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English Conversation – Crime

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 @ 08:05 AM
posted by Jo

This is the preparation material for an English conversation lesson about crime. Learn useful vocabulary and expressions about crime, as well as common questions you might be asked when discussing this subject.

Grammar Tip

Steal vs rob: These terms are very easily confused. The object of the verb ‘steal’ is the thing which is taken away e.g. “They are going to steal a car”. The object of the verb ‘rob’ is the person or place from which things are stolen e.g. “They are going to rob a bank”.

Crime Verb Table

Crime Criminal Verb
Murder Murderer Murder
Shoplifting Shoplifter Shoplift
Burglary Burglar Burgle
Smuggling Smuggler Smuggle
Arson Arsonist To set fire to
Kidnapping Kidnapper Kidnap

Idioms we might use when talking about crime

  • Behind bars / serve time – in jail
  • Do a runner – if someone leaves a restaurant without paying
  • To be caught red-handed – to be caught in the act of doing something wrong
  • In cold blood – to kill someone in a way which is cruel, planned and without emotion
  • On the run – running from the police

Conversation questions about crime

  • Is there much crime in the area where you live?
  • Do you feel safe walking around at night?
  • What are the main crimes that take place where you live?
  • Do you think in general crime is increasing?
  • What do you think are the main causes of crime?
  • Do you think criminals spend enough time behind bars?
  • How has the growth of the internet led to new crimes?
  • Do you think that anyone is capable of committing a crime if exposed to certain life situations?
  • Have you ever been a victim of crime?
  • Have you ever witnessed someone ‘do a runner?’
  • Have you ever seen anyone being caught red-handed?
  • How is the government of your country addressing issues of crime?
  • Do you think that punishment always fits the crime?
  • What is your opinion of the expressions ‘it’s a crime to do nothing?’
  • Are there any problems with drugs where you live?
  • What do you think about the death penalty?
  • What could be the factors that would lead someone to kill in cold blood?
  • Do you think that punishment for violent crimes should be the same for children and adults?
  • Do you think that legalising drugs would decrease the crime and health issues associated with drug taking?
  • Do you think crime is ever justified, for example, if someone steals food because they are starving?
  • Do you think that prison is effective for rehabilitating criminals?
  • What would you do if you heard a burglar in your house?
  • Why is there more crime in some countries?

Reading Practice

Different countries have many different ideas of what things are crimes, and which are severe enough to be treated as felonies. Some things that are crimes in one country are not crimes in other countries.

In most countries, police try to stop crimes and to find criminals. When the police find someone who they think might be a criminal, they usually hold the person in a jail. Then, usually, a court or a judge decides if the person really did a crime. If the court or judge decides that the person really did it, then he or she might have to pay a fine or go to prison. Sometimes the judge might decide that the criminal should be executed (killed). This is called Capital punishment (or the Death Penalty). There are countries in the world who execute criminals, and others who do not.

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One Response to “English Conversation – Crime”

  1. [...] DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4: CRIME (SOURCE: englishwithjo.com) [...]


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