In Academic Writing Task 2 of the IELTS
exam, you will be expected to write a discursive or argumentative essay on a specific topic. You’ll be presented with a subject and question that may ask you to explore an argument, give your opinion or offer solutions to a problem.
In this article, we’ll study techniques to depersonalize your essay so that you can provide an impartial view of an argument or topic before giving your personal opinion.
Firstly, let’s consider why it’s important to depersonalize your essay. To create a convincing argument or to explore a specific point, it’s vital to provide clear topic sentences, concrete examples and true facts. During the main part of your essay, you are not offering your point of view, but information with examples. At the end of the essay, during your conclusion, you can express your opinion based on the argument you have built with accuracy, clear evidence and reason.
Develop an argument with reasons firstly, develop a clear argument with reason. Do not give your opinion based on what you feel or guess.
Let’s take an example from a recent IELTS essay title:
Some people say that globalization will lead to a loss of cultural identity. Others think that globalization will result in world peace and harmony. To what extent do you agree with either sentence?
Firstly, you can begin your essay by defining the keywords and carefully paraphrasing the first paragraph:
Globalization is the method which companies or other groups use to develop global influence on a worldwide scale. While some people believe that the consequences of globalization are unity and peace, others suggest it may result in losing one’s cultural identity. It’s clear that the positive impacts of globalization far outweigh its drawbacks.
Note that the author does not give his personal opinion in the introduction
. Instead, he points out that the positive implications weigh greater than the negative ones.
Give concrete factsThe body of your essay will present the argument for and against globalization. As each point is presented, it’s essential to give concrete, specific facts to support each point.
Some people argue that globalization fosters the disappearance of one’s local culture. For example, McDonald’s fast-food company has become a restaurant landmark worldwide, including in the country of Senegal, West Africa. As more McDonald’s restaurant chains establish in Dakar, Senegal, people of the local country enjoy eating fast food in this restaurant in addition to their own local cuisine. However, there is no data that suggests that the local food or drink of Senegal is disappearing. Their local cuisine is still very much a part of the people’s culture.
This paragraph gives a focused example, referring to a specific company (McDonald’s) and a country(Senegal). In this way, you can avoid giving a subjective point of view and instead, rely on objective facts that can support a convincing argument.
Technique 3: Use the passive voice
Use the passive voice when expressing a fact.
Recent studies have shown that globalization has helped in improving education worldwide. For example, millions of dollars have been invested by The Bill Gates Foundation in educating young people in technology and medicine in countries in Central Africa.
This extract offers a fact regarding the positive impact of globalization, using the passive voice. We don’t hear the writer’s point of view. However, we know the facts and example, and that information will support a clear argument.
Technique 4: Beware of your use of subject pronouns
Do not use ‘’I’’ or ‘’We’’ subject pronouns when presenting ideas, opinions or conclusions in your essay. Instead, use ‘’It’s clear’’, ‘’It can be assumed’’ or a fact presented with a connector to define your key points or conclusion.
To conclude, it can be safely assumed that the advantages of globalization outnumber the drawbacks. Although feared by many people due to the arrival of change, globalization will help to bring unity, solidarity and freedom to a greater population than ever known in the history of the world.