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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of society and individuals from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Society and Individuals

Some people think young people should follow the traditions of their society. Others think that they should be free to behave as individuals.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Many today feel that it is crucial for younger generations to follow the traditions of their country rather than their own individual inclinations. In my opinion, though there is value to such self-expression, upholding tradition is more important.

Those who are in support of younger people prioritising their individuality argue this is key to happiness. The true pursuit of happiness requires an individual to define their goals and accomplish them on their own terms. A counterexample illustrating this point would be the rigid, hierarchical societies of the past wherein women had fewer rights of self-expression. Most women in the past did not receive an education and were effectively blocked from having a career or life outside the traditional confines of a housewife. The narrow range of experiences on offer meant that most women were unable to struggle to find their own version of happiness.

However, since the stigmas of society today are less in conflict with individuals, it is logical to prioritise tradition. Traditions themselves may be forgotten if not respected and adhered to. For example, in many indigenous cultures, younger people are more interested in migrating from their ancestral homes to the cities to lead a modern life. If this occurs in enough numbers, then thousands of unique, distinct cultures will fade into the seemingly inevitable global monoculture. Once this happens, there will be no way to retrieve and enliven past traditions and they will become relics of history rather than living monuments to diversity, creativity, and human ingenuity.

In conclusion, though individual freedom is important, particularly for repressed segments of society, there is greater value in preserving past ways of life. This is difficult to enforce but governments should seek to encourage the latter instead of the former.

Analysis

1. Many today feel that it is crucial for younger generations to follow the traditions of their country rather than their own individual inclinations. 2. In my opinion, though there is value to such self-expression, upholding tradition is more important.

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

1. Those who are in support of younger people prioritising their individuality argue this is key to happiness. 2. The true pursuit of happiness requires an individual to define their goals and accomplish them on their own terms. 3. A counterexample illustrating this point would be the rigid, hierarchical societies of the past wherein women had fewer rights of self-expression. 4. Most women in the past did not receive an education and were effectively blocked from having a career or life outside the traditional confines of a housewife. 5. The narrow range of experiences on offer meant that most women were unable to struggle to find their own version of happiness.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific examples.
  4. Continue to develop it.
  5. State the result.

1. However, since the stigmas of society today are less in conflict with individuals, it is logical to prioritise tradition. 2. Traditions themselves may be forgotten if not respected and adhered to. 3. For example, in many indigenous cultures, younger people are more interested in migrating from their ancestral homes to the cities to lead a modern life. 4. If this occurs in enough numbers, then thousands of unique, distinct cultures will fade into the seemingly inevitable global monoculture. 5. Once this happens, there will be no way to retrieve and enliven past traditions and they will become relics of history rather than living monuments to diversity, creativity, and human ingenuity.

  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. The more specific, the better.
  5. Continue your development.

1. In conclusion, though individual freedom is important, particularly for repressed segments of society, there is greater value in preserving past ways of life. 2. This is difficult to enforce but governments should seek to encourage the latter instead of the former.

  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 and then check below.

Many today feel that it is c__________l for y_____________________s to f____________________s of their country r_____________n their own i___________________s. In my opinion, though there is v______e to such s_______________________n, u___________g tradition is more important.

Those who are in support of younger people p_____________g their individuality a_______e this is k___y to happiness. The t_____________________s r___________s an individual to d________e their goals and a_____________h them o____________________s. A c_________________e illustrating this point would be the r________d, h_______________l societies of the past w___________n women had f___________________________n. Most women in the past did not receive an education and were e__________________d from having a career or life o________________________________________e. The n______________________________r m______t that most women were u________________e to find their own v________n of happiness.

However, since the s_________s of society today are l_________________h individuals, it is l_________l to p__________e tradition. Traditions themselves may be f______________n if not r_______________d and a____________d to. For example, in many i_________________________s, younger people are more interested in m_____________g from their a__________________s to the cities to l___________________e. If this occurs in e______________s, then thousands of u________e, d________t cultures will f_________o the s____________________________________e. Once this happens, there will be no way to r____________e and e___________n past traditions and they will become r__________________y rather than l_______________________s to d___________y, creativity, and h______________________y.

In conclusion, though individual freedom is important, p_________________r r_____________________________y, there is greater value in p__________________g past ways of life. This is difficult to e___________e but governments should s______k to encourage the l_________r instead of the f_________r.

Answers

crucial very important

younger generations young people

follow the traditions maintain ways of the past

rather than instead of

individual inclinations what people want to do

value consider important

self-expression individuality

upholding maintaining

prioritising considering more important

argue debate

key important

true pursuit of happiness real trying to be satisfied

requires needs

define make up

accomplish achieve

on their own terms as they want

counterexample example showing the opposite case

rigid strict, not flexible

hierarchical part of an ordering structure

wherein in which

fewer rights of self-expression less ability to do what they want

effectively blocked in essence stopped

outside the traditional confines of a housewife beyond the normal role of women

narrow range of experiences on offer limited amount of opportunities available

meant implied

unable to struggle can’t attempt

version kind of

stigmas negative stereotypes

less in conflict with not fighting against

logical rational

prioritise consider more important

forgotten not remembered

respected venerated

adhered respected

indigenous cultures native groups

migrating leaving to go to

ancestral homes places where you are from

lead a modern life result in new ways of living

enough numbers more than enough people

unique special

distinct unique

fade into disappear

seemingly inevitable global monoculture apparently unchangeable similarity of cultures

