How to start an agreement essay?

Source: tedielts

In IELTS writing task 2, you could be asked to write an agree or disagree essay, also known as an “agreement essay.” Today, however, I want to show you how to start an agreement essay. This will focus on the first few lines.

You can read my full guide to agree/disagree essays here if you want to learn about the overall structure.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF AN AGREEMENT ESSAY?

First of all, let’s look at what an agreement essay actually is and what you need to do. Here’s an example:

All cars that burn fossil fuels should be banned and electric cars should replace them.

Do you agree or disagree?

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An IELTS agreement essay will typically give you a statement and then a line that says something like:

  • Do you agree or disagree?
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement?
the structure of an ielts agree/disagree question

Your objective is to state whether (or to what extent) you agree or disagree with the idea expressed in the first line of the question. For the above example, you would either:

  1. Completely agree
  2. Partly agree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Partly disagree
  5. Completely disagree

Your essay should explain your position and your view should be clear throughout the entire piece of writing.

Now let’s look at the first lines.

HOW TO START AN AGREEMENT ESSAY

Considering the above, what should you write in the opening lines of your essay?

Generally, an IELTS task 2 introduction should feature 2-4 sentences that clearly tell the reader what the essay is about and what your opinion is. You should write 1-3 sentences that explain the overall idea (basically introducing the topic) and then you should write an outline sentence.

Important: Your opinion must be stated in the introduction. Regardless of whether you agree, disagree, or have no strong opinion either way, you must make this clear to the reader. If you fail to do this, you will not score band 7 or above.

Thus, here is how you should start an agreement essay:

1st sentenceIntroduce the topic
2nd sentence (optional)Further explain the topic
3rd sentencePresent your opinion

You often hear people say that you should paraphrase the question. This is certainly a possible approach, but it presents many problems and often results in terrible first sentences. In fact, it can ruin your whole introduction. You can learn about paraphrasing here.

EXAMPLES OF AGREEMENT ESSAY INTRODUCTIONS

To further explain how you can start an agreement essay, let’s look at some examples.

EXAMPLE #1

Question:

All cars that burn fossil fuels should be banned and electric cars should replace them.

Do you agree or disagree?

Intro to sample band 9 answer:

During the twentieth century, people around the world began using vehicles powered by fossil fuels, and in this new millennium that trend has continued, with a vast uptick in the number of privately owned cars. However, it has become apparent that this phenomenon is causing major environmental damage and needs to be stopped. This essay will argue that humans ought to switch to electric cars.

Instead of paraphrasing the question, I have taken the approach of explaining the wider situation. This is much better! I have used the next sentence to give a more focused introduction, raising the idea of banning traditional cars. Then, I gave my opinion. It is nice and clear and the reader would understand the topic fully before reading the body paragraphs.

EXAMPLE #2

Question:

A person’s worth nowadays seems to be judged according to social status and material possessions. Old-fashioned values, such as honour, kindness and trust, no longer seem important.

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

Intro to sample band 9 answer:

There are numerous ways in which a person can be valued, and these vary widely from culture to culture. They also vary over time, and some people suggest that in the modern era it is more common for people to be judged according to their wealth, rather than personality attributes. This essay will argue that it is probably not true.

Again, you can see that I have avoided blindly paraphrasing the question. Instead, I started with a nice, broad overview of the main idea, then focused it specifically in the next sentence. My opinion is made very clear in the final sentence.

Note: This is a notoriously difficult question and many people struggle with it. I’ve made this video to explain why it is so hard and how people can answer it intelligently.

EXAMPLE #3

Question:

Using a computer every day can have more negative than positive effects on young children.

Do you agree or disagree?

Intro to sample band 9 answer:

Nowadays, it is quite common for children to have access to some kind of computer, and some people argue that this is damaging for their health. This essay will look at both sides of the argument, but ultimately conclude that it is not entirely negative.

This introduction is a little more “standard” in that I have sort of paraphrased the question. Still, it is hard to see that it is paraphrased because it is totally my words and ideas. I have then given my opinion clearly. Note that this may seem like an introduction to a “discuss both views” question but really I just wanted to talk about both sides because I feel that there is no clear-cut answer here. In other words, I’m providing balance because I neither wholly agree nor disagree.  

QUESTION #4

Question:

Some people think that women should not be allowed to work in the police force.

Do you agree or disagree?

Intro to sample band 9 answer:

Traditionally, there were some jobs that could only be done by men. These days, however, it is common to see women doing jobs that they were once forbidden from doing. Some people still hold onto the traditional view in regards the police force, but this essay will argue that women shouldn’t be unfairly restricted.

This goes back to my favoured approach, which is starting with a general statement, then refining it to a more specific point. As always, I have made my opinion very clear in the essay outline sentence. Note that I have avoided personal pronouns by saying “this essay will…” This is a good way to increase the level of formality without making it convoluted.

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