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

Learn more about my IELTS Ebooks here, my writing corrections here, and my online courses here.

Dave

IELTS Essay: Family & Friends

Some people believe that family is more important than friends.

To what extent do you agree and disagree?

Many believe that family obligations outweigh those towards friends. In my opinion, though this varies by individual to some extent, family holds the stronger claim.

Those who feel friends are more important argue that as an adult, friends are more influential. While still living at home, there is little doubt that one’s family has more sway; this reverses after university when a person lives on their own. They will probably end up spending more time with friends from work or school, especially if they are living far from home. Additionally, friends are chosen and family is not. This autonomy in selecting a circle of friends means that they are more likely to, relative to one’s family, share similar beliefs and personal qualities.

Nonetheless, friends pass in and out of life and family lasts forever. Family has, naturally, the greatest influence in the developmental years of life when researchers believe the majority of identity formation takes place. Coupled with genetic factors, this is why family members have similar attitudes and beliefs, in general. Unlike friends, a person’s relationship with their family, assuming they are not estranged, will span their entire life. At various points throughout adulthood, most people will turn to their immediate or extended family for critical advice or support, strengthening familial bonds. This enduring link makes family a more powerful force than friends.

In conclusion, though friends can take on increasing value, family have the greatest importance taken as a whole. It is therefore key that families stay in touch and maintain friendly relations.

Analysis

1. Many believe that family obligations outweigh those towards friends. 2. In my opinion, though this varies by individual to some extent, family holds the stronger claim.

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

1. Those who feel friends are more important argue that as an adult, friends are more influential. 2. While still living at home, there is little doubt that one’s family has more sway; this reverses after university when a person lives on their own. 3. They will probably end up spending more time with friends from work or school, especially if they are living far from home. 4. Additionally, friends are chosen and family is not. 5. This autonomy in selecting a circle of friends means that they are more likely to, relative to one’s family, share similar beliefs and personal qualities.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Write about it specifically.
  4. Add more support for the same main idea.
  5. Conclude with a strong statement.

1. Nonetheless, friends pass in and out of life and family lasts forever. 2. Family has, naturally, the greatest influence in the developmental years of life when researchers believe the majority of identity formation takes place. 3. Coupled with genetic factors, this is why family members have similar attitudes and beliefs, in general. 4. Unlike friends, a person’s relationship with their family, assuming they are not estranged, will span their entire life. 5. At various points throughout adulthood, most people will turn to their immediate or extended family for critical advice or support, strengthening familial bonds. 6. This enduring link makes family a more powerful force than friends.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a main idea at the end.
  2. Begin to explain your main idea.
  3. Continue developing it.
  4. Make sure your arguments are specific.
  5. Your arguments should be nuanced.
  6. Relate it back to your main idea and the overall question.

1. In conclusion, though friends can take on increasing value, family have the greatest importance taken as a whole. 2. It is therefore key that families stay in touch and maintain friendly relations.

  1. Summarise your main ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Many believe that family obligations outweigh those towards friends. In my opinion, though this varies by individual to some extent, family holds the stronger claim.

Those who feel friends are more important argue that as an adult, friends are more influential. While still living at home, there is little doubt that one’s family has more sway; this reverses after university when a person lives on their own. They will probably end up spending more time with friends from work or school, especially if they are living far from home. Additionally, friends are chosen and family is not. This autonomy in selecting a circle of friends means that they are more likely to, relative to one’s family, share similar beliefs and personal qualities.

Nonetheless, friends pass in and out of life and family lasts forever. Family has, naturally, the greatest influence in the developmental years of life when researchers believe the majority of identity formation takes place. Coupled with genetic factors, this is why family members have similar attitudes and beliefs, in general. Unlike friends, a person’s relationship with their family, assuming they are not estranged, will span their entire life. At various points throughout adulthood, most people will turn to their immediate or extended family for critical advice or support, strengthening familial bonds. This enduring link makes family a more powerful force than friends.

In conclusion, though friends can take on increasing value, family have the greatest importance taken as a whole. It is therefore key that families stay in touch and maintain friendly relations.

