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What is happiness? How can we define it?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
July 19, 2012
2:48 am
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Hello everyone! I am a new member 🙂

Firstly congratulations to the administrator, your work is simply amazing and it helps really a lot of people, so thank you in advance for you response and corrections!

Anyway, I have already taken the IELTS test. I got 7.5 overall but unfortunately I have to to repeat it cause I got 6.5 in the writing task and it is not enough for what I need. Hence, I hope to find the way to improve my writing through this website. Please leave any comment, correction or feedback!

Here my essay:

Happiness is considered very important in life. Why is it difficult to define? What factors are important in achieving happiness?

 Whether we were asked to choose one of the most difficult question, probably we would answer that \'what is happiness?\' might be the hardest one. Not only has its definition struggled philosophers and poets throughout centuries, prompting them to elaborate famous quotes which would have been recalled by the next generations, but even common people have always found themselves coping with this tricky interrogative.

One of the most harsh aspect which affects the definition of the term consists in its basically subjective feature. Indeed, not everyone might agree with a common definition of happiness and undoubtedly each individual would answer in a different way depending on his own preferences or attitudes.

On the other hand, there are some objective elements which might define happiness owing to the fact that everyone would consider them as fundamental in life. For instance, factors such as having good health, fancying job, getting on with family, enjoying spare time are essential components of a model life which should be considered happy.

However, it must be said that, unfortunately, we are nowadays overloaded by \'stereotypes of happiness\' laid out by modern society. For example, some kind of jobs are viewed as the best, whereas atypical activities are often denigrated. As a result, we are frequently prompt to accept instead of choosing what really make our happiness, thus we follow those clues unconsciously.

For these reasons, I strongly believe that in order to reach happiness in their lives, people should freely build it, choosing a job that they like, living in a place which they consider comfortable, hanging around with friends whom they fancy and so on. Hence, I would avoid generalizing the factors which are commonly considered important in achieving happiness. Though, I would better recommend people to feel themselves free to follow their own instinct and feelings; doing this they will automatically elect those factors which most make them happy.

July 19, 2012
4:33 pm
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Welcome to writefix Queen88!

First, I am not a native speaker so my comments may not be correct.

+ Your introduction need a thesis sentence. For example, you should say what you are going to do in your essay.

+ I think your third body paragraph might be off-topic. There are two ideas in the question: "Why is it difficult to define? What factors are important in achieving happiness?". However, I could not identify your answer in the third body paragraph.If I were you, I would write 2 body paragraphs anwering each question one by one instead of three.

+ You should also try to use some linking words like "However, On the other hand" more appropriately. Normally, these phrases are used for giving contrasting ideas.

+ You should not include new ideas in the conclusion. Just summarize the whole essay.

 

That is my opinion. Hope that helps!

July 21, 2012
3:22 am
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Hi Queen88,

 

Thanks for this essay.  I think it's good to have a look at those already-written essays about happiness(http://writefix.com/?page_id=2722/about-this-forum/what-is-happiness-three-essays-1-1). From the quick look I think it would be much better to deal with less complicated language. I guess because you arleady achieved 6.5 and need higher mark thought to use such langauge that in most cases makes your essay vague ( sorry for my language) and higher your mistakes. Look at this intro . The reader cannot find what you are going to say. Higher band score does not mean that you should hide your meaning among some complicated sentences that reader gets into trouble to understand it. I think rewriting the essay would help you.

Whether we were asked to choose one of the most difficult question, probably we would answer that 'what is happiness?' might be the hardest one. Not only has its definition struggled philosophers and poets throughout centuries, prompting them to elaborate famous quotes which would have been recalled by the next generations, but even common people have always found themselves coping with this tricky interrogative.

As you already got 6.5 you are enough good at the writing module. Probaly you had simply some minor errors to achieve Band 7.I think you should focus on clarity to make your essay easy to follow and read. I am sure that you are as much strong as that can leave useful and valuable feedback on our essays.

Best regards,

July 21, 2012
9:09 pm
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Thank you for your answers and advices, particularly about the clarity! Unfortunately i am naturally prompt to write as i wrote in my native language (italian), hence i elaborate complicated sentences because of that but i now it is wrong cause often people cannot get what i want to say ! :S I will definitely work on it!

About the conclusion: are you sure we should just summarize what already said in the main part of the essay? Teachers advised me to keep the 'best' for the conclusion..

July 21, 2012
10:23 pm
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Hello ,

There are some points to how write conclusion. I have some reference. I sent to you check your PM(private message)

 

cheers,

July 22, 2012
7:24 pm
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Hi Queen88 and welcome to Writefix!

It's very interesting to see the different perspectives and styles of writing from so many different places.  Your style is certainly a welcome change. 

I won't say that your essay is too long (it is, slightly, at 316 words), or that your sentences are much too long (they are, at 24.3 words: you can check average sentence length, word count, and many other useful statistics by using one of the two readability links at the top of this page-  this one at read-able.com, or this one at online-utility.org)

Instead....

