Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

for B1 Preliminary Cambridge Test/ IELTS

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An essay is a written piece where you can present an idea, propose an argument, express your emotions or initiate a debate.

In an advantages and disadvantages essay your task is to describe the positive and the negative sides of a specific topic. You must include examples and reasons to support your ideas. Sometimes you will also be asked to give your opinion. You can include your personal opinion in the introduction and conclusion of the essay.

The typical structure for an advantages and disadvantages essay is the following:

Paragraph 1: Introduction
  • Start your introduction with a sentence that paraphrases the question you were given
  • Add a sentence where you include the main ideas that you will talk about
  • Give your opinion (if required)
Paragraph 2: Advantages
  • Write a sentence where you summarize the main idea of the paragraph. In this paragraph you must mention the advantages.
  • Next write a sentence where you explain the advantages.
  • Finally you explain the consequence or result of advantages by giving an example.
Paragraph 3: Disadvantages

(This paragraph is similar to paragraph 2, but here you will talk about the disadvantages)

  • Write a sentence where you summarize the main idea of the paragraph. In this paragraph you must mention the disadvantages.
  • Explain the disadvantages.
  • Give examples of the disadvantages.
Paragraph 4: Conclusion
  • Summarize your ideas
  • Paraphrase your opinion (if required)
Example:

Advantages and disadvantages of traveling by plane

Nowadays, a lot of people prefer to travel by plane when they go to another country. However, air travel has both pros and drawbacks. Let’s examine some of these here.

One of the main advantages of traveling by plane is that it is much faster than any other form of transport. For example, you can fly from Toronto to New York in 2 hours, whereas by car, it would take more than 7 hours. Another advantage is that flying is more comfortable and less tiring because you can sleep on a long flight. You can also watch movies or read. Finally, it is safer. More people die in car accidents than in the air.

On the other hand, traveling by plane also has some disadvantages. To start with, it can be quite expensive, especially if you want to travel in the comfort of First Class or Business Class. What is more, flights are often delayed, and this means you may have to spend a long time waiting in the airport or miss connecting flights. In addition, you may arrive in New York while your suitcase has gone to Paris.

To sum up, the airplane is a great invention, but it does have some drawbacks. If it was cheaper, it would be better. Still, in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons. If we didn’t have planes, it would be very difficult to travel to distant places.

Below there is a template that can help you write your advantages and disadvantages essays.
Template for an advantages and disadvantages essay

Useful language: Linking phrases

To list advantages/ disadvantages
  • the main advantage is…
  • the main disadvantage is …
  • another advantage is …
To add more point to the same topic
  • In addition, …
  • Furthermore, …
  • What is more …
To introduce an example:
  • For instance …
  • For example …
To make contrasting points
  • However, …
  • In spite (of the fact) …
  • Although …
  • On the other hand …
To give a reason
  • Because + clause …
  • Because of + noun …
To introduce the conclusion
  • In conclusion, …
  • To sum up, …
Watch the following video to learn more vocabulary to talk about advantages and disadvantages

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