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

This essay is longer than the ones I usually write – I recommend writing under 300 words.

But for this topic I had some ideas I really wanted to write about so it is a little on the long side – no harm to that!

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Outrage

There is more and more outrage and anger common in society today.

Why is this?

Is this a positive or a negative development?

There is a common perception today that people are generally angrier than they were in the past. In my opinion, this is a fundamentally negative psychological phenomenon exacerbated by modern technology.

The main reason there are higher levels of anger in society is individuals are vulnerable to the pleasure of feeling outrage. Human beings are naturally attracted to activities that produce the release of certain endorphins. These actions include positive outlets such as exercising and spending time with others and more harmful ones like eating unhealthy foods and abusing narcotic stimulants. Outrage also has the added benefit of a self-esteem boost. The narcotic-like effects of outrage over time become addictive, especially in the current technological age. A person can browse the news and read stories that provoke anger, scroll through social media, and engage in so-called “hate watching” of popular pundits on television espousing extreme views. All these addictive pastimes are available on mobile devices, creating an environment where access to outrage is too readily accessible to be ignored.

In my opinion, outrage endangers the ability of individuals in a society to understand each other and work towards shared goals. When individuals pursue outrage as an end in itself, they are no longer communicating honestly. For example, many online trolls post and engage with other users mainly to provoke and feel outrage themselves with little concern for truth and honest debate. This creates an atmosphere wherein people become increasingly distrustful and alienated from one another. In order for a person to change their views and make actual progress in the world, they must be willing to listen to and understand the arguments of the other side. When this occurs, both sides feel some degree of commonality. However, if neither side is engaging in good-faith conversations, then the unproductive outcome is merely to feel more and more outraged and accomplish less and less.

In conclusion, seeking outrage is fundamentally human, though it leads to a breakdown in social cohesion. People should cultivate healthier habits and abstain from easy, pleasurable feelings of outrage.

Analysis

1. There is a common perception today that people are generally angrier than they were in the past. 2. In my opinion, this is a fundamentally negative psychological phenomenon exacerbated by modern technology.

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

1. The main reason there are higher levels of anger in society is individuals are vulnerable to the pleasure of feeling outrage. 2. Human beings are naturally attracted to activities that produce the release of certain endorphins. 3. These actions include positive outlets such as exercising and spending time with others and more harmful ones like eating unhealthy foods and abusing narcotic stimulants. 4. Outrage also has the added benefit of a self-esteem boost. 5. The narcotic-like effects of outrage over time become addictive, especially in the current technological age. 6. A person can browse the news and read stories that provoke anger, scroll through social media, and engage in so-called “hate watching” of popular pundits on television espousing extreme views. 7. All these addictive pastimes are available on mobile devices, creating an environment where access to outrage is too readily accessible to be ignored.

  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. You can sometimes include the counterpoint here too.
  6. This essay is a bit long…
  7. Finish strong.

1. In my opinion, outrage endangers the ability of individuals in a society to understand each other and work towards shared goals. 2. When individuals pursue outrage as an end in itself, they are no longer communicating honestly. 3. For example, many online trolls post and engage with other users mainly to provoke and feel outrage themselves with little concern for truth and honest debate. 4. This creates an atmosphere wherein people become increasingly distrustful and alienated from one another. 5. In order for a person to change their views and make actual progress in the world, they must be willing to listen to and understand the arguments of the other side. 6. When this occurs, both sides feel some degree of commonality. 7. However, if neither side is engaging in good-faith conversations, then the unproductive outcome is merely to feel more and more outraged and accomplish less and less.

  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. Continue your development.
  6. Best to write shorter essays than this.
  7. Use a variety of grammar.

1. In conclusion, seeking outrage is fundamentally human, though it leads to a breakdown in social cohesion. 2. People should cultivate healthier habits and abstain from easy, pleasurable feelings of outrage.

  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.

There is a common perception today that people are generally angrier than they were in the past. In my opinion, this is a fundamentally negative psychological phenomenon exacerbated by modern technology.

The main reason there are higher levels of anger in society is individuals are vulnerable to the pleasure of feeling outrage. Human beings are naturally attracted to activities that produce the release of certain endorphins. These actions include positive outlets such as exercising and spending time with others and more harmful ones like eating unhealthy foods and abusing narcotic stimulants. Outrage also has the added benefit of a self-esteem boost. The narcotic-like effects of outrage over time become addictive, especially in the current technological age. A person can browse the news and read stories that provoke anger, scroll through social media, and engage in so-called “hate watching” of popular pundits on television espousing extreme views. All these addictive pastimes are available on mobile devices, creating an environment where access to outrage is too readily accessible to be ignored.

