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Task 2 Essay Type: Agree or Disagree?
In this lesson, we’re going to look at the Task 2 Essay Type. Where you often are asked the question, to what extent do you agree or disagree? First, let’s look at some sample questions. Example number 1, true friends should always support each other’s decisions. Example number 2, it is wiser to use your money to gain meaningful experiences than to use it to acquire possessions.
Okay, and then after both of these types of questions, you’re usually going to be asked something like this. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Or sometimes they may ask you something like, what is your opinion? They may also ask you, of course, do you agree or disagree? So some different wording that they can use to ask you these questions.
Basically, these are standard opinion essay questions. You are being asked to give your own perspective, your own opinion, about some kind of topic. Usually it’s a debatable question, or a debatable topic. The strategy for these. Well, as I suggested just a moment ago, most of the IELTS questions of this type will have very good points on both sides, okay?
It’s unlikely that you’re going to have a very, very strong opinion about the question. Because they rarely ask questions that clearly have one side, that’s better than the other to most people, okay? So, it’s debatable, and you can find different ways to answer the questions. In fact, that’s a basic part of the strategy for these questions.
You have complete freedom to decide how much you agree, or disagree with the question that’s asked to you. You can agree very strongly, you can disagree very strongly with the statement. Or you can have a kind of mixed opinion, sometimes you agree, sometimes you disagree, okay?
So there are different options. In a moment, when we look at outlining for this essay type. We will look at how to approach these different ways of answering this question. My advice, as I’ve advised you in other parts of the exam, is to go with the first thing you think of, what can you write most about? Even if what you decide to write about on your IELTS exam is not truly your deeply held opinion, it doesn’t matter.
There’s no wrong answer for this question, what you need to do is to find something as quickly as possible. That you can write about to meet your word limit within the time that you have. So, that’s priority number one, so whatever you can think of quickly to brainstorm topics for this essay type, do it. Okay, now the key thing you must not do for this essay is to argue against yourself.
Sometimes students get confused when they are trying to, especially when they are trying to write a mixed opinion, right? Trying to present two sides to the question that’s being asked. Sometimes students will, in one body paragraph, argue one thing. And then in the second body paragraph, they’ll argue against themselves, they’ll say the opposite thing, okay?
And actually weaken the argument from the first paragraph that they made, this is something to avoid. Again, when we look at outlining in a minute, I’ll show you how to avoid this. But this is a key thing you want to not do in this essay, don’t argue against yourself. The rule is that each point in your essay must strengthen the argument that you make in your thesis, okay?
So your thesis statement should present the opinion that you will write about in your essay. And every point in your essay must support and strengthen the argument that you make in your thesis, okay? That’s a key strategy for this question type. So, obviously, you must make your position very, very clear in your introduction.
Your thesis statement has to be very focused for this essay, okay? Let’s take a look at how to do that with our sample questions. All right, Example question number 1 that we saw in the beginning of this lesson. It says, true friends should always support each other’s decisions. All right, now let’s walk through examples of different ways to answer this question. So I want to show you sample thesis statements and the basic topics you would put in your body paragraphs.
For someone who would strongly disagree with this statement, somebody who would take a mixed view on this statement. And somebody who would strongly agree with the statement. Let’s look at each of these, starting with strong disagree. Okay, so, if you’re going to write an essay where you disagree strongly with the statement.
True friends should always support each other’s decisions. Your thesis statement might look something like this, truly close friends should challenge each other when they disagree. Okay, so, someone who disagrees with this statement might strongly disagree. Because they believe true friends should actually be more challenging than this. They shouldn’t just always support each other’s decisions, okay?
In Body Paragraph 1, then, you could write something like this. Friends who never confront one another are probably not being honest, okay? There’s one reason why somebody might disagree with this statement, okay? It’s a bad thing to be dishonest. Certainly, sometimes you’re going to disagree with what your friends say. And if you don’t tell them, then are you truly being honest with your friend?
So probably most people would say no. Okay, so you could write a body paragraph about that idea to strongly disagree with the statement. Body Paragraph 2, then, you could write something like this. Friends should challenge each other in order to avoid making mistakes, right? If you never challenge your friends, maybe they’re gonna keep making mistakes.
Instead of just supporting them all the time, challenge them a little bit, that would be something a true friend could do. All right, these are examples of body paragraph topics that you could write if you strongly agreed with this statement. Now let’s look at what you could do if you took a mixed view. With a mixed view, your thesis statement might look something like this.
Friends should count on one another for support. However, friends that are honest will sometimes challenge each other’s decisions. Here we’ve got a sort of two-sentence thesis. All right, we’re going to write one paragraph below about how friends should be supportive.
