News Time

1.- Introduction to lesson

In this lesson, we are going to look at some headlines from some news stories. We are also going to examine one specific news story and examine the language used.


2.- Your turn…

Answer the following questions out loud giving as much detail as possible.

Which newspapers do you read?

  • Do you usually read the serious news stories first, or look at the more light-hearted stories?
  • Are pictures important to you in a newspaper? Do they determine which articles you read first?


3.- Pre-listening task

3.1.- Look at the following pictures and match them to the headlines.

  • 7 hours of medical blunders led to teenager’s death
  • Argentine judge blocks gay marriage
  • Study reveals 9 out of 10 patients misdiagnosed
  • US police shooting suspect killed
  • Shares rise as Dubai starts debt talks

Inicia sesión para hacer seguimiento de tus autoevaluaciones
1) misdiagnosed
2) gay marriage
3) suspect killed
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4.- Listening


4.1.- Fill in the gaps with the missing words from the listening.

Inicia sesión para hacer seguimiento de tus autoevaluaciones
1)9 out of 10 patients phoning the helpline misdiagnosed.
2)Out of the 30 patients, only 3 actually by the virus.
3)Anti-viral drug Tamiflu by appoximately half of the callers.
4)Researchers believe the people working in call centres need to be
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5.- Spoken response to listening

Answer the following questions out loud giving as much detail as possible:

  • How can the helpline service be improved?
  • Would you be happy to call the helpline knowing the problems they have experienced?
  • What would you do if you were showing the effects of swine flu?


6.- Language Focus – The Passive

Look at the following sentences:

  • The doctor diagnoses the patient
  • The patient is diagnosed by the doctor.


6.1.- Can you identify which verb is active and which is passive?

Inicia sesión para hacer seguimiento de tus autoevaluaciones
1)The doctor diagnoses the patient
2)The patient is diagnosed by the doctor
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6.2.- Who is the subject of the active sentence? Who is the subject of the passive sentence?

(Para ver la solución hacer doble click en texto; un click vuelve a posición original)



7.- Form

The passive is formed with:

Be + past participle


7.1.- Look at the tapescript and underline 4 examples of the present perfect passive.


A recent study of a swine flu helpline shows that as many as 9 out of 10 sick patients phoning the helpline have been misdiagnosed.

In fact, out of 30 patients, only 3 had actually been infected by the virus. While 5 people had other life threatening illnesses which had been completely missed.

Anti-vital drug Tamiflu had been taken by approximately half of the callers after contacting the National Pandemic Flu Service.

Researchers believe the people working in call centres need to be better trained and the computer programme used to diagnose swine flu improved as it has wrongly identified too many cases.

Article adapted from The News of the World 1st December 2009


7.2.- Use

We use the passive when we want the main focus of the sentence to be on the action or the person that is affected by the action.

  • Often the person who does the action is not mentioned.
  • The doer of the action can be introduced by using by after the verb.
  • e.g. the computer was fixed by the engineer.


7.3.- Controlled Practice

Complete the sentences with the correct passive form of the verb in brackets.

Inicia sesión para hacer seguimiento de tus autoevaluaciones
1)Often illnesses (catch) when people don´t wash their hands.
2)Thousands of people (suffer) from colds and the flue since September this year.
3)Medicine (not sell) to children under the age of sixteen.
4)Hospital treatment (not need) when you suffer from Swine Flu.
5)Where the next training session (hold)?
6)A wpoman (save) when her friend insisted on calling the helpline to diagnose her symptoms.
7)The service (improve) when the staff receive the correct training.
8)The technology used (change) in order to improve results.
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8.- Free Practice

Report the following story

US police shooting suspect killed


The following phrases may help you:

  • The suspect was killed by…
  • More than five people were injured…
  • A policeman is being investigated…


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