Sentences you should really avoid in IELTS essay writing.

In my post for today I want to go through some phrases which I keep seeing day after day in many of your essay introductions and which you really need to stop writing. These phrases and sentences are considered to be memorised and are not counted by the examiner, and will affect your task response and cohesion/coherence scores. IELTS writing is all about clear, effective communication and rehashing memorised sentences and/or phrases is never a good idea.

Introduction Sentence 1 paraphrase

Let’s begin with the intro sentence, this should just be a simple restatement of the topic, with nothing added or omitted. I have commented on how to paraphrase many times in many videos so will not repeat myself here regarding not using synonyms which are not interchangeable, etc. But here is one intro “type” which is truly pointless.

This is a controversial/debatable issue/topic….etc

The issue of….is often debated….

There has been a lot of controversy regarding the issue of……

Whether the idea of …………… is a boon or a bane is the question, the answer to which is said to be always sparking controversy

And whatever combination of those words you might use. Why? Because almost all IELTS topics are deliberately non-controversial, purposely. A controversial topic is one in which there are strong feelings on either side, such as abortion, or the death penalty for example. However, using this phrase when writing about what subjects should be taught in school, for instance, is not really applicable. Nor is the highly debatable phrase either. Just restate the topic, and if someone thinks something, according to some, blah, blah, blah, whereas others believe, etc, etc, etc. That’s all you need to do.

Sample Answer, using the topic from last week

Creative artists should always be given the freedom to express their own ideas (in words, pictures, music, film) in whichever way they wish. There should be no public or government restrictions on what they do.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

It has been argued that people working in the creative arts ought to be free to express themselves however they wish, whether in words, pictures, music, or in film with no restrictions, either by the state or society.

Or,

The issue of whether creative artists should be free to express themselves is highly debatable and has been the subject of much controversy.

Which do you think is better?…

Sentence 2: thesis/outline sentence.

After this, all you need to do then is to answer the question/s in brief, give your opinion if asked, and give some idea of where the essay is going. What you do not want is to write an “empty” sentence, that is to say, a sentence which reiterates what you have been told to do and adds nothing to the essay. For example, any combination of these.

In this essay I will elaborate my opinion and reasons in the following paragraphs.

In what follows I will discuss both views and give my reasoned opinion.

In order to get a proper insight, it remains to scrutinize the causes of this issue.

In this essay I will substantiate my views with relevant examples and give my opinion.

And whatever combination of the above, I think you get the idea. As you see, they tell the reader nothing except that they intend to answer the question, but not how they will answer, and are therefore a waste of words you could be using to explain something else.

Sample Answer, same topic as above.

It has been argued that people working in the creative arts ought to be free to express themselves however they wish, whether in words, pictures, music, or in film with no restrictions, either by the state or society. In my view, artistic expression is a prerequisite for a free society and will argue that if you don’t like something you are not obliged to read or watch it, and that no one has the right to suppress ideas.

Or,

It has been argued that people working in the creative arts ought to be free to express themselves however they wish, whether in words, pictures, music, or in film with no restrictions, either by the state or society. In this essay I will elaborate my opinion and reasons in the following paragraphs.

So, to put them together, you tell me which the examiner will favour…

It has been argued that people working in the creative arts ought to be free to express themselves however they wish, whether in words, pictures, music, or in film with no restrictions, either by the state or society. In my view, artistic expression is a prerequisite for a free society and will argue that if you don’t like something you are not obliged to read or watch it, and that no one has the right to suppress ideas.

Or,

The issue of whether creative artists should be free to express themselves is highly debatable and has been the subject of much controversy. In this essay I will elaborate my opinion and reasons in the following paragraphs.

There you go, there are more but I just wanted to show you the worst offenders for intro writing as that is what the group focuses on.

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