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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of the role of sports in society and how important they are from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: The Role of Sports in Society

Some people think that sports play an important role in society. Others think they are nothing more than a leisure activity.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Many feel sports play an essential role in society while others believe they are simply for entertainment and relaxation. From my point of view, though their stated purpose is leisure, sports serve key social and psychological purposes.

The claim that sports are largely just a leisure pastime is based on self-evident facts. Most people watch or participate in sports to release pressure and do not take them as seriously as other parts of life. For example, in England, football is the national sport and many individuals will play in amateur matches, follow their local team, and discuss sports with friends and family. Each of these activities can be broadly defined as a way of relaxing and a purposefully unproductive and enjoyable use of free time. If polled, the majority of individuals would state sports are an important yet entirely recreational part of their lives.

Nonetheless, sports in fact play the essential role of satisfying a number of deep psychological needs. The average sports fan invests a tremendous amount of time and self-esteem in the success or failure of their team. When the team wins, they can bask in the reflected glory and feel proud vicariously. Research has shown that even when a team loses, there is concomitant and addictive communal sensation of misery. Added to this are the variety of human drives that are satisfied by talking about the team, thinking about them in one’s spare time, reading and watching sports media, and being outraged or excited about team transactions. This all takes place within a welcoming community of like-minded individuals that approves of and normalizes this social behavior.

To conclude, despite the ostensible purpose of sports to entertain, they actually allow individuals to satisfy a range of crucial human desires. This makes sports a healthy hobby when not taken to obsessive extremes.

Analysis

1. Many feel sports play an essential role in society while others believe they are simply for entertainment and relaxation. 2. From my point of view, though their stated purpose is leisure, sports serve key social and psychological purposes.

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

1. The claim that sports are largely just a leisure pastime is based on self-evident facts. 2. Most people watch or participate in sports to release pressure and do not take them as seriously as other parts of life. 3. For example, in England, football is the national sport and many individuals will play in amateur matches, follow their local team, and discuss sports with friends and family. 4. Each of these activities can be broadly defined as a way of relaxing and a purposefully unproductive and enjoyable use of free time. 5. If polled, the majority of individuals would state sports are an important yet entirely recreational part of their lives.

  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. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Stay focused on the same main idea.

1. Nonetheless, sports in fact play the essential role of satisfying a number of deep psychological needs. 2. The average sports fan invests a tremendous amount of time and self-esteem in the success or failure of their team. 3. When the team wins, they can bask in the reflected glory and feel proud vicariously. 4. Research has shown that even when a team loses, there is concomitant and addictive communal sensation of misery. 5. Added to this are the variety of human drives that are satisfied by talking about the team, thinking about them in one’s spare time, reading and watching sports media, and being outraged or excited about team transactions. 6. This all takes place within a welcoming community of like-minded individuals that approves of and normalizes this social behavior.

  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!
  6. Conclude with a strong statement.

1. To conclude, despite the ostensible purpose of sports to entertain, they actually allow individuals to satisfy a range of crucial human desires. 2. This makes sports a healthy hobby when not taken to obsessive extremes.

  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 feel sports play an essential role in society while others believe they are simply for entertainment and relaxation. From my point of view, though their stated purpose is leisure, sports serve key social and psychological purposes.

The claim that sports are largely just a leisure pastime is based on self-evident facts. Most people watch or participate in sports to release pressure and do not take them as seriously as other parts of life. For example, in England, football is the national sport and many individuals will play in amateur matches, follow their local team, and discuss sports with friends and family. Each of these activities can be broadly defined as a way of relaxing and a purposefully unproductive and enjoyable use of free time. If polled, the majority of individuals would state sports are an important yet entirely recreational part of their lives.

Nonetheless, sports in fact play the essential role of satisfying a number of deep psychological needs. The average sports fan invests a tremendous amount of time and self-esteem in the success or failure of their team. When the team wins, they can bask in the reflected glory and feel proud vicariously. Research has shown that even when a team loses, there is concomitant and addictive communal sensation of misery. Added to this are the variety of human drives that are satisfied by talking about the team, thinking about them in one’s spare time, reading and watching sports media, and being outraged or excited about team transactions. This all takes place within a welcoming community of like-minded individuals that approves of and normalizes this social behavior.

To conclude, despite the ostensible purpose of sports to entertain, they actually allow individuals to satisfy a range of crucial human desires. This makes sports a healthy hobby when not taken to obsessive extremes.

Answers

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

play an essential role have an important place

while in contrast

simply basically

entertainment something to watch

relaxation a way to chill out

from my point of view in my opinion

stated purpose ostensible reason

serve key social have importance for communities

psychological purposes reasons related to how people think and behave

claim state

largely mostly

leisure pastime hobby in their freetime

based on has its foundation in

self-evident facts obvious truths

participate in do

release pressure de-stress

do not take them as seriously as other parts of life don’t consider it as important as other things in life

national sport most popular sport in a country

amateur matches not professional games

follow closely watch

local team team from your area

discuss talk about

broadly defined widely described

purposefully unproductive intentionally not for a productive reason

enjoyable fun

polled asked questions

state say

yet entirely recreational however just for fun

nonetheless regardless

essential key

satisfying makes you feel fulfilled

deep psychological needs real human desires

invests puts time and money into

tremendous significant

self-esteem how you feel about yourself

failure unsuccessful

bask feel happy/proud, revel in

reflected glory the success of others shining on you

feel proud vicariously feel good about yourself due to the successes of others

research has shown that studies indicate

concomitant related and caused by

addictive can’t stop doing it

communal related to the community and people around your

sensation of misery feeling of unhappiness

added to this also

variety lots of different types

drives desires

satisfied fulfilled

sports media people talking about sports on shows, sites, etc.

