Unit 11 – IELTS Writing task 2 – How to describe a bad thesis

If there is a compliment, there must be criticism. In IELTS Writing, the topic is usually about a “problem”, so it feels like the article must always have something “bad” or “harmful”. Therefore, it is extremely useful to know many harmful expressions in IELTS. Similar to the previous article, we should not say sentences like:

A is bad

>>>> Review the previous lesson: How to describe a good thesis

Instead, we need to focus on how specific the “bad” is. You can follow one of the following methods:

1) Use correct adjectives

There are many adjectives with negative meanings, and negative sentences like this are a good opportunity to “pull” out these adjectives. For example, instead of saying:

Overeating is bad.


Overeating is detrimental/unhealthy.

For each noun that belongs to different topics, you have very different adjectives to attach to it. For example, if something is bad, it could be illegal, harmful, wasting time, etc. If a food is bad, it could be bad, unhealthy, expensive, … Think about what words you will use in your language to describe this, and find the English word that best fits your language word you know.

2) A waste of something

A very common meaning of “bad” is “wasting something”. For example:

Watching TV is bad => watching TV is a waste of time

Shopping for clothes is bad => shopping for clothes is a waste of money.

Note: you can change “is a waste of …” to the verb “waste”

Watching TV is a waste of time => Watching TV wastes a lot of time

Shopping for clothes is a waste of money => Shopping for clothes wastes a lot of money

3) A reduction of something of B

This is a fairly colorful way to interpret the subject’s “bad” in more detail. Take for example: watching lots of TV harmful to children. Think about what “watching TV” reduces to “children”.

There are many things, right? The “watching TV” can reduce first is the dynamism, moreover is the time for family, interaction with parents.

Watching TV is bad for children

=> Watching TV reduces children’s activity level.

=> Watching TV shortens the time children spend with their parents.

4) A raises something “bad” in B.

Similarly, we can rewrite in the opposite way that A raises an already “bad” quality in B.

For children, in contrast to the dynamic, it is definitely … tedious, cake dirt, lazy. Contrary to the time spent with parents, it is likely that children will be exposed to violence that is not suitable for their age.

Watching TV reduces children’s activity level => Watching TV encourages children’s laziness.

Watching TV shortens the time children spend with their parents => Watching TV means children are spending more time watching violent content.

Here are 4 easy to use methods to help you better describe the “bad” quality. You don’t have to stick to one method and use it for the whole article. Mixing all 4 ways together will give you a lively essay and show more language skills!