Discussion Essays: expressing others opinions

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 state other peoples opinions as well as giving your own opinion. Most discussion essays ask you for your opinion so it is important to state your view throughout the whole essay.

To show other peoples views you will need to use special phrases which I have outlined in this post. You will need to mention others 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 banning private vehicles from city centres relieves traffic congestion.
2. Write about why others think that this is not a realistic approach.
3. Give your own opinion on the issue  (you can agree with one side here)

In my introduction, I will paraphrase the task (you don’t have to paraphrase every single word either) and give a thesis statement such as:

Some people would argue that the most effective method in dealing with traffic congestion in city centres is for private vehicles to be prohibited, while others would say that this approach is unrealistic. I agree that this is not realistic, however, there should be a congestion charge to enter busy cities.

This was 50 words and is long enough for an introduction. The conclusion would rephrase my opinion and refer to the differing views. Conclusions are shorter than introductions so keep it concise.


Structure

Your opinion has to be in the introduction, main body paragraphs and restated in the conclusion. Click the blue button below.


Dangers

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 in a discussion essay.

Another issue is that some IELTS students write about both sides and why people hold these views but fail to give their own opinion on the issue. If you do this you could end up with a Band 5.

If the task asks for your opinion you must also state it clearly. Remember that you should state your opinion in the introduction main body and conclusion, and you can just agree with one side. Don’t agree with both sides it will ruin your essay.


Language for referring to others views

Here are some set phrases for expressing other peoples opinions with reasons/more information. Don’t just memorise these sentences, practice how to use these naturally in your writing.  Work on your own writing style.

general opinion ielts discussion essay

If writing a public or general opinion you can 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 at the moment.

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 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. This is not a body paragraph it is just for practice purposes.

Other peoples opinion:   overuse of smartphones – addictive
Explain: smartphone zombies  – can’t communicate face to face

Some people would argue that the overuse of smartphones leads to addiction. Their view is that people who use smartphones excessively cannot communicate well on a face to face basis anymore. In addition, there has been a growing trend of  ‘smartphone zombies’ in recent times due to this dependency on handheld devices.

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.

1. older people / working until age 75

Many people hold the view that working until age 75 is going to become the norm. They believe this because pensions are not guaranteed anymore in retirement.

2. prison / not effective

Some would argue that prison is not an effective way to punish criminals. Their view is that prison is too soft on criminals.

3. global warming / not caused by Co2

A growing number of people believe that global warming is not caused by Co2 levels. They claim that scientists warned of a coming ice age in the 1970s and that climate change has nothing to do with C02 emissions.

4. robotics / people will lose jobs in future

It is a widely held belief that the development of robotics will cause many people to lose jobs in the future. One reason for this view is that people will be replaced by robots in factories and supermarkets.

5.  Extreme sports / too dangerous / ban them

Some people would argue that extreme sports should be prohibited. This is because most people think that these kinds of sports are far too dangerous.


Any questions? Leave a comment below.

 

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