Answers

obligations duties

outweigh stronger than

varies there is difference

to some extent to a degree

holds has

stronger claim better belief

argue feel

influential shape/sway

there is little doubt not much question

sway influence

reverses changes course

lives on their own not living at home

end up finally

especially in particular

far from distantly

additionally also

autonomy freedom

selecting choosing

circle of friends closest friends

relative to related to

share give

personal qualities characteristics, personality

pass in and out of life not permanent fixtures

lasts stays

naturally of course

greatest influence biggest force

developmental years when growing up

researchers scientists

majority most of

identity formation takes place personalities begin to form

coupled with genetic factors combined with natural elements

attitudes views

beliefs opinions

in general overall

unlike friends in contrast to friends

estranged no longer have a relationship with, became strangers

span entire width

entire life whole life

various points different parts

throughout adulthood as an adult

turn to seek help from

immediate or extended family close family and more distant relatives

critical advice good suggestions

support help

strengthening familial bonds making families closer

enduring link strong relationship

more powerful force influential

take on increasing value becoming more important

taken as a whole overall

therefore thus

stay in touch keep in contact

maintain friendly relations still on good terms with

Pronunciation

ˌɒblɪˈgeɪʃənz 
aʊtˈweɪ 
ˈveəriz 
tuː sʌm ɪksˈtɛnt
həʊldz 
ˈstrɒŋgə kleɪm
ˈɑːgjuː 
ˌɪnflʊˈɛnʃəl
ðeər ɪz ˈlɪtl daʊt
sweɪ
rɪˈvɜːsɪz 
lɪvz ɒn ðeər əʊn
ɛnd ʌp 
ɪsˈpɛʃəli 
fɑː frɒm 
əˈdɪʃənli
ɔːˈtɒnəmi 
sɪˈlɛktɪŋ 
ˈsɜːkl ɒv frɛndz
ˈrɛlətɪv tuː 
ʃeə 
ˈpɜːsnl ˈkwɒlɪtiz
pɑːs ɪn ænd aʊt ɒv laɪf 
lɑːsts 
ˈnæʧrəli,
ˈgreɪtɪst ˈɪnflʊəns 
dɪˌvɛləpˈmɛntl jɪəz 
rɪˈsɜːʧəz 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
aɪˈdɛntɪti fɔːˈmeɪʃən teɪks pleɪs
ˈkʌpld wɪð ʤɪˈnɛtɪk ˈfæktəz
ˈætɪtjuːdz 
bɪˈliːfs
ɪn ˈʤɛnərəl
ʌnˈlaɪk frɛndz
ɪsˈtreɪnʤd
spæn 
ɪnˈtaɪə laɪf
ˈveərɪəs pɔɪnts 
θru(ː)ˈaʊt əˈdʌlthʊd
tɜːn tuː 
ɪˈmiːdiət ɔːr ɪksˈtɛndɪd ˈfæmɪli 
ˈkrɪtɪkəl ədˈvaɪs 
səˈpɔːt
ˈstrɛŋθənɪŋ ˈfæmɪliəl bɒndz
ɪnˈdjʊərɪŋ lɪŋk 
mɔː ˈpaʊəfʊl fɔːs 
teɪk ɒn ɪnˈkriːsɪŋ ˈvæljuː
ˈteɪkən æz ə həʊl
ˈðeəfɔː 
steɪ ɪn tʌʧ 
meɪnˈteɪn ˈfrɛndli rɪˈleɪʃənz

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many believe that family o_______________s o___________h those towards friends. In my opinion, though this v_______s by individual t_____________t, family h______s the s______________m.

Those who feel friends are more important a_______e that as an adult, friends are more i______________l. While still living at home, t____________________t that one’s family has more s_____y; this r__________s after university when a person l____________________n. They will probably e_______p spending more time with friends from work or school, e____________y if they are living f___________m home. A________________y, friends are chosen and family is not. This a___________y in s___________g a c________________s means that they are more likely to, r________________o one’s family, s___________e similar beliefs and p_____________________s.

Nonetheless, friends p________________________e and family l______s forever. Family has, n______________y, the g________________e in the d_____________________s of life when r_________________s believe the m_____________y of i_______________________n t_____________e. C__________________________s, this is why family members have similar a_____________s and b_________s, i________________l. U_______________s, a person’s relationship with their family, assuming they are not e______________d, will s_____n their e____________e. At v__________________________________d, most people will t________o their i_____________________________________y for c__________________e or s__________t, s______________________________s. This e____________k makes family a m____________________e than friends.

In conclusion, though friends can t_________n i____________________e, family have the greatest importance t____________________e. It is t_____________e key that families s______________h and m_________________________s.

Listening Practice

Listen below and use the activities in here to practice:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and practice with these ideas:

https://www.wired.com/gallery/long-distance-gear-to-stay-connected/

Speaking Practice

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

Friends

  1. Do you talk about yourself to your friends?
  2. Do you like to listen or talk with your friends?
  3. Do you often change your mind about your friends?
  4. Is it important to have friends?

Writing Practice

Write about the related question below and then check with my sample answer:

It is better for children if the whole family including aunts, uncles and so on are involved in a child’s upbringing, rather than just their parents.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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