I'm going to say that I really enjoyed reading the essay. The two biggest problems are word choice (Lexical Resource -  see the official descriptors for IELTS Task 2 Writing (public version) here) and sentence length. 

So what I am going to do here instead of going by heading or error type is just to keep as faithfully as I can to your ideas and make some suggestions about word choice. 

 Queen88  Writefix (minor edit only)
Whether we were asked to choose one of the most difficult question, probably we would answer that 'what is happiness?' might be the hardest one. Not only has its definition struggled philosophers and poets throughout centuries, prompting them to elaborate famous quotes which would have been recalled by the next generations, but even common people have always found themselves coping with this tricky interrogative. If we were asked to choose one of the most difficult questions, 'what is happiness? ' might be the hardest one.
Not only have ordinary people have found themselves puzzled by this question, but even philosophers and poets struggled with it over the centuries.
One of the most harsh aspect which affects the definition of the term consists in its basically subjective feature. Indeed, not everyone might agree with a common definition of happiness and undoubtedly each individual would answer in a different way depending on his own preferences or attitudes. One of the most difficult aspects which affects the definition of the term is its basically subjective nature. Indeed, not everyone agrees on a common definition of happiness and undoubtedly each individual would answer in a different way depending on his or her own preferences and attitudes.
On the other hand, there are some objective elements which might define happiness owing to the fact that everyone would consider them as fundamental in life. For instance, factors such as having good health, fancying job, getting on with family, enjoying spare time are essential components of a model life which should be considered happy.
 
On the other hand, there are some objective elements which might define happiness, since most people  consider them to be fundamental in life. For instance, factors such as having good health, enjoying your job, getting on with your family, and making the most of your spare time are essential components of an ideal ‘happy’ life.
However, it must be said that, unfortunately, we are nowadays overloaded by 'stereotypes of happiness' laid out by modern society. For example, some kind of jobs are viewed as the best, whereas atypical activities are often denigrated. As a result, we are frequently prompt to accept instead of choosing what really make our happiness, thus we follow those clues unconsciously.
 
Unfortunately, however, we are nowadays overloaded by stereotypes of happiness. For example, some kinds of jobs are viewed as the best, whereas other activities are often denigrated. As a result, we are frequently pushed to accept these jobs or stereotypical definitions of happiness instead of choosing what really makes us happy.
For these reasons, I strongly believe that in order to reach happiness in their lives, people should freely build it, choosing a job that they like, living in a place which they consider comfortable, hanging around with friends whom they fancy and so on. Hence, I would avoid generalizing the factors which are commonly considered important in achieving happiness. Though, I would better recommend people to feel themselves free to follow their own instinct and feelings; doing this they will automatically elect those factors which most make them happy.
 
For these reasons, I strongly believe that in order to reach happiness in their lives, people should reject society’s  preconceived notions and generalizations. Instead, they should choose a job that they like, live in a place which they consider really comfortable, and hang around with friends they really like. I would recommend people to feel free to follow their own instinct and feelings; doing this they will automatically select those factors which most make them happy.
 

 

Brian struggled with your sentence length. Yes, you could definitely express some ideas more concisely, but they might take the fun out of the essay. Tommy suggested adding thesis sentences: again this might make your essay more formal. As it is, ideas flow between sentences and paragraphs quite well.

You do have a lot of information in the conclusion, but again I would not change it too much.

I would suggest that you focus on word choice and try to be more careful with word choice. Watch out for false friends: words that look the same in Italian and English but have different meanings. Try to reduce the overall sentence length from 24 down to about 15 words per sentence: add some very short sentences, perhaps at the start of paragraphs.

Your writing has a sense of style. 

Task 1?

I have a feeling that your 'low' score of 6.5 is because of a very weak Task 1 (the graph or visual data part of the exam). The style for Task 1 needs to be completely different from Task 2: you have to use much more objective, clipped, factual sentences and support them with data. There is no "I," no "we" or "you" -  there is no opinion or suggestion, there is no feeling that someone is chatting to you, and there is no philosophy or advice in Task 1. 

Have you any feedback on your Task 1 writing from teachers? Have a look here and perhaps post an example just so we can see if you are on the right track for Task 1. 

July 23, 2012
6:28 am
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Thank you so much for your feedback and advices Writefix!!

About the task 1, I had already a look on the specific section of the website and i found it very useful. Actually i had a quite good feedback from my teachers on it, but i am afraid i did not do my best in the exam because i wrote much more than 150 words describing too many elements of the graph (probably besides some grammar or spelling mistakes..). I hope to do it better on the next exam!

Moreover, I will pay more attention on the sentence length and word choice, your suggestions were very useful!

July 23, 2012
12:24 pm
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July 22, 2012
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hi Queen88,

 i am a new member ,and i am not a native english speaker,so some of my comments maybe not correct.

as far as i am concerned ,your conclusion maybe too long. what i learned from this website is you would better write about 3 sentences in the conclusion. if the conclusion is longer than the body paragraphs, it seems to be not well organized.

this is my opinion

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