In my opinion, outrage endangers the ability of individuals in a society to understand each other and work towards shared goals. When individuals pursue outrage as an end in itself, they are no longer communicating honestly. For example, many online trolls post and engage with other users mainly to provoke and feel outrage themselves with little concern for truth and honest debate. This creates an atmosphere wherein people become increasingly distrustful and alienated from one another. In order for a person to change their views and make actual progress in the world, they must be willing to listen to and understand the arguments of the other side. When this occurs, both sides feel some degree of commonality. However, if neither side is engaging in good-faith conversations, then the unproductive outcome is merely to feel more and more outraged and accomplish less and less.

In conclusion, seeking outrage is fundamentally human, though it leads to a breakdown in social cohesion. People should cultivate healthier habits and abstain from easy, pleasurable feelings of outrage.

Answers

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

There is a common perception today that many think now

generally angrier more outrage overall

in the past before

fundamentally negative psychological phenomenon exacerbated by modern technology basically bad human trait made worse by technology today

main reason biggest cause of

higher levels of more of it

vulnerable weak when it comes to

pleasure feeling good

outrage

naturally attracted to of course susceptible to

produce the release of certain endorphins happy feelings in the brain

positive outlets good expressions of

harmful hurts

abusing narcotic stimulants using drugs

added benefit another positive

self-esteem boost feel better about yourself

The narcotic-like effects of outrage over time become addictive, especially in the current technological age the drug addiction coming from feeling angry is hard to resist especially because of smartphones, social media, etc.

read stories that provoke anger follow news that is upsetting

scroll through social media look through Facebook, Instagram, etc.

engage in so-called “hate watching” of popular pundits on television espousing extreme views watch shows you dislike with commentators saying strong opinions

addictive pastimes activities you can’t stop doing

available on mobile devices can be used on phones

creating an environment where access to outrage making an atmosphere where people get angry easily

too readily accessible to be ignored too easy to get

endangers risks

understand each other communicate with others

work towards shared goals accomplish things together

pursue outrage as an end in itself try to make yourself angry

no longer communicating honestly not having honest conversations

online trolls post and engage with other users mainly to provoke and feel outrage themselves people online make others and themselves angry

little concern for truth and honest debate not caring about real conversations

creates an atmosphere wherein make an atmosphere in which

increasingly distrustful and alienated from one another more and more unreliable and people get further way from each other

In order for a person to change their views so a person changes their mind

actual progress real development

listen to and understand the arguments of the other side communicate with others honestly and feel empathy

feel some degree of commonality feel close to others

if neither side is engaging in good-faith conversations neither one is interested in having a real talk

unproductive outcome nothing will come of it

merely simply

feel more and more outraged and accomplish less and less get angrier and angrier and get less done

