The instructions In the IELTS Writing Test for Writing Task Two (the essay) ask you to ‘give examples from your own knowledge and experience’. To do this, ‘such as’ is often used, but it is often used wrongly. So, we need to look at this phrase carefully. Here is the third of five ‘such as’ issues (from my IELTS Writing Task Two book [Tip 19, Item 3].

The Problem

What is wrong with the following sentences?

  1. If smokers, such as smoking 10 cigarettes a day, continue in this way, lung cancer is likely.
  1. People can meet others in society, such as talking to colleagues.


Let’s Think About It

In my classes, I call this ‘the banana issue’. Obviously you cannot write, ‘People, such as bananas, …’. The feature and the example of this feature need to be of the same sort. So, in our first example sentence, the feature is ‘smokers’, that is, people, but ‘such as…’ introduces ‘consuming 10 cigarettes a day’, that is, a habit. This sentence can be re-written in two ways, using people or habits:

  1. If smokers, such as those who consume 10 cigarettes a day, continue in this way, lung cancer is likely.
  1. If a smoking habit, such as 10 cigarettes a day, is continued, lung cancer is likely.


Now, the green part is a true example of the yellow part. Just like the colours of the rainbow (see picture above), everything is in the right place. Similarly, the second sentence can be written:

  1. People can meet others, such as colleagues.
  2. Activities, such as talking to colleagues, allow people to understand others.

Again, the green part is an example of the yellow part. A beautiful rainbow indeed.


Time to Practice

Now fix the following sentences, and think of a beautiful rainbow as you do it.

  1. Bad habits, such as cigarettes, do not help.
  2. Good habits, such as healthy food, are essential for a long life.
  3. When people, such as two jobs, they increase the risk.
  4. The difficulties, such as food and clothes, can be solved.
  5. Consumers appreciate discounts, such as books.
  6. This measure will help the economy, such as jobs.
  7. Computers now ‘crunch’ numbers very fast, such as accountancy.
  8. Crime can cause great reactions, such as newspapers.


By the way, you can also see this hint on my website: Also, here are the answer to IELTS Grammar Tip (5): 'Such as' (2)

Answers to ‘Such as’ (2)

  1. Doctors, especially cancer specialists, advise smokers to abandon their habit.
  2. Technology, such as mobile phones, can help people.
  3. Smoking, particularly a heavy habit, almost inevitably causes cancer.
  4. Many students, especially in Asia, suffer stress related disorders.
  5. The final months of the year, such as November, are by far the most stressful.
  6. Japanese businessmen often have to travel to other countries, such as China.
  7. Crimes, especially horrible ones, cause concern among all members of society.
  8. ..... because products, such as food items, are often most popular in supermarkets.




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