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Paperback June 2021
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Cambridge Assessment English: B2 First | IELTS | TOEIC | TOEFL WT8 Writing a discussion essay
Many essays that you have to write, whether during your school or college course or in an examination, will require you to present a reasoned argument on a particular issue. Tis will often be based on your research into the topic, but some questions may ask you to give your opinion. In both cases your argument must be clearly organized and supported with information, evidence and reasons. Te language tends to be formal and impersonal.
1 Sentences 1 and 2 introduce the topic.
The third sentence states the focus of the essay.
2 Sentence 2 introduces the first point (manned missions are not cost- effective).
This is supported by a quote from an expert to give authority.
3 Reasons and data are given to support the writer’s point of view.
4 Introduces the second point (unmanned projects are more scientifically productive).
5 Presents the counterargument.
IELTS | TOEIC | TOEFL | Cambridge Assessment English: C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency, Business Certificates | Trinity GESE ST2 Talking about a topic
In some exams, you are asked to talk for a short time about a topic that you are given during the test. You may have a few minutes to prepare it and to make a few notes. You could be asked to choose something that is the most important, best, most useful, etc. of its kind, and you have to describe it and explain why you have chosen it.
Describe a place that you sometimes visit which is very important to you. You should say:
• where it is, how often and why you go there. • what it is like. • why it is so important to you.
explaining where, when and why
One place that is very important in my life is my grandmother’s house. She lives in a small village in the south of the country. I go there every summer, and any time when I can get away for a few days. I go there to visit my grandmother, get away from the city and relax.
describing the appearance and sounds of the place
explaining why the place is important
Te village is just a group of white houses on a hillside with a couple of shops, and it’s really peaceful. Tere’s no traffic, just the sound of goat bells, birds and insects.
One reason why I like it is because it’s a beautifulbt place. My grandmother has a lovely garden and we always sit outside in the shade of her olive trees, drinking sweet tea and chatting. It’s on why this place is so important kind to me, and wonderful
so peaceful. Bt emain r But the main reason to me is my grandmother. She is so ki d de
to talk to. Whenever I have a problem in my life, she has some good advice for me. Also, she’s a great cook and the meals she prepares are simple but sofh mean tas y
fresh d rich? No, no, I and…—rich? No, no, I
them?—small plates of food during the day, so I always return home feeling
justifying a choice her
ty. And she’s always giving me eh… What do you call calm and fsrefreshed—and fat!
I wouldn’t like to live there, though. I prefer living in the city, definitely. I’m a city person. I couldn’t live in a small village where everybody knows each other and nothing happens. ’dI’d rathe li
live in a busy, exciting place. But I really love visiting the village for holidays.
g to think to write
Ways of explaining and giving your reaso Ways of c
Ways of describing someth g explaining and g
describing something easons correcting yourself or finding alternative ways of expressing something Ways of expressing your preferences essing someth g Do
• think of a different way of expressing your idea if you’ve forgotten a word.
d) Print – Speaking Tutor
• correct yourself if you make a mistake, and continue.
• make eye contact with the examiner.
he d speech.
MAKING YOUR TALK MORE INTERESTING
To give more emphasis to a point, you can use adverbs:
I’d prefer to live in the city, definitely.y I really love visiting the village. You can also turn the sentence around:
I like it because it’s simple. ➔ One reason I like it is because it’s simple. I like the price. ➔ What I like about it is the price.
It’s special because it was a gift. ➔ The reason it’s special is that it was a gift.
I particularly liked the food. ➔ One thing I particularly liked was the food.
Try to vary the vocabulary you use. For example, choose descriptive adjectives, not just ‘nice’, ‘good’ or ‘interesting’. (Look at the blue highlights in the sample answer on p. ST2.)
ys oat bells,
d mpts, for Speaking at CEFR level B2
descriptions on subjects related to his/her field of interest. abulary and can vary formulation to avoid frequent
and paraphrase to cover gaps in vocabulary and structure. B2 B2
ors if he/she becomes conscious of them. EXPRESS YOURSELF
rases by F notes
Explaining and giving reasons We went there to see the sunset. I couldn’t sleep because of the heat.
One reason why I like spring is the sound of birds singing.
Expressing preferences I prefer living in a city to living in the country.
I’d prefer to arrive early rather than risk being late. I’d rather take the train than drive.
r I like olive oil better than butter.
I think giving presents is better than receiving them.
Correcting yourself Thanks, the soup was very rich—no sorry, I mean tasty.
I think he comes from England—or rather, ther UK.
