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This is my IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of housing shortages from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Housing Shortages

The shortage of housing in big cities can cause severe consequences. Only government action can solve this problem.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Some today argue that only governments are capable of countering problems in cities resulting from housing shortages. In my opinion, although governments should be the primary actors, individuals can also offer aid.

On the one hand, only governments have the authority to enact truly large-scale change. Governments by design make decisions for the benefit of the entire citizenry. An example of how this could relate to housing issues would be the urban planning in New York City over the last century. The authorities there had to contend with an unprecedented population surge in a limited urban area. They responded by building skyscrapers that could house many residents, expanding public transport, and constructing various highways to allow commuters to live nearby the city. These solutions could only have been successfully undertaken at the behest of the government.

However, though the role of individuals is less prominent, it still exists. In the previous example, voters in New York City were able to make their voices heard by voting for mayors and governors that best served them. In the event that the government is not addressing housing problems sufficiently, then citizens can write to their representatives, organize protests, or take more drastic action such as relocating to a new city. In the era of social media, it is now more possible than ever before for the average person to openly discuss these issues. Individuals will always find methods to pressure governments, including in areas related to housing.

In conclusion, I disagree with those who contend only government action can improve housing issues in major metropolitan areas as individuals can collectively always engender some degree of reform. Governments will ideally enact laws based on the needs of the general populace.

Analysis

1. Some today argue that only governments are capable of countering problems in cities resulting from housing shortages. 2. In my opinion, although governments should be the primary actors, individuals can also offer aid.

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

1. On the one hand, only governments have the authority to enact truly large-scale change. 2. Governments by design make decisions for the benefit of the entire citizenry. 3. An example of how this could relate to housing issues would be the urban planning in New York City over the last century. 4. The authorities there had to contend with an unprecedented population surge in a limited urban area. 5. They responded by building skyscrapers that could house many residents, expanding public transport, and constructing various highways to allow commuters to live nearby the city. 6. These solutions could only have been successfully undertaken at the behest of the government.

  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. Use short and long sentences.
  6. Finish the paragraph strong.

1. However, though the role of individuals is less prominent, it still exists. 2. In the previous example, voters in New York City were able to make their voices heard by voting for mayors and governors that best served them. 3. In the event that the government is not addressing housing problems sufficiently, then citizens can write to their representatives, organize protests, or take more drastic action such as relocating to a new city. 4. In the era of social media, it is now more possible than ever before for the average person to openly discuss these issues. 5. Individuals will always find methods to pressure governments, including in areas related to housing.

  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.

1. In conclusion, I disagree with those who contend only government action can improve housing issues in major metropolitan areas as individuals can collectively always engender some degree of reform. 2. Governments will ideally enact laws based on the needs of the general populace.

  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.

Some today argue that only governments are capable of countering problems in cities resulting from housing shortages. In my opinion, although governments should be the primary actors, individuals can also offer aid.

On the one hand, only governments have the authority to enact truly large-scale change. Governments by design make decisions for the benefit of the entire citizenry. An example of how this could relate to housing issues would be the urban planning in New York City over the last century. The authorities there had to contend with an unprecedented population surge in a limited urban area. They responded by building skyscrapers that could house many residents, expanding public transport, and constructing various highways to allow commuters to live nearby the city. These solutions could only have been successfully undertaken at the behest of the government.

However, though the role of individuals is less prominent, it still exists. In the previous example, voters in New York City were able to make their voices heard by voting for mayors and governors that best served them. In the event that the government is not addressing housing problems sufficiently, then citizens can write to their representatives, organize protests, or take more drastic action such as relocating to a new city. In the era of social media, it is now more possible than ever before for the average person to openly discuss these issues. Individuals will always find methods to pressure governments, including in areas related to housing.

In conclusion, I disagree with those who contend only government action can improve housing issues in major metropolitan areas as individuals can collectively always engender some degree of reform. Governments will ideally enact laws based on the needs of the general populace.

Answers

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

capable of are able to

countering problems fixing issues

resulting from coming from

housing shortages not enough real estate, a shortage of homes for people

primary actors main people in charge

offer aid give help

on the one hand firstly

authority governments, people in charge

enact truly large-scale change make really big alterations

by design deliberately, the way it is supposed to be

decisions choices

benefit advantage

entire citizenry whole country

An example of how this could relate to housing issues would be one instance of this concerning the shortage of houses is

urban planning design of a city

over the last century the last 100 years

contend with deal with

unprecedented population surge a lot more people

limited urban area small space for the city

responded answered

building skyscrapers erecting large buildings

house verb for live in a place

expanding public transport more buses, subways, etc.

