Ways to Describe Groups in Society

Many IELTS Writing Task 2 questions are connected with aspects of SOCIETY. When you would like to refer to groups in society, you can often use ‘the’ with an ADJECTIVE and turn the ADJECTIVE into a NOUN. These words are complex and academic! Here are the most useful examples:


The rich; the wealthy; the well-off; the affluent ( = those in society with lots of money)

The privileged ( = those in society who have the best opportunities)


The poor; the impoverished ( = those in society without money)

The destitute; the dispossessed ( = those in society who have nothing)

The underprivileged; the disadvantaged ( = those in society who have fewest chances and opportunities)

The unemployed ( = those who do not have a job)

The homeless ( = those who do not have a home)

The hungry ( = those who do not have enough food)

The weak; the vulnerable ( = those in society who are not strong)


The elderly ( = those in society who are old)

The disabled ( = people in society who do not have a physical, mental or emotional ability which others have)

The healthy

The sick

The happy

The young


  • THE AFFLUENT are generally extremely unwilling to pay higher taxes so that the living standards of THE DESTITUTE and THE DISPOSSESSED can be raised.

  • It infuriates me that THE PRIVILEGED sit on their luxury yachts sipping champagne without a care in the world.

  • I am of the opinion that the principal role of government is to feed THE HUNGRY, house THE HOMELESS, offer work to THE UNEMPLOYED and care for THE SICK in society.

  • Most of us have almost no idea what life is like for THE UNDERPRIVILEGED in society.

  • THE ELDERLY could make a much bigger contribution to society than they currently do. They are often ignored by THE YOUNG.