TASK 2 WRITING – THE INTRODUCTION

We have talked a lot about Task 1 essays over the past 5 weeks or so and I want to take a break for a day or two to mention some very important aspects of Task 2 Writing.

Here is a Task 2 question:

“Some people argue that early marriage is part of traditional lifestyle in some countries and should be respected. Others say it is damaging to young girls and their future.
Discuss both sides of this issue and give your own opinion.”

While there are many ways this question can be answered, the simplest way to achieve a high score is to make sure you give avery clear position right in the introduction.

Look at what the Public Band Descriptors say at Band 7 under Task Response:

“presents a clear position throughout the response”

Given this information, it may not be a good idea to write an introduction like:

“This essay looks at ideas in favour of and against early marriage.”

or

“This essay will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of early marriage and give my opinion.”

or even this, which someone is teaching candidates in Bangkok:

“This essay will look at the pros and cons of early marriage and after our consideration I will give my opinion.”

While these introductions do give a clear position about what the candidate is going to write, none of them make cleat what the candidate believes and this makes the whole essay a little less clear than it could be.

These introduction fail to give a clear opinion in the introduction and the next two paragraphs, if they just list the advantages and disadvantages, may also fail to make it clear where the writer stands.

If the writer then leaves their opinion to the conclusion, it may not be clear at all and this could mean the candidate has not addressed one part of the task and would lead to a Band 5 for Task Response according to the Public Band Descriptors:

“addresses the task only partially”

So what could the writer have done to solve this problem?

One approach might be something like this (second sentence of the introduction):

“While some people may suggest that early marriage is simply a reflection of culture and tradition, this argument fails to take into account the damage and devastation it can cause in the lives of many young girls.”

The very strong language “damage and devastation”, makes it very clear where the writer stands even though they have not written “I think” anywhere.

This also sounds like it is going to be a much more interesting essay to read.

Try it out. Take a position and make it clear. It is not too hard once you get the idea.

NOTE:
This example is really written at a quite high level. Here is a simpler version that also gives a clear opinion:

“While some people may suggest that early marriage is simply a tradition, it is clear that it is unfair to the girl.”

Of course, it does’t matter which side of the argument you take:

“While some people think that early marriage is bad for girls, it is an important part of several traditional cultures and should be respected.”

Both these are simpler than the example above and both give a very clear opinion of where the writer stands.

We will talk more about introductions tomorrow as I would normally advise students to write a 2 sentence introduction where the sentences shown here would actually be the SECOND SENTENCE of the introduction.