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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of celebrating family events from the real IELTS general training exam.

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IELTS Essay: Celebrating Family Events

Some people spend a lot of money celebrating personal family events, such as weddings and birthdays.

How important is it to celebrate such events?

Do you think people spend too much money on these events?

It is common for individuals to invest heavily in celebrating important family events. In my opinion, such celebrations are vital to healthy family life and the associated costs are reasonable in most cases.

Events that bring together the whole family encourage stronger internal cohesion. This is best illustrated through the counter-example of families that rarely meet for large social gatherings. These families are likely to grow distant and remain family members in name rather than actuality. Family members that often meet, such as in many Asian nations where familial bonds are prioritised, are closer to both their immediate and extended family. The result of such closeness is they can ask for advice, lend a helping hand, and feel the unconditional support and love that is essential for mental health.

Generally, for these events families spend only as much as they can reasonably afford. There are rare exceptions, such as when a newly married couple spends excessively on the wedding. However, most families abide by an internal calculus that keeps their spending under control. A wealthy family may stage lavish reunions, family dinners, and weddings, but they are able to afford them and only appear excessive from the perspective of less privileged spectators. A less affluent family, on the other hand, will tend to hold more modest events and, in the case of weddings, may be able to recoup a substantial proportion of the costs from gifts. For example, the giving of an envelope containing money at a wedding is common in Vietnam and helps couples begin their marriage on solid financial footing.

In conclusion, family gatherings play a key part in strengthening bonds and their cost is justifiable and moderate. Families should therefore strive to maintain their traditions in an increasingly insular society.

Analysis

1. It is common for individuals to invest heavily in celebrating important family events. 2. In my opinion, such celebrations are vital to healthy family life and the associated costs are reasonable in most cases.

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

1. Events that bring together the whole family encourage stronger internal cohesion. 2. This is best illustrated through the counter-example of families that rarely meet for large social gatherings. 3. These families are likely to grow distant and remain family members in name rather than actuality. 4. Family members that often meet, such as in many Asian nations where familial bonds are prioritised, are closer to both their immediate and extended family. 5. The result of such closeness is they can ask for advice, lend a helping hand, and feel the unconditional support and love that is essential for mental health.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Stay focused on the same main idea.

1. Generally, for these events families spend only as much as they can reasonably afford. 2. There are rare exceptions, such as when a newly married couple spends excessively on the wedding. 3. However, most families abide by an internal calculus that keeps their spending under control. 4. A wealthy family may stage lavish reunions, family dinners, and weddings, but they are able to afford them and only appear excessive from the perspective of less privileged spectators. 5. A less affluent family, on the other hand, will tend to hold more modest events and, in the case of weddings, may be able to recoup a substantial proportion of the costs from gifts. 6. For example, the giving of an envelope containing money at a wedding is common in Vietnam and helps couples begin their marriage on solid financial footing.

  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. Here I add an extra example to make it more specific.

1. In conclusion, family gatherings play a key part in strengthening bonds and their cost is justifiable and moderate. 2. Families should therefore strive to maintain their traditions in an increasingly insular society.

  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.

It is common for individuals to invest heavily in celebrating important family events. In my opinion, such celebrations are vital to healthy family life and the associated costs are reasonable in most cases.

Events that bring together the whole family encourage stronger internal cohesion. This is best illustrated through the counter-example of families that rarely meet for large social gatherings. These families are likely to grow distant and remain family members in name rather than actuality. Family members that often meet, such as in many Asian nations where familial bonds are prioritised, are closer to both their immediate and extended family. The result of such closeness is they can ask for advice, lend a helping hand, and feel the unconditional support and love that is essential for mental health.

Generally, for these events families spend only as much as they can reasonably afford. There are rare exceptions, such as when a newly married couple spends excessively on the wedding. However, most families abide by an internal calculus that keeps their spending under control. A wealthy family may stage lavish reunions, family dinners, and weddings, but they are able to afford them and only appear excessive from the perspective of less privileged spectators. A less affluent family, on the other hand, will tend to hold more modest events and, in the case of weddings, may be able to recoup a substantial proportion of the costs from gifts. For example, the giving of an envelope containing money at a wedding is common in Vietnam and helps couples begin their marriage on solid financial footing.

In conclusion, family gatherings play a key part in strengthening bonds and their cost is justifiable and moderate. Families should therefore strive to maintain their traditions in an increasingly insular society.

Answers

common pervasive

invest heavily put a lot of money into

celebrating important family events birthdays, weddings, family reunions, etc.

vital really important

healthy family life good relationships in families

associated costs related expenses

reasonable not excessive

in most cases generally

bring together make closer

whole family everyone in the family

encourage foster

best illustrated clearest illustrations

counter-example example showing the opposite

rarely not often

large social gatherings big get-togethers

grow distant become like strangers

remain family members continue to be family

in name not in reality

rather than instead of

actuality reality

familial bonds relationships between family members

prioritised considered more important

immediate and extended family parents/siblings and then more distant family members like cousins

result outcome

closeness how close your are

advice suggestions

lend a helping hand give help

unconditional support no strings attached support

essential vital

mental health your mental state, emotions, etc.

