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C1 English Topics For Essays

Text Version:

The only way to get better at anything is to do it—over and over again. In addition to practicing your English conversational skills, you should also practice your writing skills on a regular basis.

The good news is that writing in English doesn’t need to be a painful experience. By choosing topics that you’re passionate about or focusing on prompts that will put different grammar lessons into practice, you can ensure that writing is an engaging and enjoyable experience.

Here are twenty-two potential essay topics to get you started, but don’t be afraid to branch out and come up with your own topics, as well.

Descriptive topics

  1. Describe your favorite place in as much detail as possible.
  2. What do you do outside of school and work? Describe any hobbies you have, sports you participate in, or other activities you regularly enjoy.
  3. If you could invite five people to a dinner party, who would they be? What is each guest like?
  4. Describe your favorite fictional character in as much detail as possible.
  5. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Describe it and explain why you’d choose it.


  1. Give directions for getting from one point to another. Explain what landmarks someone might see along the way.
  2. Explain how to entertain guests who unexpectedly arrive at your home.

Verb tense practice

  1. What’s one thing you could never live without and why?
  2. Describe your ideal town or city, why you would want to live there, and what you would do there.
  3. Write about a time in the past when you had to make a difficult decision, and explain what you did.
  4. Talk about five specific goals you want to accomplish this year, and explain how you are going to accomplish them.
  5. Imagine you’re babysitting a child who breaks the kitchen table. Explain to the child how they could have avoided doing this if they had behaved differently.

Practical vocabulary practice

  1. Write a review of a new restaurant (either fictional or real) in your area.
  2. Describe the best party or large-scale event you’ve ever attended.
  3. If you could get one gift for everyone in your family, regardless of the cost, what would you get them and why?
  4. Choose a form of transportation (such as cars, trains, boats, planes, or subways) and explain how it has changed people’s lives.
  5. Write a pitch for a new blockbuster movie. Explain what will happen in the movie and why it will draw crowds to the theater.

Persuasive writing practice

  1. Do you think our society is too dependent on technology like smartphones? Why or why not?
  2. Imagine that a big new department store is being built in your hometown. Do you support this development or not?
  3. Do you think it’s better for students to have a long summer break or be in a year-round school system with more breaks throughout the year? Explain your position.
  4. Should employers set aside time during the day for their employees to exercise? What might be some of the advantages or disadvantages of this?
  5. What is your favorite book or movie, and why should people read or watch it?

What are some great ESL essay topics you've encountered? Let us know in the comments.



http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/# http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/653/01/

Writing topics

Essay Writing Topics

In the Proficiency Exam, you are required to write a 200-250 word essay on one of two topics.  The format may be an essay, a memorandum, a letter, a report or other.  You have 50 minutes to do this.

Some example topics:

Topic 1

These days, people live much longer than they used to. Discuss the benefits of living longer and the problems it can cause. 

What is the average life expectancy in your country?  Do you think people are living longer now than they used to?  Why?

Do your grandparents live with your family? If so, what are the advantages for all your family?  Are there any problems?

Is it usual for elderly people in your country to live with their sons and daughters?  If not, do they often go into residential care?  Do you think they are usually happy there?  Are there any problems?

What qualities or skills do you think people gain as they get older?  Are these qualities or skills of any use to society?

Does your government provide elderly people in your country with a pension?  Do they get other concessions eg cheaper travel fares or help with bills?  Are elderly people often in financial difficulties?  Does care for the elderly cost the state a lot of money?








Useful phrases:

One of the most obvious advantages is …

This mean / can mean that …

This is largely due to ….

It is clear that …

On the whole, it seems that ….

We must take into account the fact that ….

It goes without saying that …

It is important to balance (a positive point) against (a negative point)

For example, ….

For instance, …..

In other words ….

Introductory phrases

To begin with / First and foremost (more conversational) / Firstly

In the second place / Secondly / A second area to consider is that ….