retrieve get back

enliven bring to life

relics of history old reminders

living monuments living reminders

diversity difference

human ingenuity creativity

particularly for especially

repressed segments of society minorities

preserving keeping alive

enforce make sure it happens

seek try to find

latter one mentioned second

former one mentioned before

Pronunciation

ˈkruːʃəl 
ˈjʌŋə ˌʤɛnəˈreɪʃənz 
ˈfɒləʊ ðə trəˈdɪʃənz 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn 
ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl ˌɪnklɪˈneɪʃənz
ˈvæljuː 
sɛlf-ɪksˈprɛʃən
ʌpˈhəʊldɪŋ 
praɪˈɒrɪˌtaɪzɪŋ 
ˈɑːgjuː 
kiː 
truː pəˈsjuːt ɒv ˈhæpɪnɪs 
rɪˈkwaɪəz 
dɪˈfaɪn 
əˈkɒmplɪʃ 
ɒn ðeər əʊn tɜːmz
ˈkaʊntər ɪgˈzɑːmpl 
ˈrɪʤɪd
ˌhaɪərˈɑːkɪkəl 
weərˈɪn 
ˈfjuːə raɪts ɒv sɛlf-ɪksˈprɛʃən
ɪˈfɛktɪvli blɒkt 
ˌaʊtˈsaɪd ðə trəˈdɪʃənl ˈkɒnfaɪnz ɒv ə ˈhaʊswaɪf
ˈnærəʊ reɪnʤ ɒv ɪksˈpɪərɪənsɪz ɒn ˈɒfə 
mɛnt 
ʌnˈeɪbl tuː ˈstrʌgl 
ˈvɜːʃən 
ˈstɪgməz 
lɛs ɪn ˈkɒnflɪkt wɪð 
ˈlɒʤɪkəl 
praɪˈɒrɪˌtaɪz 
fəˈgɒtn 
rɪsˈpɛktɪd 
ədˈhɪəd 
ɪnˈdɪʤɪnəs ˈkʌlʧəz
maɪˈgreɪtɪŋ 
ænˈsɛstrəl həʊmz 
liːd ə ˈmɒdən laɪf
ɪˈnʌf ˈnʌmbəz
juːˈniːk
dɪsˈtɪŋkt 
feɪd ˈɪntuː 
ˈsiːmɪŋli ɪnˈɛvɪtəbl ˈgləʊbəl ˈmɒnəʊ ˈkʌlʧə
rɪˈtriːv 
ɪnˈlaɪvn 
ˈrɛlɪks ɒv ˈhɪstəri 
ˈlɪvɪŋ ˈmɒnjʊmənts 
daɪˈvɜːsɪti
ˈhjuːmən ˌɪnʤɪˈnju(ː)ɪti
pəˈtɪkjʊləli fɔː 
rɪˈprɛst ˈsɛgmənts ɒv səˈsaɪəti
prɪˈzɜːvɪŋ 
ɪnˈfɔːs 
siːk 
ˈlætə 
ˈfɔːmə

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks on a separate piece of paper (to make your learning more memorable):

Many today feel that it is c__________l for y_______________________s to f_____________________s of their country r__________n their own i_______________________s. In my opinion, though there is v_______e to such s____________________n, u___________g tradition is more important.

Those who are in support of younger people p_____________g their individuality a______e this is k___y to happiness. The t___________________________s r_____________s an individual to d________e their goals and a_________________h them o___________________s. A c________________e illustrating this point would be the r_____d, h________________l societies of the past w_________n women had f______________________________n. Most women in the past did not receive an education and were e____________________d from having a career or life o___________________________________________e. The n____________________________________r m________t that most women were u_________________e to find their own v_________n of happiness.

However, since the s_________s of society today are l_________________h individuals, it is l__________l to p__________e tradition. Traditions themselves may be f__________n if not r___________d and a__________d to. For example, in many i______________________s, younger people are more interested in m__________g from their a____________________s to the cities to l_________________________e. If this occurs in e_________________s, then thousands of u__________e, d_________t cultures will f_____________o the s________________________________________________e. Once this happens, there will be no way to r__________e and e__________n past traditions and they will become r_______________________y rather than l____________________s to d___________y, creativity, and h_____________________y.

In conclusion, though individual freedom is important, p__________________r r______________________________y, there is greater value in p___________g past ways of life. This is difficult to e___________e but governments should s_____k to encourage the l_________r instead of the f__________r.

Reading Practice

Read more about a traditional culture below and practice with these activities:

Listening Practice

Watch the video below and practice with some of these ideas:

Speaking Practice

Talk about the following questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Setting Goals

  1. How important is it for people to set goals?
  2. Do people set different goals at different stages of life?
  3. Are personal goals more important than professional goals?
  4. What sort of goals do young people today set?
  5. Are people becoming more pessimistic about their life goals?

Writing Practice

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

Some believe that it is beneficial to show foreign films while others feel this can have a negative impact on local culture.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.


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