This is the latest in my series of sample IELTS essays. You can read a discussion of how to approach the essay, read the essay and then do an interactive exercise to help you write the essay.
The question needs to be answered
Some people prefer to live in a house, while others think that there are more advantages living in an apartment. Are there more advantages than disadvantages to living in a house rather than in an apartment?
Note the question is “Are there more advantages…”. This means that it is not enough just to talk about advantages and disadvantages generally, you have a specific question to answer.
Vocabulary problem – repetition
While the topic of the essay looks quite easy, there are a few vocabulary problems that need to be faced. The question uses these words:
If you are not careful, you will find yourself repeating these words a lot in your essay. Have a look at some of the variations I offer you:
advantage and disadvantage
Tip: make sure you don’t repeat words from the question too often.
house and apartment
This one is not so easy. There aren’t so many choices and it is certainly better to repeat the correct word “house” than to try something odd like “place of habitation”!
What I did do though was try and think of some related words or detail words. This helps not just to vary my vocabulary, but to give me more ideas.
This is another tricky one where you can find yourself repeating a word from the question without realising it. In fact, there are lots of options here. Some of my choices include:
Tip: when you check your writing, check for repetition. It’s normally easy to see and correct. You may never recognise your grammar mistakes.
I have deliberately kept my sentence structure very simple here. The one complex structure I do use is “if”. Note how often I use it to develop my points or to give examples. It is a very useful structure.
Some people prefer to live in a house, while others think that there are more advantages living in an apartment.
Are there more advantages than disadvantages to living in a house rather than in an apartment?
Many people nowadays face a difficult decision when they buy their own home. The question is whether they should buy a house or an apartment. There would seem to be clear benefits and drawbacks to both options.
Perhaps the major advantage of living in a house is the issue of privacy. Typically, there is more opportunity for peace and quiet, if you live in a house. This is particularly the case if it is a detached house. Other significant advantages are that houses are generally more spacious and on the whole have gardens. This is especially important if there is a family so that the children can have a safe environment to play in. If, however, you live in a tower block, then the children may have to play outside on the pavement.
There are, of course, negative aspects to living in houses. The greatest of these is that they tend to be more expensive to purchase and to maintain. Indeed, a large majority of people choose to live in apartments because they cannot afford the mortgage to buy a house. Another possible problem is that there are fewer houses in cities than the countryside. So if you like urban life, it may be preferable to live in an apartment. A second reason to avoid living in a house is that there is a greater sense of community to life in an apartment.
My conclusion would be that this is a well-balanced issue. There are probably an equal number of pros and cons to making either choice. Ultimately, whether you decide to live in a cottage in the countryside or a duplex in the city depends on your own personality, family and financial circumstances.
Download the essaySample IELTS essay - houses and apartments (3950)
Learn to write the essay
Try this exercise that will help you write the essay. While the grammar is simple, the essay contains lots of good vocabulary from the Academic Word List.