The Question

Imagine that it has been announced that a large shopping center will open in your neighborhood, and you have been asked your opinion. Would you support or oppose its construction? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

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The Sample TOEFL Essay

         Shopping malls have a major impact on the neighborhoods surrounding them.  Personally, I believe that these effects are mostly negative, so I would oppose the construction of a new shopping area in my town. I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

         To begin with, a shopping mall would cause many small local businesses to shut down, which would have a negative effect on overall employment.  It is true that a shopping mall would employ a lot of people from the community, but the jobs lost at small local retailers forced out of business would be greater in number.  For instance, when a shopping mall opened in the small town where my parents live, it forced their favorite local hardware store out of business. Even though the hardware store located in the new mall was three times as large as the family store, it only employed half as many people.  Not only that, but the small local store employed well-paid experts, while the shopping mall mainly hires teenagers who earn minimum wage.

         Secondly, shopping malls often result in urban sprawl, which is something that reduces the quality of life in the surrounding area.  While small local shops are usually located at the center of a city, shopping malls are usually found on the outskirts of town. It is possible for customers to walk to local stores found downtown, but it is necessary to drive to shopping malls.  To make matters worse, after a shopping mall becomes successful, other retailers will open up nearby and patronizing them also requires driving. I am of the opinion that the ability to walk to shops and services is a part of a high quality of life. My brother’s experience is a compelling example of this. Last year, a shopping mall opened in his city, and his favorite downtown bookstore closed as it couldn’t compete with the new bookstore in the mall.  He has told me many times that driving forty minutes just to buy a book is a real inconvenience, especially since he could just walk to the old bookstore.

         In conclusion, I would strongly oppose the construction of a shopping mall in my hometown.  This is because it would force small family-run businesses to shut down, and because it would cause my life to be less pleasant. (394 words)


This is a sample TOEFL personal preference essay written by a TOEFL expert.  It follows our TOEFL writing templates for independent essays.  If you find it useful, please remember that we have many more sample essays for you to read!



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