Writing styles Descriptive Opinion-based Creative Email communication

Agree or disagree (مع أو ضد) style essays, can include the following

The advantages and disadvantages (of something)
The costs and benefits (of something)
Two different opinions (about something)
Two choices (about something)

Remember, the task is not the same as the subject area.

The following exam prompt, suggested structure and sample answer is targeted to those whose level of English is pre-intermediate:

Some people argue that nowadays women in the United Arab Emirates should be allowed to do any job they want.
Do you agree or disagree?
Give two specific reasons with examples to support your opinion.

Subject area = Employment/Society/Culture
Statement reworded = “Should all careers be open to women”
Opinion sentence = “I agree with the idea that women should pursue any career that they like.”

The Introduction paragraph
Good introductions need to have three parts. This means they must have three or more sentences:

1. General background information (on the subject)
2. An opinion sentence (where you state your opinion on the specific subject of the prompt)
3. Thesis statement (where you tell the reader what you are going to write about)
e.g. These days, boys and girls have all sorts of dreams and job ambitions and more and more women are now doing jobs that were once mostly done by men. Therefore, I completely agree with the point of view that women should pursue any career that they like. There are many reasons for my opinion, however, in this essay I will give two. The first reason is because this helps the economy develop and improve, and secondly there is no difference between men and women in terms of abilities and skills.

The Body paragraphs
In agree/disagree style opinion-based essays, you will need to provide several reasons to support your opinion. For each reason you provide, you will need a separate paragraph. Each body paragraph must have at least three parts (and therefore have three or more sentences):

1. Topic sentence (in a few words, summarise the reason you will write about in this paragraph)
2. Explanation; explain the reasons and give more details about it
3. Example; provide one or more examples to illustrate your reason
e.g. The first reason I will focus on is to do with the economy, the UAE needs to employ men and women in many different industries. I will explain, the country is developing and there are now many different businesses that need lots of different skills, the government needs to employ nationals who have those skills, it is not important if they are male or female. For instance, last year I saw in the newspaper that Etihad Airline now has two female Emirati pilots as well as several Emirati male pilots, both men and women can fly planes if they want to.

The Conclusion paragraph
The conclusion paragraph needs to summarise the subject of the essay, your opinion and, the reasons you gave to support your opinion. It also needs to provide some recommendations/suggestions. Therefore, it must have three (or more) sentences:

1. Summarise what the essay was about
2. Re-state your opinion and then summarise the reasons you gave (Past Tense)
3. Provide some suggestions that are related to the subject/your opinion
e.g. To sum up. this essay focused on the subject of women and work in the UAE. I think that women should be allowed to do any job they want so long as they have the right skills. I gave two reasons to support my viewpoint, the first one was it benefits the economy and secondly, there is no difference between men and women in terms of ability. Therefore, I suggest that society and families support women in achieving their work-related ambitions and dreams.


Model essays

Agree/Disagree: Should all careers be open to women?

Agree/Disagree: Should university students have their own bedrooms?



For each of the example prompts below, we will need to do a number of things before we actually write an essay. Firstly, we need to decide what the general subject area is and, how we can re-write the statement. Secondly we will need to think of several reasons to agree and, several reasons to disagree.

Agree/disagree prompts are written in many different ways (“key” task words are in purple):


Prompt 01:

Some people think that every student who stays in a hostel at UAEU should have their own bedroom and bathroom.
Do you agree or disagree?
Give two specific reasons with examples to support your opinion.

Discuss this subject


Prompt 02:

Some people believe that males and females should study in the same classroom at universities in the United Arab Emirates.
Do you agree or disagree?
Give two specific reasons with examples to support your opinion.

Discuss this subject


Prompt 03:

It is argued by some people that the best things in life are free and that, money cannot buy happiness.
Do you agree or disagree?
Give two specific reasons with examples to support your opinion.

Discuss this subject


Prompt 04:

In the future, we will have more and more leisure time as machines replace many of the tasks we do at home and work.
Discuss the benefits this will bring and also the problems.

STYLE: Cause/Effect, Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Science and Technology


Prompt 05:

Television has had a significant influence on the culture of many societies.
To what extent has television positively or negatively affected cultural development in your country?

STYLE: Cause/Effect, Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Science and Technology


Prompt 06:

Unemployment is one of the most serious problems facing developed nations today.
What are the main advantages and disadvantages of reducing the working week to thirty five hours?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Employment and money, Globalisation


Prompt 07:

In many countries there is a shortage of housing due to a growing population. Some people argue that new towns should be built in the countryside, others argue for the regeneration of cities.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the building new towns in the countryside?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Environmental issues, Governmental issues


Prompt 08:

The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace. Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy. The benefits of nuclear technology far outweigh the costs.
To what extent do you agree?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree, Advantage/Disadvantage   SUBJECT AREA: Governmental issues, Environmental issues


Prompt 09:

Some people believe in the traditional idea that the woman’s place is in the home, while others say that idea is outdated and that women should play an increasingly important role in the workplace of the future.
What is your opinion?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Gender, Family & Parenting, Globalisation


Prompt 10:

People are now living longer than ever before and many old people are unable to look after themselves. Some people believe that it is the responsibility of families to look after the elderly, while others say governments should provide retirement homes for them where they can be looked after properly.

STYLE: Agree/Disagree, Problem/Solution   SUBJECT AREA: Health issues, Governmental issues, Gender, Family & Parenting


Prompt 11:

In some countries people pay different rates of tax depending on their salary, in other countries everyone pays the same rate.
Which do you believe is the best system?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree, Advantage/Disadvantage   SUBJECT AREA: Employment and money, Globalisation, Governmental issues


Prompt 12:

More and more qualified people are moving from poor to rich countries to fill vacancies in specialist areas like engineering, computing and medicine. Some people believe that by encouraging the movement of such people, rich countries are stealing from poor countries. Others feel that this is only part of the natural movement of workers around the world.
Give your opinion.

STYLE: Agree/Disagree, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Employment and money, Globalisation, Language and culture


Prompt 13:

In many countries, children are engaged in some kind of paid work. Some people regard this as completely wrong, while others consider it as valuable work experience, important for learning and taking responsibilities.

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Employment and money, Globalisation, Governmental issues


Prompt 14:

Some people believe that the media, such as the press, TV and Internet should be more strictly controlled. Others feel that controls should be loosened to give people freer access to information.
Which opinion do you agree with?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Science and technology, Media and advertising, Law and order


Prompt 15:

Some people argue that universities should provide students with more practical training for their future career.
Discuss the likely costs and benefits of making university education more vocationally orientated.

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Education, Governmental issues, Employment and money


Prompt 16:

Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public, or should a charge, even a voluntary one, be required for admittance?
Discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of such a move.

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Education, Governmental issues, Sport and pastimes


Prompt 17:

Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.
Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage   SUBJECT AREA: Education, Language and Culture, Governmental issues


Prompt 18:

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example working for a charity or teaching sports to younger children).
To what extent do you agree?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Education, Employment and money, Governmental issues


Prompt 19:

Some people say that the best way to improve public health is by increasing the number of sports facilities. Others, however, say that this would have little effect on public health and that other measures are required.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Health issues, Governmental issues


Prompt 20:

Every year several languages die out. Some people think that this is not important because life will be easier if there are fewer languages in the world.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Globalisation


Prompt 21:

More and more people are relying on the private car as their major means of transportation.
Describe some of the problems over reliance on can can have and suggest at least one possible solution.

STYLE: Problem/Solution, Advantage/Disadvantage   SUBJECT AREA: Environmental issues, Travel and transport