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IELTS Writing Task 2
Traditional dress and costumes

In many countries, traditional dress and costumes are considered effective ways of maintaining links with the past.
  • How effective can traditional costumes be, in this sense?
    What other ways exist to help citizens connect with a country’s past?
How to answer this essay?
  • Introduction:
  • Paraphrase the overall essay main topic.
  • Write a clear opinion.
  • 1st Body Paragraph
  • Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea.
  • Explain your main idea.
  • Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  • 2nd Body Paragraph
  • Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea.
  • Explain your new main idea.
  • Include specific details and examples.
  • Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  • Conclusion:
  • Summarise your main ideas.
  • Include a final thought.


Model Answer | Marked as Band 8
Cohesive connecting words that improve coherence in writing . Useful less common words that boost fluency in writing .
  • Most people would agree that preserving connections with our past is an admirable objective, especially as the world evolves so rapidly. I feel that traditional costumes are one part of doing this, but they are by no means the most important, as we shall see.
  • Admittedly, historic dress plays a key role in social events such as religious rituals or military parades, and these events are helpful in transmitting social memes such as public duty and self-sacrifice. Traditional costumes also remind us of the origins of cultural traditions and mythologies, for instance, the historic Swiss national dress which evokes their medieval independence.
  • However, it must be said that costumes are an accessory in these situations, and do not appear to constitute the central message. It is the ceremonies themselves which convey the cultural norms that help to maintain the fabric of society. In this sense, the costumes are of secondary importance. Furthermore, it seems that there are in fact much more powerful ways in which culture is conserved and handed down between the generations. Most countries have a rich heritage of legends and folklore about the birth and development of their nation, some of which are mythological and some being grounded in truth (as we see in the English stories about Robin Hood or George and the Dragon, for example.) These stories are a cultural inheritance which embodies important symbols and concepts far more effectively than dress. Similarly, we must remember the significance of art and music in passing on our traditions, in forms ranging from fine art to handicrafts, and from opera to traditional shanties and dirges. The presence of visual or linguistic messages in these media make them more effective than costumes, which convey no language.
  • Overall, we must recognise and welcome the use of traditional dress in helping to maintain our cultures. However, the forms of story, art and music would appear to be the driving forces in this invaluable process.
324 words

Useful Collocations

  • to preserve : to protect and keep something, usually because it is valuable for some reason
  • rituals : highly traditional ceremonies which have meaning for the participants
  • parades : organised processions in public by groups of people, usually to commemorate an event
  • to transmit : to communicate a message, literal or symbolic
  • social memes : social habits or patterns which are transmitted between people
  • public duty : the willingness to serve the public or the state
  • self-sacrifice : the willingness to suffer or die for a cause
  • traditions : traditions carrying cultural importance
  • mythology : myth a classic story from the past which people know is not true but which carries meaning
  • to evoke : to bring back memories or feelings
  • medieval : adjective for the Middle Ages, roughly 1050 to 1400 in European history
  • shanties and dirges : very traditional songs about basic subjects
  • cultural norms : standards expected of behaviour or ideas
  • the fabric of society : the way that society is connected and maintained
  • to hand sth down : (from one generation to the next) to pass it from parents to children and to their children etc
  • to conserve : a synonym for ‘to preserve’
  • heritage : something inherited (received/handed down) by one generation from the previous generation
  • legends : similar to myths, but sometimes containing an element of reality
  • inheritance : a synonym for ‘heritage’
  • fine art : art by famous or acclaimed painters
  • handicrafts : skills of making objects by hand, and also the objects themselves
  • ceremonies : a ceremony is similar to a ritual, usually involving people in authority
  • folklore : old stories and myths/legends, usually transmitted verbally
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