IELTS Writing Ideas – 5

IELTS Writing Ideas – 5

21.Traditional vs. Modern

Losing Traditional Skills

  • Because of industrialisation and global trade, many traditions have disappeared.
  • Global advertising encourages everyone to buy the same products.
  • Most products are now made in factories.
  • Machinery has replaced skilled human labour.
  • Factory work is boring and leaves people feeling unfulfilled.
  • Goods are produced very quickly and in large numbers.
  • Products are cheaper, which means that more people can buy them.


  • Clothes are mass produced in standard sizes.
  • People wear similar clothes, rather than traditional costumes.
  • Jeans and T-shirts are now worn throughout the world.
  • Historic buildings took skilled craftsmen years to build.
  • Modern concrete, steel and glass buildings are built in only weeks or months.
  • There are fewer people who can create hand-made goods.

Traditional Customs

  • Traditional customs are still important during weddings and religious festivals.
  • People wear traditional costumes and eat special foods.
  • It is important to maintain our different cultural identities.
  • We should celebrate festivals, teach traditional skills and protect historic places.


Traffic Problems

  • Traffic congestion is caused by commuters travelling to work.
  • Most people live in the suburbs outside city centres.
  • Commuters tend to travel at the same time of day.
  • They tend to travel alone.
  • Cars and road space are not used efficiently.
  • This causes traffic jams during the rush hour.

Traffic Solutions

  • In order to reduce traffic we should change our working habits.
  • The Internet can now be used to connect people.
  • More people could work from home.
  • Meetings can be held as video conferences.
  • Workers could be given flexible timetables.
  • Another solution would be to tax drivers.
  • Workers should share their cars and travel together.
  • In London, for example, there is a congestion charge.
  • This helps to raise money for better public transport.
  • Public transport needs to be reliable and efficient.

Positives of Public Transport

  • We need to reduce our dependence on cars.
  • Parking a car can be extremely difficult in big cities.
  • Well-designed transport systems are comfortable and convenient.
  • Modern public transport can be fast and cheap.
  • Public transport can help to reduce pollution in cities.
  • Investment in buses and trains will ease traffic congestion.
  • Buses can be given special lanes to avoid traffic.

Negatives of Public Transport

  • Public transport is often slow and unreliable.
  • Metro systems and trains are often dirty and crowded.
  • People feel like “sardines in a can”.
  • Cars are much more comfortable.

Road Safety

  • Driving while tired or drunk is extremely dangerous.
  • Mobile phones can be a dangerous distraction for drivers.
  • They draw the driver’s attention away from the road.
  • The use of phones while driving has been banned in many countries.
  • Punishments are becoming stricter.
  • Television campaigns are used to remind people to drive safely.
  • Speed cameras have become more common.
  • Speed bumps are another form of traffic calming.
  • Many streets are designed with the aim of slowing traffic down.

23. Water

Importance of Clean Water

  • Water is an essential natural resource.
  • Humans need access to clean, safe drinking water in order to live.
  • Poor water quality is a major cause of disease and death in some countries.
  • Water usually needs to be treated before we can drink it.
  • Developing countries often lack the means to treat and supply water to citizens.
  • Developed countries tend to have much better sanitation.
  • Citizens have access to clean tap water.
  • Drinking water is not contaminated by sewage or waste water.
  • The supply of clean water would improve public health in many developing countries.

Water Supply

  • Urban life would be impossible without water supply systems.
  • These systems are massive engineering projects.
  • Many professionals are involved in their planning, construction and maintenance.
  • The supply and distribution of water are major concerns.
  • Water is becoming scarce in some countries.
  • Areas that suffer droughts often need to import water.
  • As populations grow, there is more pressure on water supplies.
  • This could lead to a water crisis.

Water and Politics

  • The supply of water is also an important political issue.
  • Huge amounts of water are needed for agriculture and industry.
  • The irrigation of crops accounts for a large proportion of water use.
  • A water crisis could lead to political conflicts or even wars.

Argument: water should be free

  • Some people believe that water should be free for everyone.
  • Governments should supply water to all homes at no cost.
  • Private companies should not be allowed to profit from this natural resource.
  • Money from taxes can be used to pay for water supply systems.

