How to Achieve Task from Body Paragraph

In any IELTS essay, the main body paragraphs must be carefully organised. The classic pattern is to have a topic sentence which signposts the content of that paragraph followed by two or three ideas in each paragraph. If you have more than three ideas in each paragraph, you will probably not be able to finish the essay in forty minutes. This applies to all types of essay, Opinion, Discussion, and Two-parts (mixed) types.

On the one hand, those who support taxation of fossil fuels promote the idea that higher prices will lead to lower consumption and thus lower emissions. They point to evidence from countries such as Sweden where this appears to be the case, and urge other nations to follow suit.

Notice how the ideas are presented: the writer uses a conjunction to introduce each idea (eg On the one hand or Moreover) and then states the idea, followed by a simple example and/or an explanation of the idea. Each idea is generally presented and/or exampled/ explained in two or three sentences.

Some people support the idea of imposing taxes on fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) in order to reduce energy consumption. Others disagree with this approach. Consider the debate and its arguments, and come to your own conclusion.  

On the one hand (Conjunction to introduce topic sentence), those who support taxation of fossil fuels promote the idea that higher prices will lead to lower consumption and thus lower emissions (topic sentence). They point to evidence from countries such as Sweden where this appears to be the case, and urge other nations to follow suit (evidencing/example). Furthermore, proponents of fuel taxes claim that the funds raised can then be used to subsidies renewable energy projects such as solar and localized biofuel reactors. To the supporters of the idea, these benefits are convincing. (Concluding the topic sentence)  

However, opponents of fuel tax are able to cite evidence from other countries (including France and Italy) where higher tax has apparently not reduced demand for such fuels. In these cases, the effect has been to force people to pay more for the same volume of energy, which appears to penalize those who can least afford it. Moreover, critics of fuel tax also highlight the difficulty in governments promising renewable schemes without interfering in the entire energy market. If the state was to control the entire market for fuels, they say, this would force suppliers to leave the market, thus reducing competition and efficiency. This argument also appears to be quite powerful.

When you are writing your main body paragraphs, try to organize them like this. Have two or three ideas, each idea being presented and/or exampled/explained in two or three sentences. Remember to use conjunctions to introduce the topic sentence.

For Opinion Essay:-

Let’s consider this band 9 sample essay from Cambridge consultant.

It is often said that retirement is the happiest time of a person’s life. How far do you agree with this view?
In many countries, the population is ageing consistently, and this presents the older people themselves with challenges as well as opportunities. It seems to me that retirement is not in fact the most contented period of life, and I will explain why in this essay.  

Firstly, retired people have to contend with the major issue of health. No matter how optimistic a person is, and how conscientiously they try to keep fit, their health will inevitably decline as they grow older. This affects their mobility, their ability to interact with people, and their physical comfort when compared to the earlier stages of their life. A second negative factor is the whole question of finance. By this we mean that even people who have saved or invested carefully during their working lives will find their income in retirement reduced considerably, for example by relying on savings. This results in their leisure options being more restricted than in their younger years, even though they have more time to fill. This leads us on to the final, and perhaps most significant drawback to retirement, which is isolation. This happens when declining health and limited resources make people increasingly cut-off, even if they have surviving family members who seek to care for them. However much the family (or neighbours and social services) may offer support, this lack of contact will lead progressively to a less contented frame of mind.    

It is true that there are some positives to retirement, most notably the time to pursue personal interests and the presence of grandchildren in many cases. Despite this, it seems that for many older people, these pleasures are outweighed by issues which can cause stress and depression.  

To conclude, the problems of health, financial concerns and isolation combine together to make retirement a challenging and potentially difficult time for many, especially when compared to the prime period of life. This is not to say that all retired people suffer in this way, but it appears to be the case very frequently.

Notice the third paragraph in the above essay.

After the large paragraph, there is then a smaller paragraph which describes the opposing point of view, and then rejects it. This smaller paragraph is called a concession. It is important to make concessions in Academic English, because without this the essay would be too unbalanced and one-sided.

Some useful Phrases for concession:-

Admittedly . . .It might be said that . . .I accept that . . .While it may be correct that . . .
Nevertheless . . .However . . .In spite of this . . .It still appears to be the case, however, that . . .

For Discussion Essay

Explain one side of the argument in your 1st body paragraph and the another in your 2nd. Use the standard paragraph structure i.e. a topic sentence which signposts the content of that paragraph (1st side of the argument) followed by two or three supporting ideas in each paragraph.

When you are discussing different sides of an argument, it is a good idea to imagine how the supporters of one side would justify their views. In your essays, try to use this type of ‘reporting’ method at least once in your each body.

Following language may be handy for this:-

On the one hand, those who support taxation of fossil fuels promote the idea that . . .
Moreover, critics of fuel tax also highlight the dif iculty . . .
Furthermore, proponents of fuel taxes claim that . . .
However, opponents of fuel tax are able to cite evidence . . .

By reporting other people’s opinions in this way, your essay will be more interesting and the examiner will feel that you are able to balance arguments(do not overdo one side of the argument when it says you to discuss both side) well.

Some more useful phrases to report views are:-

Supporters of/ Proponents of/ Those who support xOpponents of/ Critics of/ Those who oppose xSupporters etc cite/refer to/highlight/point to xSupporters etc claim that/ say that/ insist that x is correctSupporters etc deny that/ reject that/ do not accept that x is correct

For Two-parts (Mixed) Essay:-

Use the standard paragraph structure i.e. a topic sentence which signposts the content of that paragraph (1st side of the argument) followed by two or three supporting ideas in each paragraph.

When presenting possible solutions/causes, it is traditional in Academic English to use the third conditional structure (If + simple past + would + verb). When presenting solutions or recommendations, try to use third conditional structure.

Notice the bold letters that denote how conditionals are used.

Turning to possible solutions, an obvious step would be to restore some element of state funding to courses. Although public budgets are under pressure these days, if we took this step it would greatly enhance access to courses for people on lower incomes. A second remedy might be for the Universities to offer shorter courses, or more courses with an element of professionally paid work experience included. If such courses were more available, it would reduce the issue of living expenses to some extent. Finally, students themselves should perhaps be more flexible in their attitude to education, and consider attending University at a later stage, or possibly only when they have accumulated sufficient funds to support themselves.

Use tentative language for two parts, especially solutions or recommendations.

‘Tentative’ means that you say that something might be true, or might happen, rather than saying that something is always true or always happens. This is important in Academic English because it shows you understand that situations are complex and there tend to be exceptions rather than 100% certainty in life. To achieve this we use modal verbs. Modal verb is discussed in details in Focus on grammatical range and accuracy.

Turning to possible solutions, an obvious step would be to restore some element of state funding to courses. Although public budgets are under pressure these days, if we took this step it would greatly enhance access to courses for people on lower incomes. A second remedy might be for the Universities to offer shorter courses, or more courses with an element of professionally paid work experience included. If such courses were more available, it would reduce the issue of living expenses to some extent. Finally, students themselves should perhaps be more flexible in their attitude to education, and consider attending University at a later stage, or possibly only when they have accumulated sufficient funds to support themselves.

This essay says: If we took this step it would greatly enhance . . . If such courses were more available, it would reduce . . . This shows that the writer understands that she is discussing a hypothetical situation…

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