She’s very thin—or perhaps I should say slim.
e) Print – Writing Tutor
Linking words and phrases k ds and phrases guide
the reader through the argument and show the writer’s opinion.
Adverbscan be used to modify your opinion.
These phrases make the hese phrases
argument less personal and more objective.
Experts are quoted to support the argument.
Some may argue suggests that the writer will go on to argue against this position.
However in the second r
sentence introduces the argument against.
6 Summarizes the writer’s points and states his/ her conclusion on the title. Thus introduces the conclusion. I would argue that clearly shows the writer’s position.
t 5 4 3 2 1
‘Manned space missions should now be replaced with unmanned missions.’ Discuss.
It is clear that the study of space and the planets is by nature expensive. Scientists and politicians must constantly attempt to balance costs with potential research benefits.A major question to be considered is whether the benefits of manned space flight are worth the costs.
For Nobel Prize-winning phl Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg the n W
answer is clear. As he noted in 2007 in a lecture at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, ‘Human beings don’t serve any useful function in space. Tey radiate heat, they’re very expensive to keep alive, and unlike robotic missions, they have a natural desire to come back, so that anything involving human beings is enormously expensive.’ Unmanned missions are much less expensive than manned, having no requirement for airtight compartments, food or life support systems. Tey are also lighter and therefore require ccording to NASA, the 1992
less fuel and launch equipment. Accor
he question, (unless in you think
s? Decide e.
each side, ideas or ns you rpersonal
ur essay to se. abulary on
manned Space Shuttle Endeavor cost $1.7 billion to build and required approximately $450 million for each launch. In contrast, the entire unmanned Voyager mission from 1972 until 1989, when it observed Neptune, cost only $865 million. In addition to their relative cost-effectiveness, unmanned generally yield a much greater volume of data. While manned flights have yet to extend beyond the orbit of Earth’s moon, unmanned missions have explored almost our entire solar system, and have observed an Earth-like planet in a nearby solar system. Manned missions would neit Structure 2 so far, be away so long, nor collect so much data while at the same time guaranteeing the astronauts’ safe return.
projectsgnerally or and against. her be able to travel Some may argue that only manned space flight possesses the 6
ability to inspire and engage the general population, providing much-needed momentum for continued governmental funding and educational interest in mathematics and the sciences. However, media coverage of projects such as the Mars Rover, the Titan moon lander, and the Hubble telescope’s photographs of extrasolar planets demonstrates that unmanned missions clearly have the ability to attract and hold public interest. Tus, taking into account the lower cost, the greater quantity of data and widespread popular support, I would argue that for now, at least, unmanned space missions doubtedlyundoubt most value in terms of public spending.
would ar TIPS
question wer it.
convey the e evidence, ons to
d ases to
make the structure of your essay clear to your readers.
• For language to help you structure your argument, look at the notes at the entries for ‘addition’ and ‘first’.
ce, examples nce, examples
Structure 1 (used in the model essay) orting
Showing your position
When you write a discussion essay, you can show what your opinion is on the issue or question without using personal phrases such as I think… or In my opinion,…. You can do this by choosing words carefully as you write. Some examples are given below. Look out for more in your reading.
Adjectives important, major, serious, significant
e.g. Animportantpoint to consider is…; This was a highly significant discovery.
Patterns with It + adjective clear, likely, possible, surprising, evident e.g. It is clear that the study of space is expensive.
important, difficult, necessary, possible, interesting
e.g. It is important to consider the practical effects of these measures.
Adverbs clearly, indeed, in fact, of course generally, usually, mainly, widely perhaps, probably, certainly, possibly rarely, sometimes, often
e.g. Clearly, this is a serious issue that deserves further study. This book is generally held to be her greatest novel.
These help show how certain you are about a point or an argument.
Modal verbs: can, could; may, might; will, would (the first of each pair is most certain)
Compare: I argue that… (very certain) / I would argue that… (not so certain)
It + verb: It appears that, It seems that…
It + passive verb: It can be seen that…; It should/must be noted/emphasized that…
Showing verbs: show, indicate, demonstrate, suggest, imply The results/findings show/indicate…
Arguing verbs: argue, suggest, consider, conclude I would argue/suggest that …
Linking words and phrases Firstly (= I have several points to make)e
Furthermore… In addition,… Moreover,… (= I have another important point) However,… (to introduce a counterargument) Thus,… Therefore,… (to introduce a conclusion)
Writing a discussion essay
Writing a discussion essay
Talking about a topic
Talking about a topic
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