TOEFL essay sample: Advertising influences people's behavior

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Advertising influences people’s behavior in a negative way.

Do you agree or disagree?

Seeing advertisements on the television, billboards or hearing them on our favorite radio stations has become whether we like it or not part of our daily life. Being exposed to numerous advertisements do affect our behavior and the way we interact with each other, therefore I think the most of us would strongly agree with the above statement. We do live in a material world and there’s not much we can do about it.

I agree that advertising has a detrimental effect to people’s behavior in many ways.

We tend to follow our primary instincts and forget the real values in life. By acting on our insecurity and self-consciousness advertising makes us more inclined to products without which we could be quite happy. We covet and envy our friends. We become greedy and never satisfy with what we have. Advertising has created consumerism which affects our ability to communicate with each other. Most people nowadays prefer shari
ng their thoughts through electronic mail or latest cell phones than personal contacts. We have definitely become more distant from one another and consumerism is probably the main cause of this social alienation.

On the other hand, inasmuch advertising has a negative impact on our personality it has a positive impact on economy. The less commercials we see, the less amount of money we spend. For a large company and its competitors, advertising has become the only way of introducing products to the customers and for us sometimes it is the only way to learn about what they sell. Once I have read in an advertising magazine a funny explanation as to why people buy chicken eggs as opposed to say goose’s or duck’s? It is because chicken advertises its product by: “cackle and cluck”. One of the main indicators of a healthy and strong economy is the money flow or how much money is spent, in other words how much money advertising has succeeded to get out of our pockets. This results in low unemployment rate and increase in our standards of living.

Despite the fact that advertising will be thriving on our weaknesses in the years to come, we should try not to become slaves to material things and do our best to retain core values which after all distinguish us as human beings.

TOEFL listening lectures: Which of the following is true of biological indicators?


My suggestions are in CAPITAL LETTERS:

Very good.


Thank you Alan. I meant on economy in general. Would you please explain why do I need to use “THE” in this case. If I had used “society” instead of “economy”, would it be different?

Thank you.


I would use the definite article here for reasons of specificity -in other words to define the word economy as one unique thing. If you used society, you would be talking about society in general and not one particular society. I appreciate that this is a difficult use to grasp and it is very much bound up with a feeling for words and language. I have written some notes on the articles (and incidentally I have written the words the articles because I am referring to them in particular) for the site, which you may like to look at:

Articles in English: The vs. A/an

I hope you find this useful.