Writing styles Descriptive Opinion-based Creative Email communication

Problem and solution (المشكلة والحل) style essays often come in two forms. One style has one body paragraph focusing on the problem and the other body paragraph focusing on the solution. The other style focuses on the solutions, the problem is summarised in the introduction paragraph.

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:

These days, in some families, children do not spend much time with their parents because both the mother and the father have to go to work.
What solutions can you suggest for this problem?

Subject area = Employment and money/Gender, Family & Parenting
Statement reworded = “Because of globalisation parents spend less time with their children”
Opinion sentence = “Overall, I think there are several possible solutions to this problem.”

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. At this moment in time, many fathers and mothers have to work and this means they have less time to spend with their children. This is a problem because children need to learn from their parents and also, the children might do dangerous things while they are at home alone. However, I do think there are some possible solutions to this modern day problem and in this essay, I will focus on two.

The Body paragraphs
In problem/solution style opinion-based essays, you will need to focus on possible solutions that may address the problem. For each solution you write about, 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 (summarise the solution you will write about in this paragraph)
2. Explanation; explain the solution and give more details about it
3. Example; provide one or more examples to illustrate how the solution might work
e.g. One possible solution is for the grandparents to spend more time with the children. While grandparents are not the same as parents, they are similar. They are from the same family and also, they have lots of experience and wisdom. For instance, … .
Another solution is for families to make special plans for their free time. I will explain, having quality time together is important … . For example, if the parents and children do interesting things together every weekend and during the holidays, this will make a balance with the time when the parents have to work.

The Conclusion paragraph
The conclusion paragraph needs to summarise the subject of the essay, your opinion and, the the advantages/disadvantages you chose to write about. 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 summarise the solutions that you provided (past tense)
3. Provide some recommendations that are related to the solutions that you gave
e.g. To sum up. this essay focused on the subject of both parents having to work. I think that this can be a problem, but there are some solutions. I discussed two solutions the first one was for the grandparents to spend time with the children and the second one was to do things together on the weekends. Therefore, I suggest that families try and make the most of their free time together and secondly, governments encourage more part time work.