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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of the history of a house or building and why people are interested in researching this from Cambridge IELTS 16.

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Dave

IELTS Cambridge 16 Essay: History of a House or Building

In many countries, increasing numbers of people are becoming interested in learning about the history of the house or building where they live.

What are the reasons behind this?

How can individuals research this?

There is a growing trend whereby residents are researching the history of their homes. In my opinion, this is due to a natural curiosity and practical concerns and should be done through official channels.

Many are interested in the past of their home because they desire to link with history and are worried about potential structural faults. The first reason is analogous to exhaustively studying family genealogy. By researching one’s ancestors or place of residence, it is possible to understand and establish a connection with the past. Moreover, there is a pragmatic reason related to historical, construction methods. Older homes in particular may have employed unsafe techniques or materials that will degrade, creating the risk of structural damage and, in the worst cases, collapses. By learning about the house and period when it was built, residents can take the necessary steps to ensure the house is structurally sound.

The method for carrying out such specialized research involves requesting local records. It is possible to do initial research through “word of mouth” and collecting relevant stories in a community. However, this information may be unreliable, and therefore an individual should endeavor to contact their local building authorities. In most countries, it is possible to register a freedom of information request and receive the required documents from municipal offices. Governments have little incentive to protect such information and are likely to be receptive and helpful in offering assistance. Residents can then be assured they have the most trustworthy information possible in order to better understand the history of their home and any possible defects in its construction.

To conclude, some today gather information concerning the history of their home to understand the past and guarantee their safety. This development is advisable and the authorities should comply and encourage such fact-finding.

Analysis

1. There is a growing trend whereby residents are researching the history of their homes. 2. In my opinion, this is due to a natural curiosity and practical concerns and should be done through official channels.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Many are interested in the past of their home because they desire to link with history and are worried about potential structural faults. 2. The first reason is analogous to exhaustively studying family genealogy. 3. By researching one’s ancestors or place of residence, it is possible to understand and establish a connection with the past. 4. Moreover, there is a pragmatic reason related to historical construction methods. 5. Older homes in particular may have employed unsafe techniques or materials that will degrade, creating the risk of structural damage and, in the worst cases, collapses. 6. By learning about the house and period when it was built, residents can take the necessary steps to ensure the house is structurally sound.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific examples/argument.
  4. Vary long and short sentences and switch to a second reason.
  5. Stay focused on the second main idea.
  6. Finish with a strong statement.

1. The method for carrying out such specialized research involves requesting local records. 2. It is possible to do initial research through “word of mouth” and collecting relevant stories in a community. 3. However, this information may be unreliable, and therefore an individual should endeavor to contact their local building authorities. 4. In most countries, it is possible to register a freedom of information request and receive the required documents from municipal offices. 5. Governments have little incentive to protect such information and are likely to be receptive and helpful in offering assistance. 6. Residents can then be assured they have the most trustworthy information possible in order to better understand the history of their home and any possible defects in its construction.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Continue developing it…
  5. as fully as possible!
  6. Relate it back to the main essay topic.

1. To conclude, some today gather information concerning the history of their home to understand the past and guarantee their safety. 2. This development is advisable and the authorities should comply and encourage such fact-finding.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

There is a growing trend whereby residents are researching the history of their homes. In my opinion, this is due to a natural curiosity and practical concerns and should be done through official channels.

Many are interested in the past of their home because they desire to link with history and are worried about potential structural faults. The first reason is analogous to exhaustively studying family genealogy. By researching one’s ancestors or place of residence, it is possible to understand and establish a connection with the past. Moreover, there is a pragmatic reason related to historical construction methods. Older homes in particular may have employed unsafe techniques or materials that will degrade, creating the risk of structural damage and, in the worst cases, collapses. By learning about the house and period when it was built, residents can take the necessary steps to ensure the house is structurally sound.

The method for carrying out such specialized research involves requesting local records. It is possible to do initial research through “word of mouth” and collecting relevant stories in a community. However, this information may be unreliable, and therefore an individual should endeavor to contact their local building authorities. In most countries, it is possible to register a freedom of information request and receive the required documents from municipal offices. Governments have little incentive to protect such information and are likely to be receptive and helpful in offering assistance. Residents can then be assured they have the most trustworthy information possible in order to better understand the history of their home and any possible defects in its construction.

To conclude, some today gather information concerning the history of their home to understand the past and guarantee their safety. This development is advisable and the authorities should comply and encourage such fact-finding.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

growing trend increasingly common

whereby in which

residents people who live there

researching learning about

history past

due to because of

natural curiosity normal desire

practical concerns pragmatic worries

official channels through the government

desire want

link connection

worried about concerned about

potential structural faults possible weaknesses in a house or building

analogous same situation

exhaustively completely

genealogy history of a family

ancestors people from the past

place of residence where they live

understand recognize

establish create/find

connection link

pragmatic reason useful cause

related to concerning

construction methods how it was built

employed unsafe techniques use ways that are dangerous

materials substances

risk threat

structural damage weakness in the building itself

in the worst cases in extreme scenarios

collapses falls in on itself

period time

take the necessary steps do the needed actions

ensure make sure

structurally sound not weak in any way

method way

carrying out conducting

specialized research very specific research

requesting local records asking for files

initial first

“word of mouth” what people say

collecting finding

community neighborhood

unreliable untrustworthy

endeavor try

contact talk to

authorities those in charge

possible feasible

register submit

freedom of information request asking to find out something that is public record

