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November 06, 2019


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Hi Simon,

Is it OK to use "but" at the beginning of this sentence "But perhaps even more worrying is the possibility that humans could be modified or cloned" in Writing Task 2?

As far as I know, "but" can be used at the beginning of a sentence. However, it should not be used in formal writing.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, we should not use but at the beginning of the sentence in formal writing:

However, I believe that but can be used to express surprise there, while however or other synonyms can't, so that's why you put "but" there.


It's a good point, and one that I considered carefully when writing that sentence.

I see the word 'but' being used more often at the beginning of sentences these days (e.g. in the books I read), and I think it has a certain impact that works well in the context of my paragraph. So I made the decision to go with my instinct about what would "read well".

I hope this makes sense!



Hi Simon,

To get band 7-9. Arguments need to be elaborated, extended or supported by relevant examples. However, in the paragraph 2, your view about GM foods resistance wasn't backed by a supporting points. As in the next sentence you moved to explain the second idea of cloning.

Do you think a sentence there would have solidified the argument and band score?


Well noticed. I must admit that I wrote the main paragraphs without planning them (bad idea!!) and look what happened.

Without a plan, I neglected the 'extending' and 'progression' aspects of paragraph 2. I think we can improve that paragraph in terms of task response, so watch out for another lesson on this next week!

Genetic engineering is certainly a hot topic among researchers and medical professionals, but at the same time, it is a cause of concern among many other people. While some think that such a technology can be beneficial to human beings in terms of providing them foods at an affordable rate, I would argue that the danger it poses, such as physical defects or fatal diseases, to humans and animals is more grievous.

Genetic technology has played a vital role in reducing the prices of many vegetables, fruits, and grains. This has become possible as scientists nowadays can modify the genes of these eatables, which boosts their productivity. It means that foods will become less expensive to people as farmers can produce far more quantity of genetically modified crops than other naturally grown ones in the same time. For instance, in India, most hybrid fruits are two to three times cheaper than those grown naturally. However, I seriously doubt this benefit as such foods usually have inferior nutritional value.

The negative implication of this technology, and the one that I favour, is medical issues in living organisms. In other words, cloned animals often show abnormal growth of certain body parts or even the development of tumors. Moreover, developing human clones has been in research for a long time, and many trials have shown that hybrid species of humans and animals look entirely different than normal ones, and they often found to have life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer or brain-related disorders. In this way, I think genetic engineering is more of a harmful technology than beneficial.

In conclusion, I believe that the benefit of this scientific method is inferior, and the risk it poses to humans or other living species cannot be ignored.




-> the danger it poses to humans and animals, such as physical defects or fatal diseases, is more grievous. [just word order]


-> far more genetically modified crops

Note that a distinction is often made between GM seed and hybrid seed:


One does not normally "favour" something negative. One would usually dislike it.
-> Of the negative implications of this technology, the one I most dislike is...

-> developing human clones has been the subject of much research

-> genetic engineering is a technology more harmful than beneficial.

the benefit of this scientific method is inferior -> the benefits do not outweigh the risks ..

Mr Simon
I just made a long comment on the above essay and it disappeared: perhaps you could rescue it from the junk folder?

Genetic engineering is relevant with people, just like other sciences. That's impact arise from developing human tech. Throughout history, Human have been utilizing through natural resource is made more useful than normal forms. What's still ongoing. The situation sometimes endanger for human lives and natural balance. What's still ongoing as well. But good and bad is existing every time. That's why genetic science and others exploding by bad humans (It doesn't have to purposely, sometimes could make wrongly)
Regardless, Humanity have to make innovation by working hardly because human life and history depend on to develop. If humanity fears which conlusion arise from innovation, people must worry only then


I want to first say that many of the advice seem sound and I will apply them as I prepare for the exam. However, I am confused about answering the questions concerning the listening and reading sections of the exam and I have come across much disinformation online. I have heard of people claiming to use all capital or all lower case letters. I have also heard people mentioned that points can be reduced for the former and the latter. There is also mention of using proper nouns and common nouns. At the moment I just want to have this cleared about how to answer the questions.

It is true that genetic engineering has become the indispensable part of modern science. A section of society asserts that in future, genetic engineering would bring numbers of benefits whilst others oppose their beliefs. While I accept that this advance technology may have dangers, I believe that advantageous of genetic engineering outweigh the disadvantages.

On the dark side, the main drawback of genetic engineering is that it impart in loss of biodiversity as it has been seen that some species depend upon natural crops for their food source, but alteration in genes of crop might hinder to use the crop as energy source. Consequently, the number of species decline in the eco system. Apart from this, genetic engineering can create a natural resistance against certain pathogens for plants and animals, but the natural evolutionary process is geared towards creating pathways thus, bacteria and viruses evolve resistance to the resistance that is created by the genetic engineering efforts. This causes the pathogens to become stronger and more resistant than they normally would be, potentially creating future health concerns that unforeseen.

On the bright side, genetic engineering has brought broad implications for all human society. Firstly, modifications in the genes of crops not only provide higher yield but also can be grown in harsh climate conditions which may lead to it protect the nations from famine or drought. Secondly, genetic engineering aid in graft replacement in patients who need organs such as heart or liver by cloning of human organs. Finally, it aid in correction of genes in human DNA, some diseases such as diabetes and cancer are inherited which pass from parents to offspring. These kinds of dreadful diseases can be reduced with the help of this modern technology.

In conclusion, I am convinced that genetic engineering will have positive impact on our lives, and that people’s fear will be unwarranted.

Recently, genetic engineering has been highlighted as the hottest topic in scientific research. People vary in their opinion regards this matter. some are supported the positive evolution result in human lives while others are more concerned about their lethal consequences on habitats. In my opinion, the expected positive benefits, eventually, will mitigate the drawbacks.

One of the pivotal implementations of genetic engineering has been approved in agricultural fields. In this field, scientists successfuly modified crops that have the ability to resist the most aggressive form of infectious diseases. Previously, These diseases were able to destroy the whole harvests, which result in a catastrophic season for farmers as well as the economy. In other words, this revolution has saved the planet from the scarsity of food and inevitable starvation.

On the other hand, the possibility of negative implications on human health is co-existed, and many folks are often discussing the huge risk of genetic mutation on human genes due to the high consumption of genetically modified food. For instance, updated research conducted compelling evidence relating the percentage of cancer and genetically manipulated food.

In my opinion, it is probably axiomatic to say that the overall unprecedent fundamental benefits of this scientific evolution would leverage the prosperity of human beings and more useful implication is yet to come.

In conclusion, despite the argument against genetic engineering due possible risks in our lives , I am convenient that the positive effects have the capability of throwing the balance in favor of this revolution.

My teacher says we can't combine our view and the discussion of given view in one paragraph, otherwise the examiner will consider that you haven't discussed both views, you just discuss one view and give your opinion

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