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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of watching TV, movies, and other programmes alone from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Watching TV and Movies Alone

People these days watch TV, films and other programmes alone rather than with other people.

Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

Due to the advent of streaming services and personal computers it has become increasingly common for individuals to watch entertainment alone rather than with friends and family. In my opinion, this is overall a negative development despite the conveniences it offers.

The advantages of more insular viewing habits relate to individual convenience. Firstly, this concerns choice. A Netflix subscriber is able to choose from a wide range of current and past entertainment without having to consult others. This means they are more likely to choose programming relevant to their tastes. Secondly, watching shows alone allows for greater flexibility. An individual can pause, switch to another program, re-watch shows, and transition between a variety of portable devices. Each of these decisions does not require negotiation with others and can be made depending on a person’s mood and preferences.

However, I believe the tradeoffs related to social cohesion are more pressing concerns. Society has become increasingly insular in general due to the pervasiveness of one-sided technological interactions on devices such as smartphones and laptops. This transition has loosened social bonds between family members, friends, significant others, and society at large. In the past, a family might watch a television show together, joke about it, discuss it, and then have a common point of reference for later conversations. This is now less likely and many consumers now spend an outsized amount of time alone, limiting their exposure to other perspectives. Over time, the effects on mental health and social unity may be drastic and difficult to reverse.

In conclusion, although watching shows alone has benefits in terms of personal choice, the drawbacks related to social interaction make it a negative on the whole. Individuals should strive to limit the time they spend alone watching TV shows and movies.

Analysis

1. Due to the advent of streaming services and personal computers it has become increasingly common for individuals to watch entertainment alone rather than with friends and family. 2. In my opinion, this is overall a negative development despite the conveniences it offers.

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

1. The advantages of more insular viewing habits relate to individual convenience. 2. Firstly, this concerns choice. 3. A Netflix subscriber is able to choose from a wide range of current and past entertainment without having to consult others. 4. This means they are more likely to choose programming relevant to their tastes. 5. Secondly, watching shows alone allows for greater flexibility. 6. An individual can pause, switch to another program, re-watch shows, and transition between a variety of portable devices. 7. Each of these decisions does not require negotiation with others and can be made depending on a person’s mood and preferences.

  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. You can have some long sentences like this to really argue your point.
  6. Be sure that you develop two advantages.
  7. And both of them fully.

1. However, I believe the tradeoffs related to social cohesion are more pressing concerns. 2. Society has become increasingly insular in general due to the pervasiveness of one-sided technological interactions on devices such as smartphones and laptops. 3. This transition has loosened social bonds between family members, friends, significant others, and society at large. 4. In the past, a family might watch a television show together, joke about it, discuss it, and then have a common point of reference for later conversations. 5. This is now less likely and many consumers now spend an outsized amount of time alone, limiting their exposure to other perspectives. 6. Over time, the effects on mental health and social unity may be drastic and difficult to reverse.

  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 sentence.

1. In conclusion, although watching shows alone has benefits in terms of personal choice, the drawbacks related to social interaction make it a negative on the whole. 2. Individuals should strive to limit the time they spend alone watching TV shows and movies.

  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.

Due to the advent of streaming services and personal computers it has become increasingly common for individuals to watch entertainment alone rather than with friends and family. In my opinion, this is overall a negative development despite the conveniences it offers.

The advantages of more insular viewing habits relate to individual convenience. Firstly, this concerns choice. A Netflix subscriber is able to choose from a wide range of current and past entertainment without having to consult others. This means they are more likely to choose programming relevant to their tastes. Secondly, watching shows alone allows for greater flexibility. An individual can pause, switch to another program, re-watch shows, and transition between a variety of portable devices. Each of these decisions does not require negotiation with others and can be made depending on a person’s mood and preferences.

However, I believe the tradeoffs related to social cohesion are more pressing concerns. Society has become increasingly insular in general due to the pervasiveness of one-sided technological interactions on devices such as smartphones and laptops. This transition has loosened social bonds between family members, friends, significant others, and society at large. In the past, a family might watch a television show together, joke about it, discuss it, and then have a common point of reference for later conversations. This is now less likely and many consumers now spend an outsized amount of time alone, limiting their exposure to other perspectives. Over time, the effects on mental health and social unity may be drastic and difficult to reverse.

In conclusion, although watching shows alone has benefits in terms of personal choice, the drawbacks related to social interaction make it a negative on the whole. Individuals should strive to limit the time they spend alone watching TV shows and movies.

