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The Death Penalty

The Death Penalty

Date: Nov 21 2006


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and has been sentenced to death by the Iraqi court. The European Union denounced the sentence, saying they oppose capital punishment in all cases. Tony Blair came out against the sentence as well. President Bush hailed the decision. His home state of Texas executes more people than any other state in the US.

Capital punishment is a controversial issue. Although many countries have abolished it, it is still practiced in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. In 2004, the number of executions in China accounted for more than 90 per cent of all executions world-wide.

Listen to Mason and Kevin debate the death penalty.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Mason:  Thinkin’ about my stance on the death penalty, um, which… I’m generally for it.

Kevin:  Really?

Mason:  Yeah, I am.

Kevin:  Why’s that?

Mason:  Um, because I’m a very kind of pragmatic person and, you know, I see things like overcrowding in jails, you know, and, and I…. It’s funny because I generally believe that all people are good. At the same time I also kinda think that there are some people are kind of beyond rehabilitation or there are some things that are unforgivable. And, uh, in all honesty, to me, it kinda comes down to, like, well, if I’m gonna incarcerate this person for life, what’s that gonna cost, you know, taxpayers, and whatever, and society?

Kevin:  Now I could be wrong, ‘cause I’m quite, I’m very anti-death penalty, just ‘cause I feel ike the United States is one of… I believe it’s the only industrialized nation that still has the death penalty. I could be wrong… ‘cause, no, Singapore does.

Mason:  I don’t know.

Kevin:  Anyway… Um, and I feel like…. I believe from the statistics I’ve read that in fact it costs us more to put someone to death because of the constant back-and-forth between the courts and lawyers.

Mason:  Oh…

Kevin:  Um, than it does just to lock ‘em up for… with no chance of parole.

Mason:  That’s a funny thing. Hmm.

Kevin:  The system’s broken.

Mason:  I hadn’t heard that yet. And, and I do understand that, you know, that some people… it’s been proved… that, you know, have been sentenced to death falsely, you know, of crimes they haven’t committed. That’s really disturbing. But, uh, I’m ultimately not against killing people for their crimes, but I would like to know for certain that they deserve it and make it expedient and cheap.



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Kevin is right. The United States and Singapore are the only developed and democratized countries in the world that practice capital punishment. Unlike Mason, he opposes the death penalty.

When Mason says “that’s a funny thing,” he doesn’t mean it makes him laugh. He means it’s interesting, strange, even surprising and ironic.

When Kevin says “the system’s broken,” he means that the current system in the US that deals with capital punishment is inefficient and flawed.

Is capital punishment practiced in your country?

How do you feel about it?



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Iran, Islamic Republic Of

End of Evil ((attack to the iran, Kuwait ,even israel ,and own people))

06:28 PM Oct 22 2013 |

1 person likes this


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

In fact, capital punishment still exists in my country as it has remained in about 58 countries up to now. Absolutely, other than victims, no one is expected to feel good about capital punishment. In my opinion, the remained countries should mitigate the death penalty to a perceptible extent‏ ‏for some cases, but not abolish the likely deterrent rule, since there are some people who deserve it. By way of example, Saddam was one of them to whom it was the best and the least possible penalty, because he attacked Iran in which he massacred tens of thousands of innocent people. On top of that, he even did the same cruelty against his own people‏ ‏as well. What’s more, definitelyG.W.Bushdidn’t hail the decision due to what Saddam had perpetrated in Iran and Iraq,G.W.Bushdid it only because Saddam was no longer beneficial to them, so revolting!

04:44 PM Oct 20 2013 |



Syrian Arab Republic

they applied that on sadam,what about bush who killed many suhnee people in iraq ?what about opama who allows israel to kill palastinians ,what about bashar who is killing kids ,women,young people in syria?

they excuted sadam cuz he was fighting against America

all of them guilty in crimes against humanity and they ve to be sentenced to death not just sadam who faced his destiny with strong heart.

english baby , u dont have the right to put this brave person as exampel.


09:02 PM Sep 25 2012 |



Where are the human rights that the usa talks about, they let him in the hands of a band of criminals to do whetever they want to him,and moreover they’ve chosen purposely the date of Id al ad7a the holy fieast of muslims to execute him, that’s real shame, so please who posted this lesson should just appologize for giving such a shameful example to usa of death penalty.

12:49 AM Jun 26 2011 |

1 person likes this




allah rest his soul in peace..he was a brave man! if he wasnot one he would ‘ve just ran away like what tunisia presedent have done..took the citicenz money and left !saddan could’ve ran away..but coz he is a REAL MAN!!!!!

11:08 PM Jun 25 2011 |



Saudi Arabia

zhyar i have two thing to say to you may be saddam is an enemy but just for you do not talk about somone you do not know any thing about him that is one thing ‘scound ‘do not talk and judge about a dead person because this is The top of the cowardly  ’ about the capital punishment No we muslims  do not have this Severe torture our Islam is a religion of peace denied doing these things  

03:31 PM Jun 25 2011 |



Palestinian Territory, Occupied

as arab ppl we allowed usa to do this….shame on u arabs countries

03:06 PM Jun 25 2011 |

1 person likes this



usa has nothing tpo do with other countries, that’s a shame, to pretend helping the world while in fact the world just hates you, and rejects all your poisenous helps !!!

02:38 PM Jun 25 2011 |

1 person likes this



timchangbestDo u think iraque is living in heaven now ?!!!WIth the american troops bombing, raping, and sucking the iraqui pertoleum everyday…I can’t see any progress that the so called usa, has brought to the middle east but death and destruction.

02:31 PM Jun 25 2011 |



Palestinian Territory, Occupied

saddam husein didn’t deserve this…i like him and still like him…really wish him to saty in heaven…coz he is a good woorrior and a good muslim…

02:17 PM Jun 25 2011 |


United States

Americans remain divided on the death penalty, which is not used in many other nations in the industrialized world. Though the debate over the capital punishment and its morality is one that will continue for a long time, the costs of the capital punishment is considerable. Here is the proof: Taxpayers foot hefty bill to have the death penalty

10:14 AM Jun 25 2011 |



sadam is a enemy for all people.

01:42 PM Nov 19 2009 |

Sheila Rohini


Very comprehensive lesson. I like the fact that it explains some expressions like ‘that’s a funny thing’ and ‘the system’s broken

02:11 PM Mar 25 2008 |



United Arab Emirates

i do agree with bigmouse

04:42 PM Feb 25 2008 |

1 person likes this



the death penalty is only right way in that conditions.why they not kill other person?

01:06 PM Feb 03 2008 |



good lesson .i really like that .listen and discuss with one topic .a lots of phrase and sentence using in diffirent occassionins by oral english.good

12:34 PM Feb 03 2008 |



people in government didn't realize the value of life why do we need to have a death penalty? death penalty is the same as crime am i right?

01:43 PM Dec 05 2007 |




its better to live sentence than death penalty.. only GOD can do punishment…

04:45 AM Nov 20 2007 |



Czech Republic

i think there are people who deserve the capital punishment. thats one of a few things i agree with united states politics!

07:10 PM Nov 13 2007 |

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