In IELTS writing task 2, I saw some questions such as the following,

Why is this so? Give reasons for this and solutions?

Here, the IDP asked to answer in the following essay structure (paragraph-wise):

Para-1. Introduction
Para-2. Reason why it is so
Para-3. Reasons for this
Para-4. Solutions for this
Para-5. Conclusion

What is the difference between Why it is so and Reasons for this? (I don't see any difference between Paragraph 2 and 3.)

  • Could the test writers simply be bored with asking the question the same way many times?
    – BillOnne
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 15:58
  • 2
    I don't see any difference either. Incidentally, Give reasons for this and solutions is an instruction, so it shouldn't have a question mark. Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 16:48
  • @KateBunting I would view "give reasons for this and solutions" as elaborating what, exactly, should be contained in the essay (no question mark needed), while "Why is this so?" is the "high-level" main question.
    – Esther
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 19:20
  • It might be clearer if you gave an actual example of a question in this format. I'd suggest that you might consider "immediate causes" and "underlying causes". Eg "Streets are too busy": immediate cause is "too many cars", underlying cause is "too many people in the city". Solutions "fewer cars and fewer people"...
    – James K
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


Fairly simply, what is being asked for is:

  1. a summary explanation outlining the most superficial cause(s) behind what is happening
  2. further details supporting that summary explanation, explaining the factors and / or chain of events leading to those causes

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