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Learn English: What do you think about smartphones?

Hands holding a smartphone
This lesson is a writing task response to a question about smartphones.

Pexels CC: Kote Baeza

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Writing a balanced argument and expressing your opinion are important skills that are assessed in English tests. In this lesson, we look at a sample question about smartphones and learn how to structure a written response.

This question is asking you to present a balanced argument and offer your opinion. A balanced argument involves presenting arguments for and against the issue that is being presented.

There should be four paragraphs in your response:

  1. An introduction
  2. An argument that agrees/disagrees with the statement
  3. An argument that disagrees/agrees with the statement
  4. A conclusion with your opinion

Introduction

It's important to identify the key issues in the essay question and demonstrate an understanding of different points of view in the introduction. You should also indicate your own stance in the introduction.

Young woman looking at a smartphone that she is holding in her hand
Smartphones offer convenient and easy to use ways to communicate.

Unsplash: Luke Porter


Agreeing with the statement

Can you think of some reasons in support of the essay statement and question? How can smartphones be "useful for everyday life"?

You can start this paragraph with a topic sentence, indicating that you'll be talking about reasons why smartphones are "useful for everyday life".

Provide a more detailed answer by following up with sentences that begin with transitions.

"Moreover, most people need to commute or travel at some point in the day. There are numerous smartphone apps that assist significantly with that. For example, there are map apps that tell you your location and how to get to a particular destination. There are also transport apps that tell you when the next bus or train will arrive."

Man standing on a train platform looking at his smartphone.
Smartphones are useful tools for getting around but they can also be distractions from the world around us.

Unsplash: Clem Onojeghuo

Disagreeing with the statement

Can you think of some reasons against the essay statement and question? Can smartphones be "damaging to our health and relationships", despite being "useful for everyday life"?

In this example, we have to clearly address both the effects of smartphone usage on our health and our relationships.

Again, start with a topic sentence that signals what the paragraph will be about:

While it is true that smartphones are convenient tools, they ultimately create harmful habits that have flow-on effects on our health and relationships with one other.

"We all know that long periods of screen time on our phones can damage our eyes. However, we still continue to use them regularly because the convenience and accessibility of smartphones make them difficult to put down."

Concluding with your opinion

Conclude your response by clearly stating your opinion and summarising the main ideas that you have expressed.

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