Online Shopping

The trend of online shopping is increasing significantly. What effect does it have on the environment and society in general?

We are living in a world where cyberspace plays crucially important roles in our life. Many people, nowadays, are truly not able to make a living without usage of this new technology. One of the most exciting merits of the Internet, online shopping, has recently come under spotlight amongst critics, and although, there are certainly valid arguments to the contrary, many, I myself included, believe that the benefits of online shopping far outweigh its drawbacks.
First of all, it goes without saying that in this day and age we must modify some of our traditional ways of living, one of which is conventional shopping. We are suffering from different kinds of pollution in most metropolitan areas, and online shopping can dramatically reduce air pollution. It means the shoppers do not need to leave their place to buy what they need, and additionally online vendors send the requested commodities directly to their customers. This way of commerce inherently precludes unnecessary transportations.

Equally importantly, online shopping provides customers with more competitive prices. In this new way of trade, customers can place their order directly to the vendor, and manufacturer can cut out the middlemen. In some cases there are several middlemen, and since each of those increase the price to meet his unreasonable margin, hence the higher price of most imported commodities. Additionally in some occasions offer their loyal customers with special discounts or coupons encourage them buy more. In traditional shopping this kind of promotions rarely will be delivered to end users, and in most cases dealer enjoy / confiscate them to their benefit.

By way of conclusion, I once again reaffirm my position that online shopping has had a positive impact on modern life because of its influence on environment and lowering the prices.

TOEFL listening discussions: What is the purpose of this meeting?

Hi Swan, I am not sure your thesis addresses the prompt directly enough.
The prompt is not really asking whether online shopping is good or bad,
it is asking what effects does it have on the environment and society in general.
Your first body paragraph does address the environment somewhat, but your second body paragraph does not really discuss the effect online shopping has on society.
You mainly focus on the fact that online products are cheaper. But maybe the main point that the prompt is getting at is what will happen to all those unemployed middlemen?
Remember that no matter how well you write, if you do not address the prompt specifically enough, you won’t get a very good score. Here are some specific suggestions.

Dear Luschen,

Thank you so much for your scrupulous attention correcting my essay.
To tell you the truth, I am completely agree with you regarding the thesis statement. In fact I wanted to escape from answering the question directly, and thought the benefits of online shopping are exactly the benefits to individuals and society.
Do you mind if I ask you to write a topic sentence for this subject?


For a thesis statement, I would say something like. “It is clear that internet commerce has a significant impact on the environment, as well as causing noteworthy changes to the social structure.”

Then for your two topic sentences, the first could be: “To begin, through its inherent efficiencies, online shopping has the potential to reduce environmental degradation to a large extent.” Then the second could be something like. Furthermore, in regard to society as a whole, cyber marketing will no doubt continue to cause great shifts, which if managed carefully could prove beneficial in the long run." The big point here is that prices will be lower because the market as a whole will be more efficient. Nevertheless, many middlemen who are not really adding value to the economy will still be out of a job, so retraining will be necessary to shift them into more productive roles.

Thank you so much dear Luschen. I would be thankful if you could answer the following:

1- Did scrupulous attention seem normal to you? I mean did it convey the meaning?
2- Internet commerce or the Internet commerce?
3- To begin does not seem normal to me, but if you suggest it instead of first of all or firstly, I will use it.


Hi Swan,

To be honest, “scrupulous attention” is correct, but normally if I heard that I would assume the speaker was being somewhat sarcastic or insincere. I know you didn’t mean it that way, but it just sounds a little too flowery for a native speaker to say it with a straight face.

Internet as a noun takes “the”, but internet as an adjective does not need any articles.

First or firstly are fine, but to me they work best when you have a set of reasons or examples - here’s the first reason, here’s the next reason, here’s my final reason. In your case you are really talking about two different topics, so “to begin … furthermore” is good for two related topics while “to begin … on the other hand/in contrast” works well for two contrasting topics.