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Modal Essays

Free Sample IELTS Essays

The following sample IELTS essays will give you an idea of how to develop your essay topic into a well-structured, full-length essay. All the essays below will help you; however, the first free sample essay “Computers and Children”, will help you in a special way as it provides two responses to the same essay – one which is good and the other which is great. Read through them to discover the difference and to learn how your essay can go from good to great.

A top-scoring essay has a variety of clear characteristics which distinguish it from a mediocre essay. Here are a few of them:

  • Upgraded, advanced vocabulary, instead of commonly-used words & expressions
  • Varied  sentence structure, instead of only short, simple sentences
  • Complex grammatical structures, instead of very basic ones
  • Dynamic style, instead of lack of style
  • Examples, details and transition words, instead of empty repetition

Please check our list of free IELTS Essay topics and write as many essays as you can. The more practice you get, and the more familiar you become with the type of topics given, the better you will do on the exam. You can also check out this "Ultimate Guide to Essay Writing" from ThePensters for more useful tips.

Even if you think you are a poor writer today, you can learn how to take your simple essay and transform it into something much more effective. Adding some of the winning elements from the sample essays below will give you the extra marks you need to become a high-scorer on the IELTS.

SAMPLE IELTS ESSAYS

Modal verbs and adverbs

The table below contains verbs and adverbs that you can use to express the different degrees of certainty or modality of your opinions or argument. It also provides you with some examples of how to structure your sentence to use these words in your writing.

Certainty of ConclusionModal Verbs/AdverbsStatement of Claim
Strongis, will, can not, must, undoubtedly, always, never, definitely, clearlyIt is certain that...
It seems clear that...
X is definitely...
Moderateshould, would, can, ought to, tends to, usually, likely, probably, regularly, majority, generally, often, frequently, rarelyIt appears probable...
It is usually the case that... In the majority of cases...
The results suggest it is likely that...
TentativeMay, might, could, possible, conceivable, sometimes, occasionally, seldomly, perhaps, maybe, uncertainly, minorityConceivably,...
It is possible that...
Occasionally,...
It may be the case that...

Adapted from: Jordon, R. R. (1990) Academic Writing Course. Edinburgh: Nelson Study Skills in English and Learning Assistance Centre, University of Sydney (1992) Writing in an Academic Style.

Here are some examples of modality use in academic writing:

It seems likely that a species leaf structural characteristics influence their seasonal water-tissue relations because…… Low modality - rather than 'it is the case', the author is less certain, 'it seems likely it is the case'.
Technology assessment can be an effective tool to analyse the effect of a technology on social and environmental issues, yet in practiseit can be usedto formalise and legitimise previously decided outcomes. More moderate expression of opinion than saying 'is'.
Legal aid, by providing representation and individual legal advice has the potential to mitigate some of the entrenched inequality in regards to access to justice. Modality lowered through the use of 'has the potential to' rather than merely 'it mitigates’.
The large-scale treatment plant is the most desirable option to provide for the processing and treatment of wastewater for a 20 000 person population. The opinion expressed in this sentence is strong, however, it is more moderate than saying '…is the only appropriate option…’


Ultimately, your opinion in academic writing must be based on the evidence you have collected. The level of modality used to express your opinion must match the level of certainty provided by your evidence. It might be appropriate to make a high modality claim because evidence, from multiple sources, backs up your opinion. Therefore, adjust the certainty or modality you use to present your argument according to the quality and amount of evidence supporting it.



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