Do the advs outweigh the disadvs? : sample essay (3)…


Ok, another quick essay in response to a student inquiry, this time a “Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?” question type….This was a tricky one, even I couldn’t think of any good arguments, however, that’s often how it goes when you are writing for real. So, as I have mentioned in other posts, the outweigh part of this question means you have to show how and why one side is stronger than the other. Whether you think it is advs or disadvs. I will post the structure below, and then the essay….as always, if you have any questions you can write to me at


Sentence 1: paraphrase question

Sentence 2: thesis: say which outweighs the other

Sentence 3: outline sentence
Paragraph 2: stronger side

Sentence 4: topic Sentence/main idea

Sentence 5: explain/expand on why it is strong

Sentence 6: example

Sentence 7: topic Sentence/main idea

Sentence 8: explain why it is strong

Sentence 9: example
Paragraph 3: weaker side

Sentence 10: topic Sentence

Sentence 11: explain/expand why it is not strong

Sentence 12: example

Sentence 13: summary of main points and restate position

One of the consequences of improved medical care is that people are living longer and life expectancy is increasing. Do you think the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge of experience.

As advances in medical care continue, life expectancy is increasing and more people are living longer than ever before. I believe the disadvantages of this progress clearly outweigh the advantages. As longer lives means an ever expanding population who will need feeding and clothing, and more elderly who will require expensive medical care, in contrast to having more time to spend with their families.

While greater life span sounds like a good idea in practice it will only exacerbate current world problems. The world can barely feed, clothe and house the 7 billion or so people or so on the planet currently. For example, the WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates that if world population rises by more than 10% of the current rate per annum, then severe food and water shortages will occur in the worlds poorest regions. Also, just because life spans are longer this does not mean that extended life is a happy one. Many elderly people suffer from serious age related health complaints such as arthritis, diabetes, lung disease, etc. For example, a recent survey by the UN (United Nations) shows that people aged 80 and above account for up to 70% of many developed nations expenditure on medical care.

In contrast, living longer may give people more time to do the things they want to do after retirement, such as spending time with their families, etc. However, as mentioned above this is only if the elderly have sufficient resources and the good health to enjoy this extended life span. For example, as WHO figures show, in the UK (and other Western countries) the average state pension is often below the rate of inflation making it difficult for old people to have a comfortable existence in their retirement. When this is taken into account with failing health it is difficult to argue that living longer has any real benefits.

In conclusion, although the average life span is becoming longer than ever before, I believe that the pressure of an increasing struggle for resources that an expanding population can bring, coupled with a serious decline in the quality of life for the elderly, clearly outweighs any possible benefit longer life can bring.

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