generally overall

reasonably afford able to pay for

rare exceptions some different instances

newly married just married

excessively too strong

abide by stick to

internal calculus calculator in your head

keeps their spending under control stops them from spending too much money

stage lavish reunions put on big celebrations

appear excessive seem to be too much

perspective viewpoint

less privileged spectators poorer people

affluent rich

on the other hand however

tend to hold more modest events usually have less expensive celebrations

recoup get back

substantial proportion large percentage

envelope paper for letters

solid financial footing have enough money

strengthening bonds making relationships better

justifiable reasonable

moderate within reasonable limits

strive try hard

maintain sustain

traditions customs

insular isolated and alone

Pronunciation

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

ˈkɒmən 
ɪnˈvɛst ˈhɛvɪli 
ˈsɛlɪbreɪtɪŋ ɪmˈpɔːtənt ˈfæmɪli ɪˈvɛnts
ˈvaɪtl 
ˈhɛlθi ˈfæmɪli laɪf 
əˈsəʊʃɪeɪtɪd kɒsts 
ˈriːznəbl 
ɪn məʊst ˈkeɪsɪz
brɪŋ təˈgɛðə 
həʊl ˈfæmɪli 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ 
bɛst ˈɪləstreɪtɪd 
ˈkaʊntər-ɪgˈzɑːmpl 
ˈreəli 
lɑːʤ ˈsəʊʃəl ˈgæðərɪŋz
grəʊ ˈdɪstənt 
rɪˈmeɪn ˈfæmɪli ˈmɛmbəz 
ɪn neɪm 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn 
ˌækʧʊˈælɪti
ˈfæmɪliəl bɒndz 
praɪˈɒrɪˌtaɪzd
ɪˈmiːdiət ænd ɪksˈtɛndɪd ˈfæmɪli
rɪˈzʌlt 
ˈkləʊsnɪs 
ədˈvaɪs
lɛnd ə ˈhɛlpɪŋ hænd
ˌʌnkənˈdɪʃənl səˈpɔːt 
ɪˈsɛnʃəl 
ˈmɛntl hɛlθ
ˈʤɛnərəli
ˈriːznəbli əˈfɔːd
reər ɪkˈsɛpʃənz
ˈnjuːli ˈmærɪd 
ɪkˈsɛsɪvli 
əˈbaɪd baɪ 
ɪnˈtɜːnl ˈkælkjʊləs 
kiːps ðeə ˈspɛndɪŋ ˈʌndə kənˈtrəʊl
steɪʤ ˈlævɪʃ riːˈjuːnjənz
əˈpɪər ɪkˈsɛsɪv 
pəˈspɛktɪv 
lɛs ˈprɪvɪlɪʤd spɛkˈteɪtəz
ˈæflʊənt 
ɒn ði ˈʌðə hænd
tɛnd tuː həʊld mɔː ˈmɒdɪst ɪˈvɛnts 
rɪˈkuːp 
səbˈstænʃəl prəˈpɔːʃən 
ˈɛnvələʊp 
ˈsɒlɪd faɪˈnænʃəl ˈfʊtɪŋ
ˈstrɛŋθənɪŋ bɒndz 
ˈʤʌstɪfaɪəbl 
ˈmɒdərɪt
straɪv 
meɪnˈteɪn 
trəˈdɪʃənz 
ˈɪnsjʊlə 

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:

It is c___________n for individuals to i______________y in c________________________________s. In my opinion, such celebrations are v_____l to h___________________e and the a_________________s are r______________________________s.

Events that b_______________r the w______________y e_____________e stronger internal cohesion. This is b_________________d through the c__________________e of families that r________y meet for l______________________s. These families are likely to g______________t and r_______________________s i__________e r____________n a____________y. Family members that often meet, such as in many Asian nations where f_________________s are p___________d, are closer to both their i______________________________y. The r________t of such c__________s is they can ask for a_________e, l________________d, and feel the u_______________________t and love that is e___________l for m______________h.

G__________y, for these events families spend only as much as they can r___________________d. There are r__________________s, such as when a n__________________d couple spends e_______________y on the wedding. However, most families a_________y an i____________________s that k_________________________________l. A wealthy family may s_______________________s, family dinners, and weddings, but they are able to afford them and only a___________________e from the p_____________e of l___________________________s. A less a__________t family, o__________________d, will t_______________________________s and, in the case of weddings, may be able to r_______p a s__________________________n of the costs from gifts. For example, the giving of an e___________e containing money at a wedding is common in Vietnam and helps couples begin their marriage on s_____________________________g.

In conclusion, family gatherings play a key part in s_____________________s and their cost is j____________e and m___________e. Families should therefore s_______e to m_____________n their t_____________s in an increasinly i_________r society.

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.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2020/new-holiday-traditions.html

Speaking Practice

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

Celebrations

  1. What kind of celebrations are common in your country?
  2. How much do people typically spend on their wedding?
  3. Are there big differences between the way that young and old people celebrate their birthdays?
  4. Do all people in your country take part in the same celebrations?
  5. What is the importance of national holiday?

Writing Practice

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

Many parents encourage young people to leave home when they become older, while others think they should stay at home with the family.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.


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