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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of happiness from the real IELTS exam

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Happiness

Some people think personal happiness is directly related to economic success, while others believe this depends on other factors.

Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

Many are of the belief that happiness is a result of financial success, while others feel there are more crucial factors. In my opinion, a certain degree of financial stability is a basic requirement for happiness but is less important overall than one’s family and health.

Those who claim that happiness correlates highly with earnings argue that it affords individuals a higher standard of living. A person with a considerable salary is able to buy a nice house, provide for their family, and purchase luxuries ranging from good food and frequent holidays to expensive vehicles and fashionable clothing. Each item taken on its own only contributes a small degree of pleasure, however, such purchases add up to a generally content, comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle. If a person is inclined to equate pleasure with happiness, then there is a legitimate argument to be made for the pursuit of happiness being the pursuit of money.

However, the majority of individuals, wealthy and otherwise, would state that happiness is more a consequence of quality time with family and good health. A comfortable home filled with luxuries is enjoyable but the most sustained happiness comes from relationships. Someone who has lost touch with their family and has frayed interpersonal bonds with their relatives, is not likely to be able to fill such a void with physical possessions. Anecdotally, towards the end of life most people recognize that their happiest moments were spent in the presence of loved ones. Additionally, good health is a more powerful pre-condition for happiness since no amount of wealth can buy relief from chronic suffering.

In conclusion, happiness depends more on one’s relationship with their family and physical health rather than financial success. There are, naturally, exceptions as happiness is subjective and can be defined differently.

Analysis

1. Many are of the belief that happiness is a result of financial success, while others feel there are more crucial factors. 2. In my opinion, a certain degree of financial stability is a basic requirement for happiness but is less important overall than one’s family and health.

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

1. Those who claim that happiness correlates highly with earnings argue that it affords individuals a higher standard of living. 2. A person with a considerable salary is able to buy a nice house, provide for their family, and purchase luxuries ranging from good food and frequent holidays to expensive vehicles and fashionable clothing. 3. Each item taken on its own only contributes a small degree of pleasure, however, such purchases add up to a generally content, comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle. 4. If a person is inclined to equate pleasure with happiness, then there is a legitimate argument to be made for the pursuit of happiness being the pursuit of money.

  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.

1. However, the majority of individuals, wealthy and otherwise, would state that happiness is more a consequence of quality time with family and good health. 2. A comfortable home filled with luxuries is enjoyable but the most sustained happiness comes from relationships. 3. Someone who has lost touch with their family and has frayed interpersonal bonds with their relatives, is not likely to be able to fill such a void with physical possessions. 4. Anecdotally, towards the end of life most people recognize that their happiest moments were spent in the presence of loved ones. 5. Additionally, good health is a more powerful pre-condition for happiness since no amount of wealth can buy relief from chronic suffering.

  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!

1. In conclusion, happiness depends more on one’s relationship with their family and physical health rather than financial success. 2. There are, naturally, exceptions as happiness is subjective and can be defined differently.

  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.

Many are of the belief that happiness is a result of financial success, while others feel there are more crucial factors. In my opinion, a certain degree of financial stability is a basic requirement for happiness but is less important overall than one’s family and health.

Those who claim that happiness correlates highly with earnings argue that it affords individuals a higher standard of living. A person with a considerable salary is able to buy a nice house, provide for their family, and purchase luxuries ranging from good food and frequent holidays to expensive vehicles and fashionable clothing. Each item taken on its own only contributes a small degree of pleasure, however, such purchases add up to a generally content, comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle. If a person is inclined to equate pleasure with happiness, then there is a legitimate argument to be made for the pursuit of happiness being the pursuit of money.

However, the majority of individuals, wealthy and otherwise, would state that happiness is more a consequence of quality time with family and good health. A comfortable home filled with luxuries is enjoyable but the most sustained happiness comes from relationships. Someone who has lost touch with their family and has frayed interpersonal bonds with their relatives, is not likely to be able to fill such a void with physical possessions. Anecdotally, towards the end of life most people recognize that their happiest moments were spent in the presence of loved ones. Additionally, good health is a more powerful pre-condition for happiness since no amount of wealth can buy relief from chronic suffering.

In conclusion, happiness depends more on one’s relationship with their family and physical health rather than financial success. There are, naturally, exceptions as happiness is subjective and can be defined differently.

