How to write the public or general opinion in IELTS Discussion essays.
When writing a discussion essay in IELTS writing task 2, you have to give the public opinion or others opinions as well as giving your own opinion (if the task asks for your opinion). To do this you will need to use special phrases to show others views. If you do not refer to why people hold a particular opinion, then you will lose marks in task response. You must mention others views and why they hold those views, or the whole essay could turn into a problem solution essay or even an advantage disadvantage essay. It is all about the way language is used here.
Example task question
The task is asking for 3 things:
1. Write about why some people think television is useful for education.
2. Write about why others think it is only useful for entertainment.
3. Give your own opinion on the issue.
In my introduction, I will paraphrase the task and give a thesis statement such as:
Some hold the view that television is educational, whereas others believe that it serves only entertainment purposes. I think that television can be very educational, if used in the right way, however, there are dangers of it becoming a distraction.
Structure: in body paragraph one, I will write about why some think it is educational, body 2 will be about why others think it is only for entertainment, then I can also add a short 3rd body paragraph with my own view on the topic. Remember that the opinion has to be in the intro, main body and conclusion.
A discussion essay can easily turn into a problem solution essay, or even an advantage disadvantage essay if you do not use language correctly. You must express why people hold their views, to show that it is being addressed as a discussion essay. If the task asks for your opinion, you must also state it clearly.
Referring to others views
Here are some set phrases for expressing other peoples opinions with reasons/more information.
KEY POINT: Remember that these should not just be memorised, you will have to practice how to use these naturally in your writing. If you just memorise phrases and put them in an essay the examiner will spot it. Work on your own writing style.
If writing a public or general opinion, include a reason for someone holding that opinion. See some examples below.
Examples for expressing a general opinion in a discussion essay with reasons. You will notice that many of these are in the passive voice and some have dependent and independent clauses.
a) It is a widely held belief that obesity is caused by eating too much fast food, this is because most people think that fast food is high in calories, sugar, and salt…..
b) Many people hold the view that women are better teachers than men, they claim that women are more intuitive and better understand the needs of their students…..
c) A growing number of people say that University fees are too expensive these days, they feel this way because the cost of going to University has increased sharply over the past 20 years….
d) There is a common belief that finding a job these days is becoming harder, one reason for this view is that the economy is in a downturn….
e) Some would argue that television is very educational and that there is a lot that can be gained from certain TV shows. Their view is that TV documentaries, for instance, are very useful for learning new things about society…..
Here are some notes for another essay about smartphone addiction, notice how I have taken the main ideas and made sentences expressing other peoples opinion.
Others opinion: overuse of smartphones – addictive
Explain : smartphone zombies – can’t communicate face to face
Some would argue that the overuse of smartphones is addictive, their view is that people who use smartphones to excess cannot communicate well on a one to one basis anymore. In addition, there has been a growing trend of what is called ‘smartphone zombies’ in modern society. These are people walking around while staring at their screen…..
How would you develop these ideas below and make sentences expressing the public or general opinion?
1. older people / working until age 75
2. prison / not effective
3. global warming / not caused by Co2
4. robotics / people will lose jobs in future
5. Extreme sports / too dangerous / ban them
You can try first then take a look at my ideas… click to show answers.
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