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September 19, 2018


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Can we use these kind of words in speaking like stepping stone, Catastrophe, Cakewalk etc. I meam these words seems unnatural and i get them into the readings sois it possilbe to use them in a speaking or our writing

Please reply my comment


Words like stepping stone, catastrophe, pitfall, and stumbling block are fine in both speaking and writing.

Words such as 'cakewalk' which are marked as informal in the dictionary should not be used in your IELTS writing.


Thanks for your valuable comment

look forward for the next lesson

Hello Everyone!

You all are welcome to share your valuable suggestions!

There could be several reasons why children should read books and study the historical events of their own countries. The foremost reason is that young children are so keen to know about the where they live and such information make sense to them. Another reason is that parents of many teenagers had already studied the same books and literature of their countries past during schooling period, so they can support their child in understanding the country’s history. This could be considered as a sense of continuity across generation by passing down knowledge. The last reason is that youngsters would be benefitted when they will apply for exams for government jobs that primarily require knowledge of individual’s nation to pass the exam.

Hello EVERYONE, I am going to sit IELTS next week, I’m pretty nervous cuz it will be my first experience to do that….

In my opinion, there are several reasons why people have to learn books and study historical events of their own nations. From children’s point of view, it is crucial for teenagers to learn about where they live, which will strengthen their sense of nationality. On the parents’ level, learning historical stories that ancestors passed down would help all couples to give their children some valuable wisdoms and life experience, and this also boosted their sense of continuity across generations. For example, Chinese people usually use the novel called Three Kingdom, which is about history in ancient China, as materials in order to deepen children’s national identity. Finally, educators may see national history and literature as a consistent curriculum because this would provide a wildly understanding of some pivotal historical locations such as the National Palace Museum .

Hello Simon,

I read a lot of essays on internet some introductions include: "in this essay, ... wil be explained" etc.. it sounds strange.. what about using this kind of sentences?

Dear Simon,
I have achieved 6.5 in writing skill three times although I kept changing method. I'm wondering if you can help me with finding my major problem considering the paragraph below?
Thanks in advance.

Teaching children their national history or literature can be to the mutual advantage of them, their parents and schools. From any child's perspective, the acquisition of their own countries' backgrounds is more interesting and easier to be made sense, comparing to those of other countries. On the other hand, their parents are likely to help them to learn the subjects they used to study at their school ages, feeling efficient since they impart knowledge to their kids. Hafez's poems, for instance, have been taught for centuries in my country -Iran- and previous generations have always helped next ones to learn them. Last but not least, if such consistent curriculum of topics are given importance by educational systems, schools will have the opportunity of setting clear limits to teaching scope as well as organising school trips to visit key locations easier.

Please ignore previously posted paragraph and kindly evaluate below updated paragraph. Sorry for the inconvenience!

There could be several reasons why children should read books and study the historical events of their own countries. The foremost reason is that young children are so keen to know about the place, city and even country where they live and such information gives them a sense of identity. Moreover, parents of many teenagers had already studied the same history books and literature during their school, so they can teach children about the past events of their country in detail. This could be considered as a sense of continuity across generations by passing down the knowledge. The other reason to study country’s history is that it would be beneficial to youngsters to qualify the exams for government jobs, which majorly contain questions on the past events of an individual’s nation.


In this response the question of how to open your essay will be discussed and an answer to your question explained.*

1) The phrases you mention are indeed used, particularly as part of the introduction to a long academic treatise or book, as the graphs and references below illustrate.




2) I would argue that they sound rather pompous, and, in a short writing sample such as IELTS, are both unnecessary, and advance your argument very little, as the first paragraph of this response illustrates*.

3) Given the very limited time available in IELTS, and the requirement of the marking schema to "present a fully developed position in answer to the question with relevant, fully extended and well supported ideas", it does not make sense to waste your time on anything but a minimal introduction. The examiner is interested in your ability to put your point across in the main body paragraphs, rather than whether you can parrot off some memorized phrases in your introduction.


My version of your paragraph:

The national school curriculum should include national history and literature because it is best for all concerned. From the child's perspective, the curriculum will be more interesting and easier if it focuses on the acquisition of the background of their own country. This will also allow parents to assist children, as the subject matter will be largely unchanged from one generation to the next. For instance, in my country, Iran, the curriculum has for centuries included the same subject matter, Hafez's poems, so that each successive generation could help the next to learn and appreciate them. Last but not least, if the curriculum is more consistent across generations, schools will have the opportunity of setting clear limits to the teaching scope and organizing school trips to visit key locations easier.

