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IELTS Writing Task 2 Positive or Negative Development essay

In this article, we will be focussing on how to write a positive/negative essay.

Important tips

  • This type of question is asking for your opinion (Do you think…) write about the point of views of you, instead of other people.
  • Go for a one-sided view: just positive or just negative.
  • Before you start writing, plan your ideas so that you can organise the information clearly. You must decide on the positive or negative points and possible examples you can use. Take 2-5 minutes and plan out your ideas and examples.
  •  It is very important that spend a full 40 minutes on this task as the score you get for writing task 2 is two-thirds of your total writing score. You also need to write a minimum of 250 words.
  •  Remember to write in a formal tone, this is an academic essay, therefore your writing should be formal.
  •  The structure may differ depending on the question. Learn more about types here.
  • One of the first things you should do is read the marking criteria to see what the examiners expect.

Use the following tips, structure and phrases as a pattern for writing your perfect IELTS essay.

Paragraph 1 — Introduction

Paraphrase the question

e.g. One of the widely discussed issues nowadays is…

State the problem

e.g. Now people are beginning to realize that…

Say whether you consider it to be positive or negative — 

e.g. Although there are some drawbacks of …, I would argue that there are far more benefits.

or In my opinion, this is a negative development which can lead to

Paragraph 2 — Body paragraph 1

Give the first argument why it’s positive/negative (a one-sided view: just positive or just negative)

e.g. Firstly, it is well known that … 


e.g. What I mean here is that …

or One of the main reasons behind that is …

Give some examples

e.g. A good case in point is …

Paragraph 3 — Body paragraph 2

Give the second argument why it’s positive/negative (a one-sided view: just positive or just negative)

e.g. Secondly, it may lead to …

or Another issue is that …


e.g. That is to say …

Give some examples

e.g. Take for example …

Paragraph 4 — Conclusion

Make a summary of the main points in paragraphs 2 and 3

e.g. In conclusion, taking everything mentioned into account I consider this to be a positive development overall because …

DO NOT write new ideas in the conclusion!


This structure has been approved by IELTS examiners to be one that will allow students to write a clear and cohesive essay. This structure will allow you to focus on generating your ideas and then writing an effective essay.

NB: Remember that the structure of an essay depends on the type of Writing task 2. Learn more about types here.

Don’t forget to use introductory phrases. Learn more about them here. 

Check out Positive/negative development model answers

IELTS Writing Task 2: shopping and entertainment


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