How to Answer Agree Disagree Question in IELTS Writing Task

The first step to writing a good essay in the IELTS writing task 2 is to identify the type of question. The...

Avatar Written by Vaibhavi Karad · 7 min read >

How to Answer Agree Disagree Question in IELTS Writing Task

Avatar Written by Vaibhavi Karad · 7 min read >

The first step to writing a good essay in the IELTS writing task 2 is to identify the type of question. The questions asked in this task can be divided into seven types. They are:

1. agree/disagree

2. discuss two opinions

3. advantages and disadvantages

4. causes (reasons) and solutions

5. cause (reasons) and effects

6. problems and solutions, and

7. compare and contrast

In this article, we will discuss and understand how to write an ‘agree disagree’ type of essay. Let’s first understand what this type of question looks like.

What does the question look like?

In the writing task 2 of the IELTS you might be asked a question like the following:

In some countries the number of people suffering from health problems because of excess consumption of junk food, is increasing. It has therefore become imperative for governments to impose a higher tax on this kind of food.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

For such a question, you need to be clear about whether you agree or disagree to the given statement. Your opinion should come out clearly with the usage of right kind of words.

Structure of the essay: 

The structure of the essay is divided into three parts: Introduction, body and conclusion.

How to write the introduction

Your stance on the statement has to come out in the introduction paragraph itself. Your introduction paragraph has to always start with a paraphrased version of the statement given in the question. This has to be done irrespective of the type of question. The structure of your introduction for the agree/disagree type of questions should be like this

a. statement 1- paraphased statement of the question

b. statement 2- clarify your stance on the statement

c. statement 3 and 4 – support the stance in just two sentences. Remember not to write a lot here as you would need logical points in the body of the essay as well.

Look at these two statements taken from answers written by students:

Question:

In some countries the number of people suffering from health problems because of excess consumption of junk food, is increasing. It has therefore become imperative for governments to impose a higher tax on this kind of food.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Introduction:

Sentence 1: The number of people facing health issues due to intake of junk food has increased in some countries.

Sentence 2: Many people think that levying taxes on such consumables will control the consumption rate of such eatables.

Sentence 3 and 4 :  This essay agrees with this notion and supports the belief that the government should impose a high tax on these consumables for curbing the issue. It wil do so by bringing out certain arguments and supoorting it with relevant examples adnd data

Let us look at a sample introduction written by two students. Gauge which introduction is better.

Introduction 1: In my opinion, a country and its government is responsible for the well being of its citizens. 

or

Introduction 2: I disagree with this statement but also feel that government and the citizens are both responsible for changing the unhealthy lifestyles. 

It is the first statement which makes the writer’s agreement come out clearly. As you can see, it is therfore necessary to use the right kind of words when making a stance.

Now that we have seen how to structure the introduction of the agree/disagree essay let us also understand what to write in its body paragraph.

How to choose content for the main body

In this part of your essay, you need to lay emphasis on your stance. Giving strong arguments supported with examples will make your stance and your essay stronger.

Look at this statement from a sample answer to understand better.

In some countries the number of people suffering from health problems because of excess consumption of junk food, is increasing. It has therefore become imperative for governments to impose a higher tax on this kind of food.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Main body: 

Firstly, I believe that the number of people consuming junk food has increased because of its easy and quick availability. In a recent survey, it was revealed that 78% of the poople residing in urban areas opt for junk food because of time constraints. 

This is an argument well and clearly structured because it not only makes the disagreement clear but it also validates the same with a strong example.

So, your body paragraph needs to have the following structure.

1. statement 1- emphasize your agree/disagreement with a reason

2. statement 2 and more – give relevant examples

This structure is followed in both the body paragraphs. The body paragraph is followed by the concluding paragraph. So, let’s see how to do that too.

How to conclude?

It is here that your argument needs to be the most clear. Look at the example statement below:

In some countries the number of people suffering from health problems because of excess consumption of junk food, is increasing. It has therefore become imperative for governments to impose a higher tax on this kind of food.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Conclusion: 

In conclusion, I would like to say that if the citizens themselves are not vigilant about their health, the government or anyone else will not be able to help or stop them from consuming junk food. it is therefore a person’s own responsibility to consume junk food in a limited quantity.

In this statement, the writer has laid emphasis on the disagreement and has ended by providing a possible solution to the issue at hand. On the basis of this, we can say that the structure of the conclusion can be as follows:

1. statement 1- emphasizing statement on the agreement/disagreement

2. statement 2- a possible solution to the problem or argument

Importance of usage of right vocabulary: 

Even though you might have structured your essay the right way, you are likely to get a lower band than expected if your vocabulary is not appropriate. Let us now have a look at the vocabulary for an agree/disagree essay too.