Argument: water should not be free

  • If water is free, people take it for granted.
  • They do not think about how much water they waste.
  • They leave taps running while washing or brushing their teeth.
  • If we have to pay for water, we will use it more responsibly.
  • Water supply systems are extremely expensive.
  • Investment is needed to maintain and improve them.
  • Private companies may provide a better service than governments.
  • If they provide an efficient service, they will make more money.
  • They will repair leaks to avoid losing money.

Bottled Water: Opinions

  • Some people carry bottles of water wherever they go.
  • For example, they take bottles of water to work or to the gym.
  • They believe that bottled water is healthier than tap water.
  • They also argue that it tastes better.
  • However, other people believe that we should consume less bottled water.
  • Plastic water bottles add to litter and waste problems.
  • Companies should not be able to make a profit from water.
  • It is unethical to make money by selling packaged water.
  • There is no difference in quality between bottled and tap water.

24. Work

The benefits of staying in the same job for life:

  • Employees have a stable career with one employer.
  • They have a good pension and health insurance.
  • Their salaries gradually increase.
  • They may be promoted within the organisation.
  • They demonstrate loyalty.
  • Experienced staff can be trusted with more responsibility.
  • They become part of a team.
  • There is a clearly defined path for development.

The benefits of not staying in the same job:

  • People often change jobs in order to further their career.
  • Another company may offer a promotion or a higher salary.
  • People who change jobs can gain experience.
  • They can learn different skills.
  • Changing jobs is interesting and challenging.
  • People can retrain in a different occupation.
  • In a fast-changing world workers need to be flexible.
  • People need to develop a range of experience and skills.


  • Nowadays, it is easy to set up a company.
  • The Internet provides a global marketplace.
  • Self-employment offers greater freedom than working for a company.
  • However, there are risks to starting a new business.
  • Self-employed people may face financial difficulties.
  • Many businesses fail to make a profit.
  • There is less stability in self-employment.
  • There are no benefits like pensions, sick pay and holiday pay.
  • Self-employment involves hard work, long hours and total responsibility.


  • Unemployment is a big problem for individuals, communities and society.
  • Some people are unable to find a job.
  • They may not have the sufficient level of education or qualifications.
  • They may find themselves homeless.
  • Unemployment causes frustration and stress.
  • Jobless people may become involved in crime as a means to get money.
  • The unemployed need careers advice.
  • Governments need to provide vocational courses and retraining.

Unemployment Benefits: Positives

  • Some governments pay unemployment benefits in order to help jobless people.
  • Unemployed people need financial support until they find a new job.
  • By claiming benefits they can continue to pay for their homes.
  • The benefits system helps to reduce poverty, homelessness and crime.

Unemployment Benefits: Negatives

  • Some people claim benefits rather than working.
  • They become dependent on the government.
  • They are not motivated to find a job.
  • The benefits system is a burden on taxpayers.
  • All citizens should work to earn a living and support themselves.
  • Receiving benefits affects people’s self esteem.

Work / Life Balance

  • It is important to achieve a balance between work time and leisure or family time.
  • Too much work can result in stress and poor health.
  • “Workaholics” may neglect their families and friends.
  • People need to take regular holidays.
  • Companies should not expect employees to work overtime.
  • Nowadays, many people work part-time or have flexible working hours.
  • Technology allows people to work from home.
  • Many companies provide childcare facilities.
  • A good work/life balance can raise job satisfaction.
  • Happy, healthy workers are more productive.

Technology and Work

  • Internet, fax and mobile phone technologies have revolutionised working life.
  • Workers can communicate via e-mail, online networks and video conferencing.
  • Technology can connect workers in different countries.
  • It gives people more freedom.
  • It can also save time and money.
  • Some people believe that offices could disappear in the future.
  • Virtual online offices may replace them.

Child Labour

  • In some countries, children are exploited.
  • They do repetitive jobs for very low pay.
  • Children are often used in agriculture and factory work.
  • The employment of children is prohibited in other countries.
  • Many people think that children should be free to enjoy their childhood.
  • Governments should make education a priority.
  • They should build new schools.
  • They should supply the resources to educate children.
  • Children need to be given the knowledge and skills for adult life.

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