But then also another body paragraph about how it’s important to challenge each other’s decisions sometimes. And that’s what you see down here with the brief description of what you would find in your body paragraphs, right? Body Paragraph 1, close friends should support each other, even when they disagree.
Okay, so I’m going to write a body paragraph all about that. And then I’ll probably, in the second body paragraph, I’ll have a nice transition word. To introduce the fact that I want to present a different side of the question. However, friends should challenge each other in order to avoid making mistakes. Notice how the thesis statement presents both sides of the question for my mixed view thesis.
So that it aligns perfectly and it matches up perfectly with what I want to say down here in my body paragraphs. Again, I’m not arguing against myself, I’m providing two points that show a mixed view of the question. Notice how I also include this sometimes, this shows that what I mean is occasionally.
Or, every now and then, a true friend should challenge his or her friend. So in general, friends should be supportive, but they should sometimes challenge each other. These two opinions work together, and they don’t contradict one another. So, they offer a good mixed view example here. Now let’s look at the last one.
If you strongly agree with the statement, you have to have two body paragraphs that strongly agree. So a thesis statement might look like this. Close friends should be able to count on each other’s support unconditionally. Okay, If I am going to strongly agree, I have to really strongly state that. Yes, friends should always be supportive, there are no exceptions to this issue.
All right ,so, then in my body paragraphs, I have to explain what I mean by this. I would write one body paragraph about how close friends should support each other, even when they disagree. So, then I could write a second body paragraph explaining something like this. Good friends show support by helping each other pick up the pieces after a poor decision is made.
So if a friend makes a big mistake, a true friend will be there for that friend. To help them pick up the pieces and put their life back together after a mistake is made. All right, these are just examples of how you could take these three different perspectives on the same question, all right? And how you can outline your paragraphs according to the different thesis statements you would have to write.
Okay, let’s take a look at Example question 2 now. This one we saw earlier in the lesson says this. It’s wiser to use your money to gain meaningful experiences than to use it to acquire possessions. All right, now, I think most people would probably say that, of course, you need to use your money for some possessions, right?
You need to buy certain things, supplies for school, you need food, okay, are these possessions? I don’t know, but you need a car, you need other basic things in life. All right, so that’s something to think about. And that’s a perfectly good thing to write about if you would choose to write that possessions are more important than acquiring good experiences.
Okay, however, in this sample essay, by the way, you see the full sample essay down below. So you could read how this particular outline we’re going to look at looks like in an essay form. Okay, but anyway, on this particular essay, they take a different view. They say in the thesis, the best use of extra money is creating memorable experiences.
All right, we haven’t looked at the outline or the essay yet. But I would expect if I see this thesis that the author wants to say. Okay, probably yes, you need to spend money on basic things in your life. But when you have extra money, the best use of that extra money is to spend it on memorable experiences. Okay, now, you can take a look at the sample essay to see if that’s what happened there.
But, in this case, clearly, this is a strong argument for the use of extra money on memorable experiences. So we should expect that we’re going to have two body paragraphs, at least two or three. That present this view, that present the idea that using money for experiences is the best way to go.
Okay, so that’s what your sample outline would look like. Body Paragraph 1 would be one reason why it’s better to spend money on experiences over things. And since this is a strong argument in favor of that, we’d need a second body paragraph explaining the same thing. Okay, again, look at the sample essay, you can see how that looks in detail down there.
All right, just to review then, so the important things about this question type. Number one, you have the freedom to say how much you agree or disagree. You can take a strong position on either side, or you can take a mixed view, all right? If you take a mixed view, the most important thing to do is to not argue against yourself.
You cannot argue against the main thing that you said in your thesis statement, okay? So, if you presented, for example, a strong opinion in your thesis statement. But then you presented a mixed view in one of your body paragraphs, that would be very confusing. Your thesis statement needs to present a mixed view if you’re going to write a mixed view in your body paragraphs.
Presenting two sides to the issue, okay? So you need to make your thesis statement very, very clear. And clearly present the idea you plan to argue in your body paragraphs. If it’s a strong agree or disagree, then all of your body paragraphs should reflect that opinion. And if it’s mixed, you can present a mixed view in your body paragraphs.
One paragraph is on one side, the other paragraph, on the other side. Still these paragraphs cannot contradict each other. So the strategy we saw earlier was to use language like, sometimes, or, in this situation, A is true, and in the other situation, B is true. That’s a good mixed opinion strategy to use. Okay, so this is our lesson on the questions that ask you, to what extent do you agree or disagree?
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