Answers

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

result of caused by

financial success making money

crucial factors important elements

certain degree some amount of

financial stability have enough money

basic requirement minimum

overall generally

claim argue

correlates highly relates directly to

earnings argue money say

affords can pay for

higher standard of living good quality of life

considerable major

provide for allow for

purchase luxuries ranging from buy nice things including

frequent often

expensive vehicles pricey cars

fashionable clothing nice fashion

item taken on its own thing by itself

contributes adds to

small degree of pleasure a little enjoyment

add up contribute to

generally content overall happy

comfortable easy and nice

enjoyable lifestyle nice living standard

inclined likely to

equate pleasure make enjoyment equal to

legitimate argument clear case

pursuit of happiness trying to satisfy yourself

majority most of

otherwise or this will happen

state say

consequence result

quality time good time spent with

filled with full of

most sustained constant

relationships interpersonal connections

lost touch not talking to, estranged

frayed interpersonal bonds not on good terms with

relatives family members

void absence

physical possessions things

anecdotally from stories

recognize know

spent in the presence of loved ones around family

additionally also

pre-condition minimum requirement

since no amount of wealth as no level of money

buy relief purchase a reprieve

chronic suffering constantly hurt by

depends more on has more to do with

rather than instead of

naturally of course

exceptions cases outside the norm

subjective can be judged individually

defined differently described in different ways

Pronunciation

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

rɪˈzʌlt ɒv 
faɪˈnænʃəl səkˈsɛs
ˈkruːʃəl ˈfæktəz
ˈsɜːtn dɪˈgriː 
faɪˈnænʃəl stəˈbɪlɪti 
ˈbeɪsɪk rɪˈkwaɪəmənt 
ˈəʊvərɔːl 
kleɪm 
ˈkɒrɪleɪts ˈhaɪli 
ˈɜːnɪŋz ˈɑːgjuː 
əˈfɔːdz 
ˈhaɪə ˈstændəd ɒv ˈlɪvɪŋ
kənˈsɪdərəbl 
prəˈvaɪd fɔː 
ˈpɜːʧəs ˈlʌkʃəriz ˈreɪnʤɪŋ frɒm 
ˈfriːkwənt 
ɪksˈpɛnsɪv ˈviːɪklz 
ˈfæʃnəbl ˈkləʊðɪŋ
ˈaɪtəm ˈteɪkən ɒn ɪts əʊn 
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)ts 
smɔːl dɪˈgriː ɒv ˈplɛʒə
æd ʌp 
ˈʤɛnərəli ˈkɒntɛnt
ˈkʌmf(ə)təbl 
ɪnˈʤɔɪəbl ˈlaɪfˌstaɪl
ɪnˈklaɪnd 
ɪˈkweɪt ˈplɛʒə 
lɪˈʤɪtɪmɪt ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
pəˈsjuːt ɒv ˈhæpɪnɪs 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
ˈʌðəwaɪz
steɪt 
ˈkɒnsɪkwəns 
ˈkwɒlɪti taɪm 
fɪld wɪð 
məʊst səsˈteɪnd 
rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪps
lɒst tʌʧ 
freɪd ˌɪntəˈpɜːsən(ə)l bɒndz 
ˈrɛlətɪvz
vɔɪd 
ˈfɪzɪkəl pəˈzɛʃənz
ˌænɪkˈdəʊt(ə)li
ˈrɛkəgnaɪz 
spɛnt ɪn ðə ˈprɛzns ɒv lʌvd wʌnz
əˈdɪʃənli
priː-kənˈdɪʃən 
sɪns nəʊ əˈmaʊnt ɒv wɛlθ 
baɪ rɪˈliːf 
ˈkrɒnɪk ˈsʌfərɪŋ
dɪˈpɛndz mɔːr ɒn 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn 
ˈnæʧrəli
ɪkˈsɛpʃənz 
səbˈʤɛktɪv 
dɪˈfaɪnd ˈdɪfrəntli

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:

Many are of the belief that happiness is a r__________f f_______________s, while others feel there are more c__________________s. In my opinion, a c________________e of f_____________________y is a b___________________t for happiness but is less important o________l than one’s family and health.

Those who c________m that happiness c__________________y with e________________e that it a________s individuals a h_____________________________g. A person with a c_______________e salary is able to buy a nice house, p__________r their family, and p__________________s r________________m good food and f__________t holidays to e___________________s and f____________________g. Each i______________________n only c________________s a s_________________________e, however, such purchases a________p to a g______________________t, c_____________e and e____________________e. If a person is i__________d to e_________________e with happiness, then there is a l_________________________t to be made for the p____________________s being the pursuit of money.

However, the m_________y of individuals, wealthy and o___________e, would s______e that happiness is more a c______________e of q______________e with family and good health. A comfortable home f____________h luxuries is enjoyable but the m________________d happiness comes from r_______________s. Someone who has l_____________h with their family and has f__________________________s with their r__________s, is not likely to be able to fill such a v______d with p__________________________s. A________________y, towards the end of life most people r____________e that their happiest moments were s___________________________________s. A_______________y, good health is a more powerful p______________n for happiness s____________________________________h can b______________f from c______________g.

In conclusion, happiness d______________________n one’s relationship with their family and physical health r_____________n financial success. There are, n______________y, e____________s as happiness is s_____________e and can be d_____________________y.

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.cntraveler.com/gallery/the-10-happiest-countries-in-the-world

Speaking Practice

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

Happy Occasions

  1. How do people in your country celebrate happy occasions?
  2. Why do occasions usually make people happy?
  3. How important is the money spent on the occasion for making people happy?
  4. Is it a good idea to spend a lot of money on a birthday party?
  5. Is happiness today the same as it was in the past?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

In recent times, economic growth has helped many become richer, both in developed and developing countries. However, those in developed countries are not as happy as they were in the past.

Why is this?

What can be learned from this?


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