outraged angered by

excited feel excitement

transactions making trades, signing players, etc.

takes place happens

within a welcoming community in a group of people who accept you

like-minded individuals similar people

approves of satisfied with

normalizes makes it seem normal

social behavior actions in public and around others

despite regardless of

ostensible purpose stated reason

actually in fact

satisfy fulfill

range wide variety of

crucial human desires important drives in people

healthy hobby worthwhile pastime

not taken not done

obsessive extremes caring too much about

Pronunciation

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

pleɪ ən ɪˈsɛnʃəl rəʊl 
waɪl 
ˈsɪmpli 
ˌɛntəˈteɪnmənt 
ˌriːlækˈseɪʃən
frɒm maɪ pɔɪnt ɒv vjuː
ˈsteɪtɪd ˈpɜːpəs 
sɜːv kiː ˈsəʊʃəl 
ˌsaɪkəˈlɒʤɪkəl ˈpɜːpəsɪz
kleɪm 
ˈlɑːʤli 
ˈlɛʒə ˈpɑːstaɪm 
beɪst ɒn 
sɛlf-ˈɛvɪdənt fækts
pɑːˈtɪsɪpeɪt ɪn 
rɪˈliːs ˈprɛʃə 
duː nɒt teɪk ðɛm æz ˈsɪərɪəsli æz ˈʌðə pɑːts ɒv laɪf
ˈnæʃənl spɔːt 
ˈæmətə(ː) ˈmæʧɪz
ˈfɒləʊ 
ˈləʊkəl tiːm
dɪsˈkʌs 
ˈbrɔːdli dɪˈfaɪnd 
ˈpɜːpəsfʊli ˌʌnprəˈdʌktɪv 
ɪnˈʤɔɪəbl 
pəʊld
steɪt 
jɛt ɪnˈtaɪəli ˌrɛkrɪˈeɪʃənl 
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
ɪˈsɛnʃəl 
ˈsætɪsfaɪɪŋ 
diːp ˌsaɪkəˈlɒʤɪkəl niːdz
ɪnˈvɛsts 
trɪˈmɛndəs 
sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm 
ˈfeɪljə 
bɑːsk 
rɪˈflɛktɪd ˈglɔːri 
fiːl praʊd vaɪˈkeərɪəsli
rɪˈsɜːʧ hæz ʃəʊn ðæt 
kənˈkɒmɪtənt 
əˈdɪktɪv 
ˈkɒmjʊnl 
sɛnˈseɪʃən ɒv ˈmɪzəri
ˈædɪd tuː ðɪs 
vəˈraɪəti 
draɪvz 
ˈsætɪsfaɪd 
spɔːts ˈmiːdiə
ˈaʊtreɪʤd 
ɪkˈsaɪtɪd 
trænˈzækʃənz
teɪks pleɪs 
wɪˈðɪn ə ˈwɛlkəmɪŋ kəˈmjuːnɪti 
ˈlaɪkˈmaɪndɪd ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəlz 
əˈpruːvz ɒv 
ˈnɔːməlaɪzɪz 
ˈsəʊʃəl bɪˈheɪvjə
dɪsˈpaɪt 
ɒsˈtɛnsəbl ˈpɜːpəs 
ˈækʧʊəli 
ˈsætɪsfaɪ 
reɪnʤ 
ˈkruːʃəl ˈhjuːmən dɪˈzaɪəz
ˈhɛlθi ˈhɒbi 
nɒt ˈteɪkən 
əbˈsɛsɪv ɪksˈtriːmz

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 feel sports p_______________________e in society w______e others believe they are s_________y for e________________t and r___________n. F_______________________w, though their s_______________e is leisure, sports s_________________l and p____________________s.

The c_______m that sports are l_________y just a l_____________e is b___________n s_________________s. Most people watch or p______________n sports to r__________________e and d_____________________________________________e. For example, in England, football is the n_______________t and many individuals will play in a________________s, f__________w their l_____________m, and d__________s sports with friends and family. Each of these activities can be b_______________d as a way of relaxing and a p__________________________e and e____________e use of free time. If p___________d, the majority of individuals would s________e sports are an important y________________________l part of their lives.

N_______________s, sports in fact play the e_____________l role of s___________g a number of d_____________________s. The average sports fan i___________s a t_______________s amount of time and s____________m in the success or f___________e of their team. When the team wins, they can b_____k in the r______________y and f_____________________y. R_______________________t even when a team loses, there is c______________t and a____________e c___________l s____________________y. A________________s are the v__________y of human d_________s that are s___________d by talking about the team, thinking about them in one’s spare time, reading and watching s_____________a, and being o__________d or e_________d about team t______________s. This all t_____________e w___________________________y of l_______________________s that a_________________f and n____________s this s________________r.

To conclude, d_________e the o___________________e of sports to entertain, they a___________y allow individuals to s________y a r________e of crucial h_______________s. This makes sports a h______________y when n_________n to o___________________s.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic in the video below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

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

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/01/just-how-much-is-sports-fandom-like-religion/272631/

Speaking Practice

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

Sports

  1. Which sport do you like to play?
  2. Have you ever been on a sports team?
  3. Do you like watching sports on TV?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some countries invest in specialized sports facilities for top athletes but not for the average people.

Is this a positive or negative development?


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