receive get

required documents needed files

municipal offices government buildings

little incentive no reason

protect safeguard

receptive welcoming

offering assistance helping

assured can be sure of

trustworthy information reliable data

possible potential

defects weaknesses

gather information concerning find information about

development change

advisable good

comply work with to help

encourage motivate

fact-finding looking for information

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈgrəʊɪŋ trɛnd 
weəˈbaɪ 
ˈrɛzɪdənts 
rɪˈsɜːʧɪŋ 
ˈhɪstəri 
djuː tuː 
ˈnæʧrəl ˌkjʊərɪˈɒsɪti 
ˈpræktɪkəl kənˈsɜːnz 
əˈfɪʃəl ˈʧænlz
dɪˈzaɪə 
lɪŋk 
ˈwʌrid əˈbaʊt 
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl ˈstrʌkʧərəl fɔːlts
əˈnæləgəs 
ɪgˈzɔːstɪvli 
ˌʤiːnɪˈæləʤi
ˈænsɪstəz 
pleɪs ɒv ˈrɛzɪdəns
ˌʌndəˈstænd 
ɪsˈtæblɪʃ 
kəˈnɛkʃən 
prægˈmætɪk ˈriːzn 
rɪˈleɪtɪd tuː 
kənˈstrʌkʃən ˈmɛθədz
ɪmˈplɔɪd ʌnˈseɪf tɛkˈniːks 
məˈtɪərɪəlz 
rɪsk 
ˈstrʌkʧərəl ˈdæmɪʤ
ɪn ðə wɜːst ˈkeɪsɪz
kəˈlæpsɪz
ˈpɪərɪəd 
teɪk ðə ˈnɛsɪsəri stɛps 
ɪnˈʃʊə 
ˈstrʌkʧərəli saʊnd
ˈmɛθəd 
ˈkæriɪŋ aʊt 
ˈspɛʃəlaɪzd rɪˈsɜːʧ 
rɪˈkwɛstɪŋ ˈləʊkəl ˈrɛkɔːdz
ɪˈnɪʃəl 
wɜːd ɒv maʊθ
kəˈlɛktɪŋ 
kəˈmjuːnɪti
ˌʌnrɪˈlaɪəbl
ɪnˈdɛvə 
ˈkɒntækt 
ɔːˈθɒrɪtiz
ˈpɒsəbl 
ˈrɛʤɪstə 
ˈfriːdəm ɒv ˌɪnfəˈmeɪʃən rɪˈkwɛst 
rɪˈsiːv 
rɪˈkwaɪəd ˈdɒkjʊmənts 
mju(ː)ˈnɪsɪpəl ˈɒfɪsɪz
ˈlɪtl ɪnˈsɛntɪv 
prəˈtɛkt 
rɪˈsɛptɪv 
ˈɒfərɪŋ əˈsɪstəns
əˈʃʊəd 
ˈtrʌstˌwɜːði ˌɪnfəˈmeɪʃən 
ˈpɒsəbl 
dɪˈfɛkts 
ˈgæðər ˌɪnfəˈmeɪʃən kənˈsɜːnɪŋ 
dɪˈvɛləpmənt 
ədˈvaɪzəbl 
kəmˈplaɪ 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ 
ˈfæktˌfaɪndɪŋ

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

There is a g__________________d w__________y r___________s are r__________g the h_________y of their homes. In my opinion, this is d_______o a n_________________y and p_______________s and should be done through o___________________s.

Many are interested in the past of their home because they d________e to l______k with history and are w______________t p______________________________s. The first reason is a____________s to e______________y studying family g____________y. By researching one’s a___________s or p_________________e, it is possible to u______________d and e___________h a c____________n with the past. Moreover, there is a p___________________n r_____________o historical c_______________________s. Older homes in particular may have e________________________s or m____________s that will degrade, creating the r_____k of s________________________e and, i____________________s, c_____________s. By learning about the house and p________d when it was built, residents can t_________________________s to e__________e the house is s____________________d.

The m_________d for c_______________t such s___________________h involves r___________________s. It is possible to do i__________l research through “w____________________h” and c____________g relevant stories in a c________________y. However, this information may be u_____________e, and therefore an individual should e___________r to c________t their local building a______________s. In most countries, it is p_________e to r________r a f_______________________________t and r______e the r_________________s from m__________________s. Governments have l__________________e to p__________t such information and are likely to be r__________e and helpful in o_____________________e. Residents can then be a__________d they have the most t_____________________________e in order to better understand the history of their home and any possible d________s in its construction.

To conclude, some today g__________________________________g the history of their home to understand the past and guarantee their safety. This d______________t is a___________e and the authorities should c________y and e____________e such f______________g.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic in the video below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/whats-the-history-of-your-house-tracking-down-details-can-be-rewarding/2019/09/22/5f6f7616-d01b-11e9-8c1c-7c8ee785b855_story.html

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

History

  1. Do you like reading books about history?
  2. Which country’s history is most interesting to you?
  3. Which historical event or period do you find most interesting?
  4. Why is it important to read about history?
  5. Is it common in your country to research the history of your home?

Writing Practice

Practice with the same basic topic below and then check with my sample answer:

Some people say history is one the most important school subjects. Other people think that, in today’s world, subjects like science and technology are more important than history.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.


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