English Writing Exercises for B2 – Essay: for and against

Preparation

Writing Strategy

When you write an essay, you need to ensure that it has a clear structure.

Paragraph 1: introduction (stating the issue)

Paragraph 2: arguments for the statement

Paragraph 3: arguments against the statement

Paragraph 4: summary, your own opinion

1. Read the Writing Strategy and the task below. What ideas do you expect to see in the essay?

‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’ Write an essay in which you offer arguments for and against discussing your personal problems with a friend.

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2. Look at the phrases below. Find five more phrases for introducing arguments in the essay.

Introducing one side of the argument

1 ___________

It can be argued that ___

2 ___________

On the one hand, ___

3 ___________

Furthermore, / Moreover, ___

Introducing the other side of the argument

However, ___

On the other hand, ___

4 ___________

Having said that, ___ / That said, ___

And yet, ___

5 ___________

6 ___________


When people say that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved,’ they mean that it is good to talk about your issues with someone else. While this may be true, there can also be disadvantages to looking for help in this way.

The first advantage of talking to a friend about a personal problem is that you will gain sympathy and support from someone who cares about you. No one can deny that it is very helpful to have someone who listens to you and shows concern. Even if your friend can’t offer practical advice, it will still make you feel better. It is also true that talking through a problem can help you come to a solution yourself.

So are there any disadvantages in confiding in friends in this way? Although it is true that it is helpful to share your problems with a friend, we should also remember that it is not a good idea to talk about your personal problems to everybody, or it can easily become gossip. It is important to pick one good friend that you can trust to keep your problem to themselves. Moreover, not everybody is kind, so you can end up feeling worse, unless you choose your friend wisely.

To sum up, talking about your problems to a friend is a very beneficial thing to do, provided that you pick the right person. A good friend is one you can trust.

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1 The first advantage ___

2 No one can deny that ___

It is also true that ___

4 While this may be true ___

5 Although it is true that ___

6 ___ , we should also remember that ___

3. Write the second sentence so that it has the same meaning as the first. Use the words in brackets.

1 I’ll do the dishes if you clean the kitchen. (provided that)

  ________

2 Despite the fact that he seems nice, I still don’t trust him. (even though)

  ________

3 Always try everything, despite the possibility it might not work out. (even if)

  ________

4 He’ll fix your bike if you lend it to him on Saturday. (on condition that)

  ________

5 If I study all week, I’ll pass the exam. (provided that)

  ________

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1 I’ll do the dishes provided that you clean the kitchen.

2 Even though he seems nice, I still don’t trust him.

3 Always try everything, even if it might not work out.

4 He’ll fix your bike on condition that you lend it to him on Saturday.

5 Provided that I study all week, I’ll pass the exam.

Writing Guide

‘You should always paddle your own canoe.’ Write an essay in which you offer arguments for and against being totally independent, not asking for help and only relying on yourself.

4. Read the task and make notes.

Advantages ________.

Disadvantages ________

5. Write your essay.

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Extra exercises

Strategy

Always start by planning your arguments. Write down three or four ideas for and three or four against the topic. Choose the best two arguments for each side of the issue, and develop them by adding a comment or providing an example.

1. Read the Strategy and look at the arguments below against sharing a flat with a sibling. Develop the arguments. Use the questions to help you.

1 It may mean no privacy for both of you.

     Will you be able to keep your ‘private life’ away from your sibling? What might they report back to your parents?

It will lead to arguments over household chores.

 Why will it be difficult to share out the chores? How might this affect your relationship?

There may be pressure to hang out constantly.

  Why will it be difficult to have space for yourself?

      What might your sibling think if you refuse to go out with him/her one evening?

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2. Read the task below and write your essay.

Some parents have access to their teenage children’s accounts on social media and control their online activities. Write an essay in which you discuss arguments for and against the attitude of these parents.