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May 09, 2018


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Thank you for today's lessen: it's very helpful.

It is very useful information sir

Thank you for today’s lesson,Sir

Hello Simon, this is an excellent info. To add, d you give OPINION if the question is ''to what extent do you agree or disagree''?

Dear Simon sir,
some teachers say that you have to give opinion in case of question (B). What do you advise ?
Can we write balance essay meaning 50-50 from both side?

@pachu & Jab

Fruzsi recently made the following comment:

The question may not specifically mention "your opinion", but as it is not asking for a discussion of other people's views on the topic, it must be implicitly asking for yours.

In one sense, everything is an opinion. We cannot say that "the earth is flat" is an opinion, but "the earth is round" is a fact. They are both opinions stated as fact. The difference lies only in the weight of evidence, that is, not simply the quantity of evidence, but the quality of the evidence.

In the same way, if we assert that "Chairman Mao" was a "great" leader, it is an opinion masquerading as a "fact", which depends on exactly what criteria we use to define "great", and on the weight of supporting evidence. In terms of his ecological legacy, was Chairman Mao a "great" leader? I have no opinion, because I have no information on this, and "great" is not usually defined in terms of ecological legacy. If "great" only means "changing the course of human history", then the answer would be different.

If an IELTS question specifically asks for a discussion, and nothing more, we can simply look at various viewpoints, the criteria being applied, and the weight of evidence in support, without stating our own position in the conclusion.

However, if the IELTS question asks "whether this is a positive or negative development", this is necessarily asking for an evaluation of the situation, the criteria, and the evidence. So this is really an opinion question, although we might not need to come out with "I believe" if our position is made clear in other ways.

Although I have made several assertions here, and stated them as facts, they are of course simply opinions, and just reflect my current understanding.

Hope this helps.

Yes, this is really true that most of us have been confused with these types of questions. Thank you, Simon.

Definitely, it's a very important topic since last week, I think.

Thanks @Saimon representing this valuable information.

We'll be helpful if Simon or anyone simply gives the details about all the categories which are given above.

Nope it didn't answer my question, sry. But thx anyway(just for the effort)

This is how Simon has handled this type of question in model answers:

Q:To what extent do you think laws are needed to make people recycle more of their waste?

A: ..However, I believe that governments should...In conclusion, perhaps we do need to make recycling a legal requirement, but this would certainly not be the only way ... [stating an opinion]

Q2: To what extent do you agree or disagree?

A2: To a certain extent I agree that vi..



Hi Simon, I have used your blog to learn IELTS essay for a week, and I really absorb lots of useful information. This is a essay I Wrote yesterday,could you please help me correct it or give me an idea about band score of it. My IELTS is coming next Saturday and I really worry about it.

It’s considered by some that kids make daily ordinary decisions by themselves contributing to selfish or individualism. for example, food, clothes and entertainment while it’s argued by others that choosing what they want brings benefits to their life. In my opinion, I believe that it’s good to make decisions by children themselves.

There are two reasons what people might argue that it’s unnecessary to permit kids to make decisions alone. On the one hand, nowadays almost kids are spoiled, furthermore, if they are given more opportunities to decide what they want, in some degree, they are persuaded to be more self-centered. In other words, they are lost to ability of sharing and respect for others. Quite often, children will focus on their own wishes without considering their parents or friends. On the other hand, for children, they have a very limited knowledge to support them to make decisions even regular stuffs. For example, when kids, who are sensitive to some sorts of materials, buy some clothes, they couldn’t identify what materials are used. Self-decision, at this moment, won’t help them, it’s better to ask their parents or experienced people to choose.

In spite of the above arguments, I support the view that it’s better to guide them to learn art of independent decision. If kids were allowed to do decisions earlier, it would nurture their independent thinking and problem solving. Moreover, It will aid them when they start social work. In other words, adults normally work in different situations and are required to respond to various emergencies, either. If they had their own ideas to cope with those difficulties, they would help a company step forward. In addition, these kinds of employees are most popular in a wide range of companies. In my opinion, it’s beneficial for children to figure things out alone because it will bring them a clear mind.

In conclusion, permitting kids to make choices alone certainly has its drawbacks, but I believe the benefits outweigh them in long term.

( 332 words)


1) Do not use short forms like "couldn't", "it's" in formal writing: could not, it is, it cannot, we do not.

2) Do not use "kids" in a formal essay such as IELTS: use "children" instead.

3) Try to avoid starting too many sentences with an introductory adverb like: moreover, furthermore, in addition, ...

-> it is good for children to make decisions by themselves.

->There are two reasons why ...

-> nowadays almost all kids are spoiled. Furthermore, [make sure your sentences do not "run on", or are just joined with a comma]

-> what they want, then they are to some extent being induced to become .... [I thought it is about being "self-reliant" vs being "self-centered"]

-> to support their decision-making ability/ their ability to make sound choices on everyday matters. [stuff is seldom plural]

Self-decision -> Deciding for themselves...

-> learn the art of independent decision-making [frequently it is "the" something "of" something else, where the "of" part circumscribes the precise meaning: the art of seduction, the art of winning, the art of gambling, the art of painting, the art of driving]

to do decisions -> to make decisions

"Social work" usually refers to when a government agency intervenes in a troubled family, sometimes even taking the children away from parents and into care.

->encies, either.

@Lolita. Thank you so much for correcting my essay, your suggestion is very useful.

thanking for your suggestions

Hi, Simon,

B) Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Your answer is "whereas the (B) questions can be answered by giving both sides or by supporting only one side, depending on the view that you express in your introduction."

But i think this question is "discussion+opinion" type question. As well as "Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?", we must discuss both two sides and then say which side do i agree. (or prefer)

Hope for your reply.


Hi Simon,

I know this is an old post of yours but I have a question which I would be grateful if you answer it.

This post says that, for the question type "Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?", we can answer by giving both sides OR by supporting only one side.

But in your 2 posts in 2012 and 2013 as below, as I understand, you said this question type MUST be answer by giving both sides.



Could you please explain?

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