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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of family meals from the real IELTS recent exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Family Meals

Today family members eat fewer meals together.

Why is this?

Is this a positive or negative trend?

In recent years, it has become less common for families to eat meals together. In my opinion, this is related to developments outside the home and is a positive trend overall.

There is now a great variety of public activities. In the past, families traditionally ate dinner together because it was rare to go out to restaurants and events. Today, individuals can eat at cheap or expensive restaurants, attend concerts, go to public parks, and meet a wider circle of acquaintances due to the rise of social media. For instance, it is common to notice an event while scrolling through social media, such as a gallery opening or a sports match, and make plans with friends quickly through a group chat. The prevalence and accessibility of such events explains why family meals are now uncommon.

This phenomenon is negative for families but positive for society overall. Reduced time with one’s family can lead to psychological problems as a person must feel loved by family members to maximize healthy growth. One method of achieving this unconditional sense of security is through family meals. However, there are other ways for a family to be close and the opening up of society beyond the household is a massive boon for individuals. People who were stuck at home and bored now have a variety of entertainment options and live overall more fulfilling and richer lives. For example, a person who often goes to concerts will likely make friends from various backgrounds and form lasting memories with them.

In conclusion, family meals are less common because of developments in society generally and it is positive on the whole given the freedom the average person now possesses. Nonetheless, it is still important to balance time with family and friends.

Analysis

1. In recent years, it has become less common for families to eat meals together. 2. In my opinion, this is related to developments outside the home and is a positive trend overall.

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

1. There is now a great variety of public activities. 2. In the past, families traditionally ate dinner together because it was rare to go out to restaurants and events. 3. Today, individuals can eat at cheap or expensive restaurants, attend concerts, go to public parks, and meet a wider circle of acquaintances due to the rise of social media. 4. For instance, it is common to notice an event while scrolling through social media, such as a gallery opening or a sports match, and make plans with friends quickly through a group chat. 5. The prevalence and accessibility of such events explains why family meals are now uncommon.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Vary long and short sentences.

1. This phenomenon is negative for families but positive for society overall. 2. Reduced time with one’s family can lead to psychological problems as a person must feel loved by family members to maximize healthy growth. 3. One method of achieving this unconditional sense of security is through family meals. 4. However, there are other ways for a family to be close and the opening up of society beyond the household is a massive boon for individuals. 5. People who were stuck at home and bored now have a variety of entertainment options and live overall more fulfilling and richer lives. 6. For example, a person who often goes to concerts will likely make friends from various backgrounds and form lasting memories with them.

  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. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.
  6. State the results as well.

1. In conclusion, family meals are less common because of developments in society generally and it is positive on the whole given the freedom the average person now possesses. 2. Nonetheless, it is still important to balance time with family and friends.

  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.

In recent years, it has become less common for families to eat meals together. In my opinion, this is related to developments outside the home and is a positive trend overall.

There is now a great variety of public activities. In the past, families traditionally ate dinner together because it was rare to go out to restaurants and events. Today, individuals can eat at cheap or expensive restaurants, attend concerts, go to public parks, and meet a wider circle of acquaintances due to the rise of social media. For instance, it is common to notice an event while scrolling through social media, such as a gallery opening or a sports match, and make plans with friends quickly through a group chat. The prevalence and accessibility of such events explains why family meals are now uncommon.

This phenomenon is negative for families but positive for society overall. Reduced time with one’s family can lead to psychological problems as a person must feel loved by family members to maximize healthy growth. One method of achieving this unconditional sense of security is through family meals. However, there are other ways for a family to be close and the opening up of society beyond the household is a massive boon for individuals. People who were stuck at home and bored now have a variety of entertainment options and live overall more fulfilling and richer lives. For example, a person who often goes to concerts will likely make friends from various backgrounds and form lasting memories with them.

In conclusion, family meals are less common because of developments in society generally and it is positive on the whole given the freedom the average person now possesses. Nonetheless, it is still important to balance time with family and friends.