[Why would it be easier? Need to explain this last point more fully. Why would the "teaching scope" be better defined? Would it not be properly defined anyway? Did you intend "teaching scope" to refer to the curriculum? If so the reference is unclear: it is often better just to repeat the key word (as I have done). Also note how I have altered the word order in the sentence on Hafez's poems. I have also switched the subject of each sentence to "the curriculum" in order to maintain focus and cohesion. "This" at the start of the third sentence refers to the ideas in the previous sentence in general. I also chopped down the opening topic sentence as it was too long and contributed very little.]

In spite of the advances made in agriculture, many people around the world still go hungry.
Why is this the case?
What can be done about this problem?

It is true that people in developing countries are facing a scarcity of basic human needs, mainly of food. Although there are several reasons for this trend, governments and societies can contribute to resolving this issue.

There are several reasons why people are not getting enough food, regardless of advancements in the field of agriculture. The foremost reason for this scenario is that the population in growing nations has been significantly increased in the past decade, and because of this food demand and consumption were also increased. This trend led to the overutilization of food resources than normal. Another reason why people lack the food is that the poverty rate is increasing in many countries. Many people from different countries are below the poverty line, and due to this, they cannot afford to purchase food for their families. The final reason is that no strict government regulation against the wastage of food is implemented, specifically in cities; hence people are not afraid to waste a large amount of food during their family celebrations.

To solve these issues, politicians and societies need to take multiple steps. The most important step would be the implement of new regulation on population control by the government. This new regulation should clearly indicate that the families having more than a single child need to pay an additional tax to the government, which needs to utilize to feed the poor families.
Furthermore, governments should make and implement new law immediately against the food wastage by the people. There should be the heavy amount charged to the individual, as a penalty, for breaking this law. Societies can also contribute by donating a small part of their earnings to the needy families, so they don’t have to starve for the food.
In conclusion, governments and societies should take measurable steps to tackle the aforementioned problems that are responsible for the starvation among the people in growing nations.


Overall, I would suggest focusing on explaining the reasons, thinking and rationale behind each of the points and assertions you make. For example, why would it be "more interesting" for the children? Why "easier"? Would they not be more excited and enthusiastic about comparing an alien culture to their own and exploring the differences? You need to back up your points with clear, detailed explanations. (Time permitting !) This is actually what examiners are looking for in terms of Task Response.

Thanks M'ambo


-> sense of national identity.

-> wisdom [uncountable]

-> this would also boost

-> Three Kingdoms

-> material [singular here as it refers to just one item]

-> a wider understanding

->the population .. has significantly increased over the past decade,

->and because of this, [must have comma here; otherwise it reads as "because of this food" as an item] food demand and consumption were also increased.

->This trend led to more utilization of food resources than normal.

-> people lack food [in general, so uncountable with no article]

-> has been implemented,

->to implement new regulations

-> the proceeds would be utilized to feed poor families.

-> implement new laws

-> they do not have to

Thanks M'ambo!

On the one hand, there may be a variety of benefits for students to read books and study historical events of their own countries. Firstly, young children are usually more keen to learn about the past of the regions where they reside as it makes more sense to them. Secondly, it will be helpful for parents to have a better grasp of what their children are learning at school. The knowledge and wisdom are able to pass down across generation, embody the cultural continuity. For example, by reading Shakespeare's pieces or learning about the Battle of Hastings, British students can absorb and internalize a abundant of legacy from the past. Finally, schools may find it easier to plot the curriculum due to the consistent topics, clear limits to teaching scope and regular school trips.





-> Students may derive a variety of benefits from reading books and study historical events of their own countries

-> Knowledge and wisdom would be passed on from one generation to the next, ensuring cultural continuity.

-> an abundant legacy

"Plot" means a secret plan by a group of people to do something harmful or illegal:

-> plan the curriculum

Correction: from reading books and studying historical ..

First of all, There are several reasons showing that young children should put the priority on studying local literature and history. From young children's perspective, they enjoy learning about local literature. They are curious about what has happened in their country's history. Then, in parents' eyes, they realize that they should assume the responsibility to encourage young children to learn about local literature and history so as to deliver their own country's faith and culture. These days, it is prevalent for Chinese parents to require primary students to read several Chinese classical novels every year, such as Journey to the West and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In addition, from the point of school, prioritizing teaching local literature and history would be beneficial for a school to have a consistent curriculum of topics, limit teaching scope, and easy to organize students to visit key locations on school trips.