Answers

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

due to because of

advent beginning of

streaming services Netflix, Apple TV, etc.

personal computers laptops, desktops

increasingly common happens more often

alone by yourself

rather than instead of

overall on the whole

negative bad

despite regardless of

conveniences how easy it is

offers allows for

insular viewing habits watching shows alone

relate to has to do with

concerns choice has to do with freedom of deciding

subscriber person who signs up and pays monthly

wide range lots of

current right now

consult check with

more likely better chance it will happen

programming relevant shows they are interested in

tastes preferences

greater flexibility more choice and ability to change

pause stop

switch go to another show

re-watch watch again

transition change

a variety of portable devices many different kinds of phones, tablets, etc.

negotiation talking over with, debating

depending on comes down to

mood feeling

preferences what you like/dislike

tradeoffs disadvantages

social cohesion people getting along

pressing concerns big worries

insular alone

pervasiveness very common

one-sided technological interactions just watching things passively

devices smartphones, computers, etc.

loosened social bonds weakened relationships

significant others girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse

at large all together

common point of reference something in common

less likely not as strong a chance of happening

consumers people who buy/shop

outsized amount of time more time than they should

limiting keeping under control

exposure time spent with

perspectives viewpoints

mental health how you feel emotionally, mentally

social unity people coming together

drastic extreme

reverse go back to the way it was

in terms of when it comes to

on the whole overall

strive try hard

Pronunciation

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

djuː tuː 
ˈædvənt 
ˈstriːmɪŋ ˈsɜːvɪsɪz 
ˈpɜːsnl kəmˈpjuːtəz 
ɪnˈkriːsɪŋli ˈkɒmən 
əˈləʊn 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn 
ˈəʊvərɔːl 
ˈnɛgətɪv 
dɪsˈpaɪt 
kənˈviːniənsɪz 
ˈɒfəz
ˈɪnsjʊlə ˈvjuːɪŋ ˈhæbɪts 
rɪˈleɪt tuː 
kənˈsɜːnz ʧɔɪs
səbˈskraɪbə 
waɪd reɪnʤ 
ˈkʌrənt 
kənˈsʌlt 
mɔː ˈlaɪkli 
ˈprəʊgræmɪŋ ˈrɛlɪvənt 
teɪsts
ˈgreɪtə ˌflɛksɪˈbɪlɪti
pɔːz
swɪʧ 
riː-wɒʧ 
trænˈzɪʃ(ə)n 
ə vəˈraɪəti ɒv ˈpɔːtəbl dɪˈvaɪsɪz
nɪˌgəʊʃɪˈeɪʃən 
dɪˈpɛndɪŋ ɒn 
muːd 
ˈprɛfərənsɪz
tradeoffs 
ˈsəʊʃəl kəʊˈhiːʒən 
ˈprɛsɪŋ kənˈsɜːnz
ˈɪnsjʊlə 
pɜːˈveɪsɪvnəs 
wʌn-ˈsaɪdɪd ˌtɛknəˈlɒʤɪk(ə)l ˌɪntərˈækʃənz 
dɪˈvaɪsɪz 
trænˈzɪʃ(ə)n 
ˈluːsnd ˈsəʊʃəl bɒndz 
sɪgˈnɪfɪkənt ˈʌðəz
æt lɑːʤ
ˈkɒmən pɔɪnt ɒv ˈrɛfrəns 
lɛs ˈlaɪkli 
kənˈsjuːməz 
ˈaʊtsaɪzd əˈmaʊnt ɒv taɪm 
ˈlɪmɪtɪŋ 
ɪksˈpəʊʒə 
pəˈspɛktɪvz
ˈmɛntl hɛlθ 
ˈsəʊʃəl ˈjuːnɪti 
ˈdræstɪk 
rɪˈvɜːs
ɪn tɜːmz ɒv 
ɒn ðə həʊl
straɪv 

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:

D_______o the a_______t of s___________________s and p_____________________s it has become i______________________n for individuals to watch entertainment a_______e r_____________n with friends and family. In my opinion, this is o_________l a n__________e development d__________e the c________________s it o________s.

The advantages of more i________________________s r________o individual convenience. Firstly, this c________________e. A Netflix s____________r is able to choose from a w_____________e of c__________t and past entertainment without having to c_________t others. This means they are m_____________y to choose p_____________________________t to their t_______s. Secondly, watching shows alone allows for g____________________y. An individual can p_______e, s_________h to another program, r___________h shows, and t____________n between a___________________________s. Each of these decisions does not require n________________n with others and can be made d_______________n a person’s m______d and p___________________s.

However, I believe the t____________s related to s______________n are more p_____________________s. Society has become increasingly i_________r in general due to the p_________________s of o________________________________s on d_________s such as smartphones and laptops. This t____________n has l________________________s between family members, friends, s______________________s, and society a_________e. In the past, a family might watch a television show together, joke about it, discuss it, and then have a c_____________________________e for later conversations. This is now l________________y and many c______________s now spend an o_________________________e alone, l_________g their e___________e to other p_____________s. Over time, the effects on m________________h and s________________y may be d__________c and difficult to r__________e.

In conclusion, although watching shows alone has benefits i_____________f personal choice, the drawbacks related to social interaction make it a negative o______________e. Individuals should s________e to limit the time they spend alone watching TV shows and movies.

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/culture/archive/2020/07/netflixs-most-popular-list-is-a-wasteland/614845/

Speaking Practice

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

Spending Time Alone

  1. Do you spend a lot of time by yourself?
  2. What do you usually do when you’re by yourself?
  3. Do you prefer spending time alone or with your friends?
  4. Is it important to have time for yourself?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Nowadays children watch much more television than they did in the past and spend less time being active or creative.

What is the reason for this?

What measures should be taken to encourage children to be more active?


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