Most imaginative essays are a form of narrative or story. This blog post will return to the writing of good stories at a later date. What we would like to start with is the challenge of writing an essay at this level which asks you to use your imagination but in a standard discussion format. In this type of essay, you need to be able to use your imagination to put yourself in a hypothetical situation such as being someone or even something else, living in another time in the future, or perhaps the distant past. You imagine what a situation will be like, used to be like, would be like, or you put yourself directly into that situation and imagine what it is like.
The tenses which are usually essential for this type of essay are, therefore;
- the present tenses, both simple and continuous
- the future simple ‘will’
- used to
- the second conditional, including modals might, could
- the past simple
In addition, you need to be able to use adverbs and expressions of probability, such as
- probably/ possibly/ definitely
- there’s no chance that
- is more likely/less likely than…
As the situations are not real but just what you think, your essay is all about what you believe and what your opinion is, not what the facts are. You therefore also need to be able to use phrases such as
I believe… / I think that…/ I don’t think that… / In my opinion…
The imaginative discussion essay, therefore, requires quite specific structures but not necessarily a very wide range of them. If you are confident with the second conditional, for example, and can reproduce it for different situations and ideas you will be able to produce an excellent B2-level composition around this tense alone.
This type of essay is usually best organised around paragraphs which are groups of ideas. Let’s finish by looking at what sort of answers examiners would be looking for with these examples of imaginative essay topics, and what structures you could use to give your answers:
|a future tense essay and a used to / past tense essay
|a second conditional essay
|a present tense essay
|Imagine the world in 100 years’ time. What will it be like in your opinion? Imagine you live 100 years ago. How do you think people used to live then?
|What would you do if you won a million dollars?
|Imagine you are a famous celebrity. What is your life like?
|IntroductionWhat are the things you believe will be/used to be different?
|Introduction What are the main things you would do?
|IntroductionWhat kind of celebrity are you? Why is this kind of celebrity your choice?
|Main paragraph 1What is the main thing you think will be /used to be different (e.g. it is very likely that there will be no wild natural places / people only used to travel by horse or on foot)
|Main paragraph 1What’s the first thing you would do? Give some details (e.g. I think I would give some money to friends and relatives)
|Main paragraph 1What does the daily life of this celebrity consist of? (e.g. are you living in huge house with servants)
|Main paragraph 2What is another thing which will be / used to be different in your opinion? (e.g. all the work will be done by robots / a lot of people used to work with their hands)
|Main paragraph 2 What else would you do? Give some details (e.g. I would probably buy things – what things? Give to charity – what charities?)
|Main paragraph 2What else does celebrity life consist of in your opinion? (e.g. are you lonely, is there any chance that you can keep your life private? are you followed everywhere by fans and photographers?)
|ConclusionWhat overall concluding statement can you make which follows on from your main paragraphs? (e.g. will it be better or worse in 100 years time? / Did it use to be better or worse 100 years ago?)
|Conclusion How would you feel about it? What part of having so much money would be best? (pick up your best point(s) from the main paragraphs e.g. I would feel very happy because my family would have everything they need)
|ConclusionCome to a conclusion about how you feel. Do you love or hate being a celebrity?