Hallo Mr.Simon,

My teacher said that in writing task 2 we should use Logos, Pathos, and Ethos in order to improving our band score. What’s your opinion about this?


There are many reasons why when teaching children, more priority should be placed on local histories and traditions. Those young people who live in rural parts of the world get little chance to develop their knowledge on their customs and way of lives because of the standardised teaching system covering predominantly histories of important cities of different countries. If children were taught more of their own village's literature, their understanding of their surroundings would be heightened consequently, giving them a chance to be a better responsible adult when they grow older. It would also be easier for parents to take part in their child's learning activities since parents have a broader and deeper understanding of their customs and local knowledge. Additionally, teaching can become a fun activity for teachers as they can incorporate field trips to local monuments and places when teaching their students the theoretical aspects of subjects.

please give some comments. Thanks


Your Task 2 topic is unlikely to fall within your own area of expertise, so there is little opportunity to assert your status.

Band 7 requires you to logically organize information and ideas; and that there is clear progression throughout. That is all.

Task 2 is not about writing an impassioned speech for some debate or rally, or a political editorial: it is more about demonstrating that your competence to use English to argue your case, and develop and support your ideas in a way that comes across well to the reader, in a work or academic situation.


1) ...knowledge of their customs and way of life

2) I struggle to understand the situation behind your second and third sentences. How is it that rural children can live in a village and not know the local customs? Surely this is part of their everyday life? I would have thought it was the children in towns who would not have the opportunity to see traditional village life. Certainly there are countries in Europe where village people still dress up in traditional clothing and celebrate traditional festivals with dancing in the street and live musicians; and almost everywhere there is a sobering memorial to those who died in the great wars of the last century.

The other curious phrase for me was "their own village's literature": does this mean that there are published writers in each village? Another surprise was that teaching in schools only covered "histories of important cities". It seems that the education system in your country has a very different bias to what I would expect.

To me, the aspects of history that should be studied are those that are relevant to the present and future situation of our children. This might mean giving prominence to population growth, farming methods and their interaction with the environment, climate change, pollution, and the impact of war, peace, trade barriers, and the political situation in general.

Perhaps providing more background and examples would help to make it easier for an outsider to understand your ideas.


Unless of course we are dealing with an ethnic minority whose culture is being swamped by mainstream education... Such things happen in Europe too. Wales, Scotland, Roma, Basque, Csango, Kurds, the list goes on.


Thanks for taking the time to review my paragraph. I am indeed from an ethnic minority group, so I see your point of overgeneralising my ideas.Next time I will add an example when elaborating on my idea. Thanks


Maybe something like:

I believe we need to achieve a balanced view in education, and provide both a background in local culture and history, and also a more global setting.

This is particularly important for an ethnic minority. They need to have part of the curriculum devoted to their own language and culture, and equally the ethnic majority should have at least a little knowledge of the minority population, so that they can live alongside each other with some understanding. For example, ...

It is also important to have an understanding of global issues. The curriculum should .... For instance, ....

In conclusion, the national school curriculum should be inclusive, offering support for local minorities, as well as providing an external window onto world history and affairs.

Hi Simon,

I know my question isn't relevant to this webpage, and sorry for that. I'm going for a test in 2-week time, can you help me?
Here is my problem.
After going through your blog, I didn't find a suitable discussion-only essay sample. I mean I can find many "discussion + opinion" essays. Can you please give one example please?
Also, for this following question, I'm not sure if my structure is correct.
Question: Some people prefer to live in a house, while others feel that there are more advantages to living in an apartment.
Are there more advantages than disadvantages of living in a house compared with living in an apartment?

My structure is
Introduction: state the two preferences and say there are more advantages.
Paragraph 1: discuss the disadvantages of living in a house compared with an apartment.
Paragraph 2: discuss the advantages
Conclusion: paraphrase the introduction.

p.s. I'm not going to put my view in this essay. I will only discuss some people's opinion or it is argued xxx, like this. Is it correct?

Thanks in advance.

I believe that young people have to learn history of their country. I assume that history lessons not liked too much by students during their education time but anyhow history reflect to today even in future. Nations must know their past therefore young people can take this information from school time.

On the other hands, While students and their parents studying history together, parents might share their knowledge with children so it will be very interactive. Therefore both side will learn new things and teach each other the new things.