seeking outrage trying to make yourself angry

fundamentally human basic part of human nature

leads to a breakdown in social cohesion people don’t get along any more

cultivate healthier habits live better

abstain from easy stay away from simple

pleasurable feelings of outrage happy feelings of anger

Pronunciation

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

ðeər ɪz ə ˈkɒmən pəˈsɛpʃən təˈdeɪ ðæt 
ˈʤɛnərəli ˈæŋgrɪə 
ɪn ðə pɑːst 
ˌfʌndəˈmɛntli ˈnɛgətɪv ˌsaɪkəˈlɒʤɪkəl fɪˈnɒmɪnən ɛksˈæsə(ː)beɪtɪd baɪ ˈmɒdən tɛkˈnɒləʤi
meɪn ˈriːzn 
ˈhaɪə ˈlɛvlz ɒv 
ˈvʌlnərəbl 
ˈplɛʒə 
ˈaʊtreɪʤ
ˈnæʧrəli əˈtræktɪd tuː 
ˈprɒdjuːs ðə rɪˈliːs ɒv ˈsɜːtn endɒrphəns
ˈpɒzətɪv ˈaʊtlɛts 
ˈhɑːmfʊl 
əˈbjuːzɪŋ nɑːˈkɒtɪk ˈstɪmjʊlənts
ˈædɪd ˈbɛnɪfɪt 
sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm buːst
ðə nɑːˈkɒtɪk-laɪk ɪˈfɛkts ɒv ˈaʊtreɪʤ ˈəʊvə taɪm bɪˈkʌm əˈdɪktɪvɪsˈpɛʃəli ɪn ðə ˈkʌrənt ˌtɛknəˈlɒʤɪk(ə)l eɪʤ
riːd ˈstɔːriz ðæt prəˈvəʊk ˈæŋgə
skrəʊl θruː ˈsəʊʃəl ˈmiːdiə 
ɪnˈgeɪʤ ɪn ˈsəʊˈkɔːld “heɪt ˈwɒʧɪŋ” ɒv ˈpɒpjʊlə ˈpʌndɪts ɒn ˈtɛlɪˌvɪʒən ɪsˈpaʊzɪŋ ɪksˈtriːm vjuːz
əˈdɪktɪv ˈpɑːstaɪmz 
əˈveɪləbl ɒn ˈməʊbaɪl dɪˈvaɪsɪz
kri(ː)ˈeɪtɪŋ ən ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt weər ˈæksɛs tuː ˈaʊtreɪʤ 
tuː ˈrɛdɪli əkˈsɛsəbl tuː biː ɪgˈnɔːd
ɪnˈdeɪnʤəz 
ˌʌndəˈstænd iːʧ ˈʌðə 
wɜːk təˈwɔːdz ʃeəd gəʊlz
pəˈsjuː ˈaʊtreɪʤ æz ən ɛnd ɪn ɪtˈsɛlf
nəʊ ˈlɒŋgə kəˈmjuːnɪkeɪtɪŋ ˈɒnɪstli
ˈɒnˌlaɪn trəʊlz pəʊst ænd ɪnˈgeɪʤ wɪð ˈʌðə ˈjuːzəz ˈmeɪnli tuː prəˈvəʊk ænd fiːl ˈaʊtreɪʤ ðəmˈsɛlvz 
ˈlɪtl kənˈsɜːn fɔː truːθ ænd ˈɒnɪst dɪˈbeɪt 
kri(ː)ˈeɪts ən ˈætməsfɪə weərˈɪn 
ɪnˈkriːsɪŋli dɪsˈtrʌstfʊl ænd ˈeɪliəneɪtɪd frɒm wʌn əˈnʌðə
ɪn ˈɔːdə fɔːr ə ˈpɜːsn tuː ʧeɪnʤ ðeə vjuːz 
ˈækʧʊəl ˈprəʊgrəs 
ˈlɪsn tuː ænd ˌʌndəˈstænd ði ˈɑːgjʊmənts ɒv ði ˈʌðə saɪd
fiːl sʌm dɪˈgriː ɒv kommənaliti
ɪf ˈnaɪðə saɪd ɪz ɪnˈgeɪʤɪŋ ɪn gʊd-feɪθ ˌkɒnvəˈseɪʃənz
ˌʌnprəˈdʌktɪv ˈaʊtkʌm 
ˈmɪəli 
fiːl mɔːr ænd mɔːr ˈaʊtreɪʤd ænd əˈkɒmplɪʃ lɛs ænd lɛs
ˈsiːkɪŋ ˈaʊtreɪʤ 
ˌfʌndəˈmɛntli ˈhjuːmən
liːdz tuː ə ˈbreɪkˌdaʊn ɪn ˈsəʊʃəl kəʊˈhiːʒən
ˈkʌltɪveɪt ˈhɛlθɪə ˈhæbɪts 
əbˈsteɪn frɒm ˈiːzi
ˈplɛʒərəbl ˈfiːlɪŋz ɒv ˈaʊtreɪʤ

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:

T______________________________________t people are g__________________r than they were i___________________t. In my opinion, this is a f_________________________________________________________________________y.

The m__________________n there are h_________________f anger in society is individuals are v_____________e to the p______________e of feeling o_________e. Human beings are n________________________o activities that p________________________________________________________s. These actions include p____________________s such as exercising and spending time with others and more h_____________l ones like eating unhealthy foods and a________________________________s. Outrage also has the a_____________________t of a s______________________t. T___________________________________________________________________e, e_____________________________________________________e. A person can browse the news and r_______________________________r, s____________________________________a, and e________________________________________________________________________s. All these a______________________s are a______________________________s, c_______________________________________________e is t____________________________________d.

In my opinion, outrage e______________s the ability of individuals in a society to u_________________________r and w___________________________s. When individuals p___________________________________f, they are n_________________________________y. For example, many o___________________________________________________________________________________s with l__________________________________________e. This c__________________________________________________________n people become i_______________________________________________r. I______________________________________________s and make a__________________s in the world, they must be willing to l____________________________________________________e. When this occurs, both sides f_____________________________________y. However, i_________________________________________________s, then the u__________________________e is m_______y to f__________________________________________________________s.

In conclusion, s_________________e is f____________________n, though it l____________________________________________n. People should c_________________________________________s and a__________________________y, p____________________________________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.npr.org/2019/10/09/768489375/how-outrage-is-hijacking-our-culture-and-our-minds

Speaking Practice

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

Reading

  1. Do you enjoy reading?
  2. What kinds of books do you like?
  3. Do you have a favorite author?
  4. Is reading a popular pastime in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topics below:

Some children spend hours every day on smartphones.

Why is this the case?

Do you think this is a positive or negative development?


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