Day 18: Advantages and Disadvantages

This lesson brings together many aspects of the LEXICAL RESOURCE criteria

  • using ‘less common‘ words = ADVANCED vocabulary
  • being ‘precise‘ = choosing the right word, synonym or collocation

This is a LONG video (sorry) but it does review a lot of what we’ve done so far.

Before you watch

Which sentence is more effective?

1. Arguments will be present defeating the idea that the executive power has the duty of submitting basic elements like health treatment without charge, reputable schools, and an adequate job offer, so the people can seize the opportunity to have a beneficial life, taking from the public administration the direct obligation of assisting them.

2. Some people believe that it is the government’s responsibility to provide basic facilities such as healthcare, education and employment.

Some advice

I’m sure you guessed that Sentence #2 is much more effective. Sentence #1 is an attempt to use more complex, less common words but this does not improve the quality of the writing.

There are many social media ‘lists’ that advise you to choose ‘more advanced’ words, BUT these lists are often wrong.

You should NOT try to learn lists of ‘advanced words’, or choose a complex word when a simple one is just as good.

Remember that CLARITY is more important than COMPLEXITY.

Don’t try to be over-complex, especially when it comes to grammar. Long, complicated sentences can be confusing and your main arguments will get lost.

Also, don’t try to be over-ambitious on test day – only use words/phrases/collocations that you have tested out beforehand, that you have SEEN in model essays/in your reading, and that you KNOW are correct.

In this lesson, we’re focusing on the Band 7 Descriptor “How to use LESS COMMON WORDS”.

We will examine a set of words to describe the POSITIVE and NEGATIVE aspects of any situation, and we will just on the language of the ‘So what?’ sentences (results, outcomes, consequences).

Advantages and Disadvantages Essays

What are typical Advantages/Disadvantages questions?

1. Easy

  • What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of this development? 
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your opinion.

2. Medium

  • Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

3. More difficult

  • In what ways has this affected [people’s lives]? Is this a positive or negative development?

Please refer to the worksheet for all of the useful language for Advantage/Disadvantage essays.

Practice Essay

Nowadays the way modern society is developing is being shaped by people’s migration to large cities.

In what ways is migration to large cities affecting society? Is this a positive or negative development?

Possible answer

Cities have always been an engine of development worldwide, attracting people and resources, but nowadays the pace of change is increasing rapidly. As a result, modern society is now more urbanized than at any time in its history and societies are experiencing both negative and positive changes. This essay argues that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

One possible negative development is the danger that through migration, society may generally become more selfish, using up resources in terms of energy, food and facilities at a faster rate than in the countryside. It is also likely that once people lose contact with the values, traditions, and the languages of the communities they left behind, society will undergo further change. This loss of culture and community can leave people feeling isolated and bereft.

However, migration also benefits society. Large cities are dynamic and in a state of flux, offering people opportunities such as jobs and the chance to try out new ideas. The contribution of such ideas to the wealth of any country can transform society enormously, funding more facilities in fields such as health and education. innovative ways of living – for example eco-houses and flexible working practices like partially working from home – can, in turn, affect the whole of society. The quality of life for city inhabitants can then be significantly improved, which in turn stimulates growth and improvements in rural areas.

On balance, in my opinion the contribution made by migration to society is positive and the transformation is not restricted to cities alone. It can stimulate developments beyond city boundaries, creating wealth, ideas, jobs and improvements in society at large.

270 words

How the lesson will help:

The advantage-disdvantage essay is easy to structure:





This lesson will focus on the language of advantages and disadvantages.


Why you need to do it:

In this lesson you will review

  • structures
  • language of results/effects
  • language of solutions
  • ways of describing advantages and disadvantages
  • noun forms
  • conclusions

It is a good way to review all the Task 2 lessons.


What you need to do:

1. Watch the video.

2. Do the tasks on the worksheet.

3. Look at other advantages/disadvantages essays.

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