Video: Open and closed questions


Narration:

To get a good result in your Task 2 writing test, you need to fully answer the question. In order to make sure you do this, you need to be clear exactly what you are being asked to do. You have already seen how questions can have a general topic, a specific topic and task words, and how it is easier to answer titles written as statements when you have made a direct question. There is another aspect you need to consider when writing an answer – whether the title is open or closed. An open question has many possible responses, whereas a closed question requires a more specific answer which needs you to consider two sides. For example, in this title, the direct question would be Should we return to the use of the death penalty? This is a closed question as you are required to write that either yes we should or no we should not. Often, the task words of the question will tell you whether it is open or closed. However, sometimes the phrasing of the specific topic makes the questions open or closed. For example. In this question, we need to consider these two sides – it will bring problems or it will bring benefits. An open question – for example this – does not tell you what sides you need to consider so has many more possible answers.

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