up these giant factories,they need lots of land and rural areas are basically farmlands/forests.if they do so,farmers will loose their lands which is their only source of income.
-they have to cut out the forests as well.by doing so,wildlife will loose their shelter.

conclusion-I support the advantage

I can remember up to this far.Do you think this ideas are valid or is it off topic?Please let me know about this.


For such "to what extent" question type, we should acknowledge both sides of the argument, that BOTH make sense,but at the end, we conclude by stating which one we agree more and why.

Hi all

The problem comes from paragraph two. The question requests you to state your opinion rather than others opinion. These words of "On the one hand, many people believe..." let us know idea(s) of other people.

Congratulations GJ!


Hi Ravikiran,

In a "discuss both views" essay, you can write about what OTHER people think. The views don't have to be YOURS.


Hi Gwen,

I don't recommend writing your essays in the way you suggest.

First, it's fine to "completely agree", so you definitely don't need to acknowledge both sides. Second, if you save your opinion for the conclusion, you'll get a lower score. Examiners want to see a clear "position" explained throughout the essay.


Yes, NTChung, the use of "many people" is the real problem here.

Hi Simon,
After I read your feedback and Target band 7, I was really confused.
In your book, with topic :" home schooling belongs to the past and is unacceptable in modern society. To what extend do you agree or disagree with this statement ? Use your own knowledgeand experience and support arguments with examples and relevant evidence" you did mention it is Hidden argument and you did it with both views from other opinions.You also recommend us give our opinion in the conclusion part. But in this website feedback, you mentioned other way that we have to give our opinion not other and use agree or agree argument only. Moreover, ylu also notice that we shluld not save opinion in conclusionart as we can get a lower mark.

So what is the right way for us to follow?

Hi James,

"Target Band 7" is not my book! I think you're confused because the writer is called Simone and my name is Simon (please note that Simone is female and Simon is a male name).

I can only support the advice given here on this website - I haven't read the Target 7 book.

Mr Simon;
I think the essay of your colleague Peter Walton (which was about credit cards, on 5th February) contradicts with this lesson. If you think that the reason of contradiction is the type of question, could you please explain it?

Hi Sari,

Yes, it's a different type of question.

When the question asks you "do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?", I recommend that you consider both sides of the argument - it's really the same as a "discuss both views and give your opinion" question.

hello simons sir please help me to vocubalry inwriting essay 2 part simply to memorize

Hi sir,

As far as I know, to answer the type of "to what extend" type of argumentative essay, we should not "completely disagree" over the introduction. That's because once we had completely disagree, there is no point to write about agree. Hence, It's advisable to voice our decision(agree/disagree) in conclusion paragraph.

Besides, because it's "to what extend", we should answer both agree and disagree in body paragraphs. Furthermore, if we choose to disagree, then the body paragraph of disagreement should be longer.

The flow of structure as below:
-Detailed background

Body 1(agree)
- topic sentence
- extended
- link back

Body 2(disagree)
- topic sentence
- extended
- link back

-position( disagree)
- suggestion (optional)

I really need your help to clarify if above format is correct? Look forward your quick revert!

the question is "to what extent do you agree or disagree?"? So, you should give your opinion, not opinions of "many people"

I think the best answer would be.

If 100% (completely) agree/disagree then.

Intro--completely agree/disagree

pare 1 - write why you agree/disagree

para 2 - write why you ageee/disagree


If partly agree/disagree then

Intro .. your view-- for example largely agrre

Para 1-- give reasons why agree

Para 2- Give some more reason why agree

Para 3 - Refutal ( why some other people may disagrree)

Conclude, prove your superiority with good point

i got the same question on my exam! i also had my exam 16 of aug!but im not from australia

Hi,Simon! could you please do a video to teach how to do sentence building in task 2 essay for introduction, conclusion and forthe main body parts.

It would be a great help because I know what to write but I wouldn't not be able to express my idea into sentences effectively.

Kind Regards,

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