constructing various highways building overpasses and expressways

allow commuters permit people going to work/school

nearby next to

successfully undertaken done well

at the behest of requested by

though but

less prominent not as noticeable

exists is there

In the previous example the instance mentioned before

voters citizens in a country

make their voices heard make demands

voting deciding in elections

mayors people in charge of cities

governors people in charge of states

best served them most for their interests

In the event that when it happens that

not addressing not dealing with

sufficiently enough

citizens people of a country

write send letters

representatives people who are for them in government

organize protests put together demonstrations

take more drastic action do more serious steps

such as including

relocating to a new city moving to a new urban area

In the era of social media because of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

more possible than ever before truer than in the past

average person normal citizen

openly discuss talk about freely

methods ways

pressure stress

including in also in

major metropolitan areas big cities

collectively grouped together

engender some degree of reform create changes

ideally enact laws hopefully create new regulations

the general populace people

Pronunciation

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

ˈkeɪpəbl ɒv 
ˈkaʊntərɪŋ ˈprɒbləmz 
rɪˈzʌltɪŋ frɒm 
ˈhaʊzɪŋ ˈʃɔːtɪʤɪz
ˈpraɪməri ˈæktəz
ˈɒfər eɪd
ɒn ðə wʌn hænd 
ɔːˈθɒrɪti 
ɪˈnækt ˈtruːli lɑːʤ-skeɪl ʧeɪnʤ 
baɪ dɪˈzaɪn 
dɪˈsɪʒənz 
ˈbɛnɪfɪt 
ɪnˈtaɪə ˈsɪtɪznri
ən ɪgˈzɑːmpl ɒv haʊ ðɪs kʊd rɪˈleɪt tuː ˈhaʊzɪŋ ˈɪʃuːz wʊd biː 
ˈɜːbən ˈplænɪŋ 
ˈəʊvə ðə lɑːst ˈsɛnʧʊri
kənˈtɛnd wɪð 
ʌnˈprɛsɪdəntɪd ˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃən sɜːʤ 
ˈlɪmɪtɪd ˈɜːbən ˈeərɪə 
rɪsˈpɒndɪd 
ˈbɪldɪŋ ˈskaɪˌskreɪpəz 
haʊs 
ɪksˈpændɪŋ ˈpʌblɪk ˈtrænspɔːt 
kənˈstrʌktɪŋ ˈveərɪəs ˈhaɪweɪz 
əˈlaʊ kəˈmjuːtəz tuː 
ˈnɪəbaɪ 
səkˈsɛsfʊli ˌʌndəˈteɪkən 
æt ðə bɪˈhɛst ɒv 
ðəʊ 
lɛs ˈprɒmɪnənt
ɪgˈzɪsts
ɪn ðə ˈpriːviəs ɪgˈzɑːmpl
ˈvəʊtəz 
meɪk ðeə ˈvɔɪsɪz hɜːd 
ˈvəʊtɪŋ 
meəz 
ˈgʌvənəz 
bɛst sɜːvd ðɛm
ɪn ði ɪˈvɛnt ðæt 
nɒt əˈdrɛsɪŋ 
səˈfɪʃəntli 
ˈsɪtɪznz 
raɪt 
ˌrɛprɪˈzɛntətɪvz
ˈɔːgənaɪz ˈprəʊtɛsts 
teɪk mɔː ˈdræstɪk ˈækʃ(ə)n 
sʌʧ æz 
ˌriːləʊˈkeɪtɪŋ tuː ə njuː ˈsɪti
ɪn ði ˈɪərə ɒv ˈsəʊʃəl ˈmiːdiə
mɔː ˈpɒsəbl ðæn ˈɛvə bɪˈfɔː 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈpɜːsn 
ˈəʊpnli dɪsˈkʌs 
ˈmɛθədz 
ˈprɛʃə 
ɪnˈkluːdɪŋ ɪn 
ˈmeɪʤə ˌmɛtrəˈpɒlɪtən ˈeərɪəz 
kɒˈlɛktɪvli 
ɪnˈʤɛndə sʌm dɪˈgriː ɒv ˌriːˈfɔːm
aɪˈdɪəli ɪˈnækt lɔːz 
ðə ˈʤɛnərəl ˈpɒpjʊləs

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:

Some today argue that only governments are c__________f c____________________s in cities r___________________m h______________________s. In my opinion, although governments should be the p_____________s, individuals can also o_________d.

O_________________d, only governments have the a_________y to e______t t____________________e. Governments b__________n make d___________s for the b__________t of the e_____________y. A_____________________________________________________e the u_____________g in New York City o____________________y. The authorities there had to c___________h an u____________________________e in a l___________________a. They r____________d by b_________________s that could h_______e many residents, e__________________________t, and c__________________________s to a_____________________s to live n________y the city. These solutions could only have been s____________y u_____________n a__________________f the government.

However, t___________h the role of individuals is l__________________t, it still e______s. I_______________________e, v_________s in New York City were able to m______________________d by v______g for m_______s and g____________s that b_____________________m. I______________________t the government is n_________________g housing problems s_____________y, then c__________s can w_____e to their r_________________s, o__________________s, or t___________________________n s__________s r_____________________________y. I___________________________a, it is now m_____________________________e for the a_______________n to o________________s these issues. Individuals will always find m___________s to p________e governments, i______________n areas related to housing.

In conclusion, I disagree with those who contend only government action can improve housing issues in m__________________________s as individuals can c_______________y always e_____________r s____________________m. Governments will i_____________________s based on the needs of t____________________e.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching from YouTube below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

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

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-24/singapore-s-housing-shortage-risks-bid-to-cool-home-prices

Speaking Practice

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

Where you Live

  1. Where is your hometown?
  2. Would you like to live there in the future?
  3. What don’t you like about your home?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some believe that because everyone needs a place to live, governments should provide houses for those who are too poor to afford their own.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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