Writing Paper: Part 2
Task type: An article

You have seen the following announcement in an international magazine:



Changing World magazine invites its readers to contribute to our debate on whether family life has changed for the better or worse in their country over the past 50 years.

We are looking for contributions in the form of a short article which discusses this topic. The three best articles will be printed in the next issue of our magazine.


Write the article for the readers of the magazine. (220-260 words)


Click on the underlined words or phrases for comments. The numbers in brackets offer suggestions. General feedback appears below the essay.


Family life over past 50 years in my country

How has family life changed during last {***} {1}50 years in my country? No doubt it has changed. Let's have a look at three average Novaks' families {2} in different times{3}.


Novaks'{4} have 3-5 children, Mrs Novak stays home all her life and looks after her children. She was twenty six and her husband thirty two years old when they got married. A divorce is almost

unacceptable. It is a big shame to become {5} from a divorced family, {6} it is almost equivalent to the illegitimate status{7}.


Mr and Mrs Novak have 2-3 children. Both got married when they were nineteen-year-old. Unlike to her older successor, Mrs Novak is fully qualified, educated and employed, as {8} her husband. A divorce is {***}common affair: 50% of marriages end divorced {9}. A single (unmarried) mother is tolerated. On the contrary, an unmarried couple is totally unacceptable.


As the old couple in 1950, Mr and Mrs Novak got married much later. A bride was twenty eight and a bridegroom was around his thirties. They have only 1 child. Mrs Novak could stay at home to take care of her family but she prefers to continue in her carrier {10}. The divorce percentage is remarkable lower comparing to situation in 1970 but still reasonable higher than in 1950{11}. Nobody cares{12} whether a kid {13} has unmarried parents or single parent or divorced parent.

I think the descending tendency of divorce numbers{14} is a change for {***} {15}better. It comes with the older age of newly married couples. Also a better society tolerance towards illegitimate and divorced status is a change for better{16}. On the other hand, more and more people prefer {17} their professional lives to their families. May be{18} our grandparents were wiser in this area.



Zdenka, this was a novel way to approach this article, and it would have a positive impact on the reader. Don't forget to mention which country you are actually writing about - this applies to any writing task where you are asked to describe the situation in a particular country.

The layout and organisation of the article is appropriate.

For this makeover, I have reworded some of your expressions (e.g. the divorce percentage = divorce rate) so that they would sound more natural to a native speaker of English. Don't let this put you off taking a risk with your vocabulary, however. This is one of the nice things about your style of writing!

All the best for the CAE.
Fiona Joseph


Other answers

Joana, School: International House, Braga, Portugal

When asked to write about the changes of family life over the past 50 years I had a brainstorm, because I remenbered my grandparents life. And it's based on their life that I'm going to write about, not forgeting to establish a comparison to the Present.

The word "time" has a special and diferent meaning when related both o past and present.

If we think about our ancients' life we can clearly see that they always plenty of time to do everything that had to be done , not like today, when people have a lot of things to do, to run makes part of nowadys life - in general people have to work very hard in their jobs and family is not the major interest in people's life. We can clearly see that if we have a look to the average number of children that people have in the present, a child of two per family is the usual. However we know, if we just take a look to the family of our parents that probably they have more than a brother or sister (my mother has two sisters and my father has 6 brothers!). An explanation for this might be women used to stay at home just taking care of the children and the house so as they didn't do anything more, it would be better to have more children. in some cases, to help the family working on then fields.

Nowadays people don't have time. Both mother and father work out so they can't spend plenty of time with family and, as things are this way, they prefer to have just one or two. Even watching Tv togheter it is not so usual in the present because sometimes, people also have work to do at home ( not only the parents but also the children).

In my opinion, people who live in the present should learn more with those who lived more in the past - the way people look to the time and the sucess it is not very healthy, so stress something very comon in the present.

People should relax more and, naturaly, be happier.