Useful vocabulary for agree disagree questions 

A. For stating your point of view

  1. In my opinion.

Example question:

Currently there is a developing trend towards usage of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous.
To what extent  do you agree with statement?

Answer:

Alternative medicine is not new. It is accepted that it pre-dates conventional medicine and it is still used by many people all over the world. I disagree that it is dangerous, and feel that both alternative and conventional medicine can be useful.

  1. The way I see it…

Example question:

Some people prefer to live in a house, while others think that there are more advantages living in an apartment.

Do you agree or disagree that living in a house is more comfortable than living in an apartment. Give reasons for your answer

Answer:

The way I see it, It is more important to consider all factors like the size of the family and the income of the earning members of the family, before deciding what would be an ideal living place for a family.

 

  1. If you ask me…

Example question:

The best way to solve the world’s environmental problems is to increase the cost of fuel. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

 

Answer:

If you ask me, I would say that the production of vehicles needs to be controlled too. If this is executed along with increasing the cost price of fuel, I believe that it would be more effective than just one of them being executed.

  1. I believe that…

Example question:refer to previous example

 

  1. I am of the opinion that…

Example question:

Modern lifestyles mean that many parents have little time for their children. Many children do not get as much attention from their parents as children did in the past. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Answer:

I am of the opinion that,  children need as much attention and care as possible.

 

B. For agreeing

  1. I agree

Example question:

Do you agree with the following statement?  Using  printed material such as books and articles for research work is better than using the internet. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Answer:

When students do research for their class assignments they use both printed and online sources and both types have distinct advantages and disadvantages.  However, I agree that it is better to use printed materials rather than Internet-based resources.  I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

 

  1. There is no doubt about it that…

Example question:

The only way to cut the crime rate is build more prisons and make prison sentences longer. To what extent do you agree or disagree this opinion?

Answer:

There is no doubt about it that the crime rates especially in the cities and urban areas has increased to almost triple of what it was a few years back.

  1. I accept the fact that…..

Example question:

Tobacco and alcohol are drugs that cause addiction and health problems. Should they be made illegal? Or should all drugs be legalized?

Answer:

I accept the fact that the rate of consumption of tobacco and alcohol has increased. This is owing to the fact that these are so easily available.

Essay exercise: 

A. Objective: learning to write the introductary paragraph.
Directions: Write the introduction paragraph for the following questions. 
 
1. A lot of people are are of the belief that the government is responsible for allowing the pollution level to reach at a level that it is now uncontrollable. Do you agree to this view?
2. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. A lot of people do not agree to this and believe that beauty is very important for being accepted ot successful in today’s world. What is your opinion on this?
 
B. Objective: learning to write the body paragraph
Directions: Write the body paragraph for the following questions
1. Home schooling proves to be a cheaper and better alternative than school and univeristy education. Do you believe so too?
2. The best trips are the ones which are unplanned. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
 
C. Obective: learning to write the conclusion
Directions: Write the concluding paragraph for the following questions.
1. A person needs to have at least two vacations a year in order to be rerfreshed. Do you think a person should take a break from work and routine life once in while?
2. Many people believe that writing with a pencil eliminates the chances of error almost completely whereas some believe that writing with a pen makes one more vigilant and the chanves of error are less. What are your views on the same?
 

Vocabulary Exercise:

A. Objective: learning to use appropriate phrase to agree/disagree

Directions: Fill in the gaps in the following sentences with a suitable agree/disagree phrase from the options given in the box.

there is no doubt that      I believe that       the way I see it      I strongly agree  

I am of the opinion that    If you ask me

  1. First of all ,_______ job satisfaction gives people a sense of fulfillment that no money can guarantee.

  2. To conclude,  ______________ job satisfaction is more beneficial than high salary because it makes people happy and motivated.

  3. _________ , there is now convincing evidence that group activities improve the intelligence of individuals.

  4. _____________ with the notion that group activities improve intellectual abilities.

  5. ______________ parents and teachers are equally responsible for making sure that the child is exposed to the right kind of information and media.

  6. ______________ , the real problem is the way that the media has handled this.

 

B. Objective: learning to state a point of view

Directions : Use  the phrases learnt ‘For stating your point of view’ to answer the following questions:

  1. The best way to ensure peace is through military strength.

  2. It is the duty of doctors to keep people alive for as long as possible.

  3. Euthanasia (mercy killing) should be made legal all over the world.

C. Objective: learning to agree to a statement or argument

Directions: use the phrases learnt ‘For agreeing’ to agree with the following questions:

  1. Personality is more important than beauty.

  2. Violence is necessary sometimes.

  3. Possession of drugs should require jail time.

Answer key:

Vocabulary exercise

A.

1.I am of the opinion that

2. there is no doubt that

3. I believe that

4. I strongly agree

5. The way i see it

6. If you ask me

B. Answer will vary

C. Answer will vary

 

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