Next, … / Then, …. / Another point to consider is that …

Finally /

Concluding phrases

In conclusion / On the whole

To summarise / To sum up

Overall, I would say that … (more conversational)

Adding information




In addition


What is more (more conversational)

Topic 2

Nowadays a balance between life and work quality is sought.  What sort of measures do you think could be introduced in your workplace to increase the quality and balance of life and work. 

What benefits and disadvantages can flexi-time (when you can start and finish work when you wish) or flexi-place (working from home) have for the workplace?  Would child care facilities on-site improve conditions for employees.  What about early retirement.  Discuss these and other ideas in the context of your own workplace.

Topic 3

Describe a person, living or dead, who you greatly admire and discuss why he or she has had this effect on you.

Topic 4

Describe a person who has had a considerable influence on your life.  This person may have had a positive or negative effect on you. 


























One of …. most striking qualities was his … even when he was ….

His greatest quality was his ….

Topic 5

Describe some of your experiences of growing up and say how they have affected or would affect bringing up your own children.

What are your earliest memories of your own childhood?  Did you have a happy upbringing?  Were your parents strict or lenient?  What did you learn from them, and from other members of your family and your friends?  What qualities do you think the best parents possess?  What were some of the happiest, saddest or most exciting experiences you had as a child?

Some useful vocabulary:



















Topic 6

Our environment is becoming severely damaged.  Outline some of the ways in which this is happening and explain what measures you think should be taken to prevent it.


Ways we are damaging the environment

Traffic fumes

The sea is being polluted with toxic waste

Habitats are being destroyed (rainforests, animal endangered)

Global warming

Environmentally friendly modes of transport

Acid rain


Burning fuels in power stations:  greenhouse effect, global warming, temperature and seal levels rising, flooding and land turning to desert.

Dumping waste at sea

Measures to take


Use renewable energy resources

Environmental groups and protests


One of the major causes of … is ..

X causes / leads to / results in ….

X is due to ….

It appears / seems that

It is quite certain that …

There are many ways in which we could …

One of the most important things we should …

It is essential that we / the government …

Clearly, we have to ….

If / When we …, then we can …

The most obvious solution is to …

Perhaps we should consider … By doing this we can …

Meanwhile … / In the meantime, … / At the same time, we should ….

The consequences of not … are …

It is generally agreed that …. And that unless …

Topic 7

The population of the world is growing at an alarming rate.  Outline some of the problems of overpopulation and offer some possible solutions.

Topic 8

In a very short time large parts of the world have clicked onto computers.  What are the benefits and drawbacks of the technological era?  Do you think it is necessary for everyone to become technologically literate to survive?  Are there situations where it is not necessary to master technology?

Topic 9

The advantages of using genetic engineering far outweigh the risks.  Discuss.

Topic 10

Write a letter to your supervisor requesting sabbatical leave to study or work.  Give reasons to support your request:  what you intend to do;  how long you will need; how it will benefit you and your future work in the section; what arrangements could be made for the least interruption

Topic 11

Write an email to a friend telling them about a possible mission you have been offered.  Weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the mission and let them know the decision you have reached.

Topic 12

Write a memo to your supervisor requesting permission to work flexitime.  The workplace now supports flexitime, flexiplace arrangements.  Give the advantages to you and the section.  Explain how you see it working, what emergency back up you envisage, how you will communicate with your colleagues etc.

Topic 13

Write an email to a friend telling them about a recent promotion you missed out on.  Explain the reasons why you feel you were not selected and the skills the successful person had.  Tell your friend what measures / studies / training you intend to undertake to make sure you are successful the next time.

Topic 14

Write a memo to your chief stating your views about mobility.  Outline some of the advantages and disadvantages for the organization and for the person.  

Some ideas: 

  • personal development opportunities
  • problems associated with moving:  schooling for children, housing etc
  • separation from family if dangerous location

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