For instance last week while me and my daughter were studying in history i saw interesting knowledge regarding the Ottoman Empire. I have explained to her which i know also at the same time I learnt new something.

If we look point of school view, they can arrange some trip through to historical place thus students awareness will be raised.

Onur B

1) If the submission was meant to be a whole essay, it is too short. If it was meant to be a paragraph, then it needs reformatting.

2) "young people have to learn the history of their own country": there needs to be an explanation of why you believe this somewhere in the essay.

3) -> history lessons are not liked: it is passive.

4)"anyhow" is marked as informal: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/anyhow

5) "history reflects" -> the lessons of history are still relevant both for today and in the future.

6) -> therefore young people should acquire this information as part of their education.

7) -> On the other hand [no 's'], while [uncapitalized] ... parents are studying

8) ->both sides

9) -> my daughter and I [formal version]

10) -> studying history I saw some interesting... I explained it and at the same time learnt something new myself.

11) -> From the school's standpoint, some trips to historical places can be arranged to raise student interest and awareness.

I would argue that foreign history and literature are more important, because great conflicts and misunderstandings can arise for want of a proper understanding of the culture of neighbouring countries.

Misguided and inadequate history teaching in the United Kingdom may be behind the recent Brexit referendum result. There has been almost no teaching of European history in the school curriculum, which instead focuses almost entirely on events in the UK, and allocates less than one percent of classroom time to overseas events. The result is that most people educated in the UK have a perverted sense of their position: they think the United Kingdom stands outside and independent of Europe, whereas the opposite is true. They fail to see how British foreign policy has constantly sought to undermine political unity on the European mainland, and they see no need for a strong united Europe as a bulwark against major powers to the east. I would contend that, had the school curriculum included more about Europe, the outcome of the Brexit vote might have been very different.

With regard to literature, the situation is more complicated. I believe that it is important to pay more attention to female authors, as they have different priorities and insights, and to foreign female authors in particular. While it is hard to find good women's literature in some other cultures, writings that do exist bring a quite different perspective. For example, works by Marina Tsvetaeva, Margit Szabo, Doris Lessing, Han Suyin, to mention but a few. These are important because they bridge the cultural divide and promote mutual respect and understanding.

Without input on foreign history, and an appreciation of different cultures and viewpoints, English children are set up for parochial, insular attitudes, which are a barrier to peace and understanding.

(292 words)

Hi Simon:
According your guidance,i have finished paragraph 2 as follow:
There are several reasons why children should read notable books and study historical events of their own countries. As young children, they prefer to learn about where they live and grow up, and these valuable knowledge about their native countries makes sense to them. Meanwhile, children’s parents who studied the same books and historical affairs when they were children, can help their children with similar subjects and assignments, and in my opinion, there is a sense of continuity across two generations by passing down the associate knowledge. For example, when I was a child, my parents and I read Shakespeare together and my father always taught me some historical stories and discussed with me, and actually I’m quite grateful for this educational childhood experience. From the point of schools and teachers, a consistent curriculum of topics with clear limits on teaching scope is relatively easy to impart to young students and organize meaningful school trips for key historical sites visit.

look forward for your comments.
Thank you very much

There are several reasons why I believe that more attention should be paid on teaching children national literature and history than foreign similar knowledge. As young children, they prefer to learn about where they live and grow up, and by accumulating valuable concepts, culture and history of their native countries they begin to build up a sense of identity. Meanwhile, children’s parents who studied the same books and historical affairs when they were children, can help their children with their school work. For example, when I was a child, my parents and I read Tang poetries together and my father always taught me some historical stories of our country and discussed with me, and now I’m quite grateful for this educational childhood experience. From the point of schools and teachers, a consistent curriculum of topics with clear limits on teaching scope is relatively easy to prepare and they can also organize meaningful school trips to key historical sites.


1) more attention should be paid on to teaching children national, as opposed to foreign, literature and history. OR ..,rather than foreign,... [This word order avoids the paraphrase issue.]

2) Is all this just one paragraph?

3) the culture and history of their ... ['of' makes it specific]

4) "Meanwhile,": confusing and redundant here. -> Their parents ..... would also be able...

5) "Poetry" is uncountable in English: "verse" may be pluralized.

6) "discussed" is a transitive verb and as such must have an object -> discussed them with me

7) I’m: no short forms in your essay please.

8) https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=educational+childhood+experience%2Cchildhood+educational+experience&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cchildhood%20educational%20experience%3B%2Cc0

9) From the point of -> from the standpoint of

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