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Big Families

Big Families

Date: Apr 03 2009

Themes: Family

Grammar: The Unreal Past


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.

Recently, an American woman named Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets. Octuplets! That’s eight babies. And she already had 6 other children at home. Can you imagine how exhausted you’d be if you were a single mother with 14 children?

Nadya and her brood may be an extreme example, but lots of people want to have big families. For one thing, having more kids means more chances that at least one of them will turn out OK. But children are also a lot of work. And from diapers to college tuition, each one comes with a high price tag. According to one estimate, it costs an average American family over $250,000 to raise a child!

Marni is surprised that Ella wants to have a lot of children. Listen to them talk about the ideal family size.


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.





Marni:  So that woman who recently had 8 babies, it’s made me really think about the nature of big families and how it’s pretty unnecessary in this day and age to have that many children.

Ella:  Well, I don’t know, like, it could work. I mean, we have an overpopulation problem. But if I have kids, I think I want four.

Marni:  Four. Really.

Ella:  Well, okay. So, one would be an only child. Two, what would happen if they hated each other? There’s a problem there. Then you have three, there’s the whole “I’m the middle, I’m the youngest.” So four would be just right.

Marni:  So you really think that four is the perfect amount?

Ella:  Yeah, I just, I’ll figure the finances later. But I don’t know, it’d be fun!

Marni:  Fun? But really, you have to think about the expense of it. And like you said, there is an overpopulation problem. We don’t need four children in this day and age. People used to have big families to do farm work and stuff like that, and that’s pretty much non-existent.

Ella:  I’ll live on a farm.

Marni:  You’ll live on a farm. OK. So, if you really want four children do you think maybe you’d consider the Brad and Angelina Jolie route, adopting and having your own?

Ella:  Yeah, totally! Maybe half my own and the other half help some other kids that need help.

Marni:  OK…

Ella:  Yeah, I’m open to anything.


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Farmers used to need lots of children to help out around the farm. But Marni thinks it’s unnecessary in modern society to have a big family. When you think about overpopulation and how many unwanted children there are in this world, having lots of children can seem like a pretty selfish thing to do.

But Ella is sure that she wants to have four kids. She thinks four is the perfect number to avoid sibling rivalry and make sure that all the kids get along. She isn’t worried about how much it would cost to raise four kids. But she is worried about overpopulation, so maybe she’ll adopt two of the four kids.

Are you part of a big family or a small family? How many kids do you have or want to have?



Log in to Comment

Ya Nina


I suppose that a big family – is a very good idea, if you have enough money for their education and raising. When you have children, you want to give them all of the best: food, clothes, entartainment, education. Although I like Ella’s opinion about four children and reasons for that, I’m sure that at the beginning, you need to think of your financial position and after that to dream about a big family.

On the other side, a lot of people forget about God. You can dream about big family as much as you want, but if God has other plan, your plans don’t make sense. And vice verse, if God wish that you have many children, let it be=)  

09:35 AM Feb 10 2015 |




i am a part of very small family and really happy with that..this is really a nice and wise idea to adopt if you intend to have a big family.

10:55 AM Sep 07 2014 |

1 person likes this




I have a big families and I have a brother . :) He is elder about two years :)

04:49 PM Nov 05 2013 |

1 person likes this


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i love big families but i’m alone i don’t have any brother or any sister at home we’re just mom dad and ICry

08:19 PM Oct 27 2012 |

1 person likes this

Love off

Love off

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

oh we are very big families,we are 5 sisters and 2 brothers,i’m fourthWink

 first my sister after her my  brother and after 1 sister of my sister is IWink

and after I my an other sisters and my a brother .

07:34 PM Oct 27 2012 |

1 person likes this



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

that’s bad..

09:00 AM Oct 27 2012 |




we are 6 in my family! i have 3 sister and 2 brothers !!! it’s cool to have a lot of member in a family ! we had a lot of fun !!! i’d also like to have 5 or 6 afta Smile

05:56 PM Oct 26 2012 |




big families

sometimes is good and sometimes is bad

but i like it because i have a big family and i love my family.

09:13 AM Sep 19 2012 |

1 person likes this

daya 472910217


now i have a big family,with my parents and one brother and sisiter.i love them and enjoy the big family life together with them .if one day i have my own fsmily ,i want one boy and girl kids,god bless me

11:38 AM Feb 23 2012 |

daya 472910217


now i have a big family,with my parents and one brother and sisiter.i love them and enjoy the big family life together with them .if one day i have my own fsmily ,i want one boy and girl kids,god bless me

11:38 AM Feb 23 2012 |




I am single , I have two brothers and one sister. I live in Afghanistan Kandahar province. I want to marry one day. so that I have wife and a few kids, and  I love a big family.

05:24 AM Feb 23 2012 |


United States

I’ve got 8 siblings so I guess I am part of big family & want to have at least 16 kids when I grow up

01:23 AM Jun 03 2011 |




I am a part of big family. i have a brother and two sister.


I want to be big family. i will be 4 or 5 kids :-)

03:11 PM May 27 2011 |



haha   it’s funny, i  talked about the same topic with my english teacher some days’ ago, when she asked me how many kids i plan to have , i told her one or two is enough because i really have to think about the expense in this day and age in china, but when she said that what if i am rich, i naturally said that of course i will have more. obviuously money is one the most important factors that impacts the qty of kids a family is going to have, but marni’s reason of wantting four children is vey funny but i like.

11:52 AM May 21 2011 |




11:27 AM Nov 14 2010 |

thanhhuong huong

Viet Nam

I have 8 sisters, Im a youngest in my family. Sometime, we're argued, but we have funny so much. When my sisters are married, I'm very sad. I'm feel lonely.

07:51 AM Sep 08 2009 |



I am a part of a big family, I have 3 brothers and 1 sister…but fortunately my parents have no problem with cost in raising us..

Well, I already got 2 kids…I'm planning to have 2 more…Raising kids kind of fun and exhausted as well… 

04:16 AM Sep 08 2009 |





05:03 PM Jul 04 2009 |



Ummm i cant believe but it is great latest news



05:11 AM Jul 03 2009 |




Only one children is enough,I think.

01:13 AM Jul 03 2009 |

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