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This is an example from an IELTS test.

It is often considered that change is more beneficial to people than trying to avoid it and have everything remain the same. Do you think the advantages of change outweigh the disadvantages.

"It is often considered that" and "it's considered by many that" are commonly used phrases, especially in writing test. Do they always mean the same thing?

In other words, they are interchangeable in IELTS test, right?

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I can't speak for a test, but as a native speaker I can't think of a situation where those phrases would mean different things. Because "considering" is an action done by people, in any context if something is considered "often" that implies that "many" people have considered it.

One could argue that if "consider" refers to the action of actively thinking about something, just because many people have considered a topic in the past doesn't mean they do so frequently, which "often" implies, however given the context implied by the sentences I think it would be disingenuous and needlessly nitpicky for a test to say that these phrases mean different things. Saying "It is often considered that... X" in common speech usually means that most people think a certain way, not that people frequently actively think about a subject.

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Perhaps people would commonly take them to have the same meaning, and in many contexts they would, but if you look at the words themselves, they clearly don't have to.


1) "It is often considered …"

This means that something is frequently considered. It doesn't indicate how many people are doing the considering:

Between my wife and I it is often considered rude to switch channels without asking the other person first.

This sentence describes two people. I don't think anybody would consider many as something that describes only two people.


2) "It is considered by many …"

This means that a lot of people consider it. But it doesn't say how frequently they consider it.

Once every 100 years, it is considered by many puzzling that there's so much controversy between the new century starting on the year 00 or the year 01.

Something that happens only once every 100 years is certainly not something that can be described by often.


3) In Combination

Because the two phrases can have quite different meanings, it's possible to combine the two in a way that is not simply redundant:

It is considered by many and often that it would be nice to have 3-day weekends.

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