IELTS Writing Task 2 – An Advanced Technique: Showing Concession

In today’s blog, I will explain the technique of showing concession and leave an exercise for you to complete and email to [email protected] for comments and corrections.  This advanced technique is very useful for IELTS Writing Task 2. 

The word “concession” comes from the verb “to concede”, which means to admit that something is true, even if you do not agree with it.  In a debate with another person, you “concede a point” to show that you agree with part of the other persons’ argument, even though you still maintain your overall opinion. To use an example, imagine you are discussing the topic of “which pet is best” with a friend.  Your friend may point out that cats are more independent than dogs.  You can concede that point (agree that it is true), but then mention that you think that loyalty is a more important quality than independence for a pet.

This technique is especially useful when writing a ONE-SIDED essay in which you take  a position FOR or AGAINST an issue, or AGREE or DISAGREE with an opinion.

This technique makes your writing more academic and also helps to strengthen your argument by showing that you also understand BOTH sides of the issue, even though you mostly agree with one side.

 Look at the following example:

QUESTION: In recent times, an increasing number of students have decided to study abroad for various reasons. These students feel that it is much better to get an education overseas than in their home country.  To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Brainstorming Results: Is Studying Overseas Better?


  • it’s good for the future 
  • good job, high salary


  • it’s expensive

Imagine you choose to write a ONE-SIDED essay in which you completely AGREE that it is better to get an education overseas.  In this case, you can either:

  • (A) ignore the “disagree” ideas OR 
  • (B) incorporate them into your essay by showing concession

(B) is the better choice because showing concession makes your argument stronger.


  • Although studying overseas is expensive, I believe that it is worth the price. 
  • Admittedly, studying overseas involves a huge financial cost. However, I am of the opinion that this cost is small compared to the benefits that an education overseas can provide. 
  • Critics of overseas study point out that the tuition fee is extremely high. This is undoubtedly true. Nevertheless, I would argue that it is a smart investment for the future.

 IMPORTANT NOTE: After showing concession, good writers counter (or sometimes refute) this point with a STRONGER argument to show that their point of view is more convincing.


Read the sample and answer the questions below:

Studying overseas is an important step toward having a successful career.  Skeptics of overseas studies maintain that the cost can be  excessively expensive, especially for families from developing countries.  This may be true, but I would argue that it is still worthwhile as a degree from a foreign university is a smart investment for the future.  In fact, I believe that in most cases, people with degrees from foreign universities will earn much more in their careers than the cost of the tuition fees.


  1. Can you find the language used to show concession in this example?
  2. Can you find the language used to counter the concession?
  3. Which argument is stronger in this paragraph: studying overseas or not?


QUESTION: In recent times, multinational companies and their products are becoming more ubiquitous around the world, even in developing countries.  Advocates of globalization claim that this only brings benefits to developing countries.  To what extent do you agree?


  • develops the economy 
  • creates jobs 
  • makes international brand names more available 
  • makes tourists feel comfortable


  • can hurt local companies 
  • some people lose jobs 
  • gives more benefits to the foreign company than the local country 
  • reduces cultural diversity


  1. Write 3 sentences which show concession and then counter each one with a stronger argument, OR:
  2. ​Write a full paragraph focusing on, and developing, one of these ideas 

 FEEL FREE TO EMAIL YOUR IDEAS TO ME AT  [email protected]    

Written by Larry Fedorowick