Answers

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

in recent years nowadays

less common not happening as much

eat meals together share food as a family

related to concerning

developments outside the home changes in society

positive trend overall good in general

great variety lots of different

public activities in society, outside

in the past formerly

traditionally normally

dinner meal late at night

rare not common

restaurants places to eat

events things to do outside

cheap not expensive

expensive costly

attend concerts go to listen to music

public parks places to hang out in public

meet a wider circle of acquaintances make more friends

due to because of

rise increase

common happens a lot

notice see

scrolling through social media looking through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.

gallery opening art exhibition starting

sports match games

make plans decide to

group chat people talking together online

prevalence how common it is

accessibility can be accessed

explains shows

uncommon not common

phenomenon development

reduced decreased

lead to psychological problems cause mental issues

maximize healthy growth allow for better development

method way

achieving accomplishing

unconditional sense of security no strings attached feeling of love

close near to

opening up becoming more possible

beyond the household outside the home

massive boon big benefit

stuck can’t move from

more fulfilling and richer lives better quality of life

various backgrounds different groups in society

form lasting memories memorable moments

on the whole given overall considering

freedom ability to do what you want

possesses has

nonetheless regardless

balance keep equal

Pronunciation

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

ɪn ˈriːsnt jɪəz
lɛs ˈkɒmən
iːt miːlz təˈgɛðə
rɪˈleɪtɪd tuː
dɪˈvɛləpmənts ˌaʊtˈsaɪd ðə həʊm
ˈpɒzətɪv trɛnd ˈəʊvərɔːl
greɪt vəˈraɪəti
ˈpʌblɪk ækˈtɪvɪtiz
ɪn ðə pɑːst
trəˈdɪʃnəli
ˈdɪnə
reə
ˈrɛstrɒnts
ɪˈvɛnts
ʧiːp
ɪksˈpɛnsɪv
əˈtɛnd ˈkɒnsə(ː)ts
ˈpʌblɪk pɑːks
miːt ə ˈwaɪdə ˈsɜːkl ɒv əˈkweɪntənsɪz
djuː tuː
raɪz
ˈkɒmən
ˈnəʊtɪs
ˈskrəʊlɪŋ θruː ˈsəʊʃəl ˈmiːdiə
ˈgæləri ˈəʊpnɪŋ
spɔːts mæʧ
meɪk plænz
gruːp ʧæt
ˈprɛvələns
əkˌsɛsɪˈbɪlɪti
ɪksˈpleɪnz
ʌnˈkɒmən
fɪˈnɒmɪnən
rɪˈdjuːst
liːd tuː ˌsaɪkəˈlɒʤɪkəl ˈprɒbləmz
ˈmæksɪmaɪz ˈhɛlθi grəʊθ
ˈmɛθəd
əˈʧiːvɪŋ
ˌʌnkənˈdɪʃənl sɛns ɒv sɪˈkjʊərɪti
kləʊs
ˈəʊpnɪŋ ʌp
bɪˈjɒnd ðə ˈhaʊshəʊld
ˈmæsɪv buːn
stʌk
mɔː fʊlˈfɪlɪŋ ænd ˈrɪʧə lɪvz
ˈveərɪəs ˈbækgraʊndz
fɔːm ˈlɑːstɪŋ ˈmɛməriz
ɒn ðə həʊl ˈgɪvn
ˈfriːdəm
pəˈzɛsɪz
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
ˈbæləns 

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:

I___________________s, it has become l___________________n for families to e__________________________r. In my opinion, this is r_______________o d___________________________________e and is a p__________________l.

There is now a g____________y of p______________s. I______________t, families t_______________y ate d_______r together because it was r____e to go out to r_____________s and e_______s. Today, individuals can eat at c______p or e_________e restaurants, a_______________s, go to p______________s, and m_____________________________________s d________o the r____e of social media. For instance, it is c_________n to n_________e an event while s__________________________a, such as a g_________________g or a s______________h, and m_________s with friends quickly through a g_____________t. The p____________e and a____________y of such events e__________s why family meals are now u____________n.

This p____________n is negative for families but positive for society overall. R_________d time with one’s family can l___________o p_____________________________s as a person must feel loved by family members to m________________________h. One m________d of a___________g this u________________________________y is through family meals. However, there are other ways for a family to be c______e and the o__________p of society b_____________________d is a m_______________n for individuals. People who were s______k at home and bored now have a variety of entertainment options and live overall m_________________________s. For example, a person who often goes to concerts will likely make friends from v_________________________s and f________________________s with them.

In conclusion, family meals are less common because of developments in society generally and it is positive o______________e g______n the f_________m the average person now p_____________s. N______________s, it is still important to b_______e time with family and friends.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

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

https://www.jamieoliver.com/family/

Speaking Practice

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

Family

  1. Are you close with your family?
  2. Who do you talk to in your family the most?
  3. Do you have a large family?
  4. Are families becoming more distant in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Nowadays, families are not as close as in the past and a lot of people have become used to this.

Why is this happening?

Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the drawbacks?


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