I came across this intriguing article on BBC News the other day.
It’s certainly an unusual situation to find oneself in and it makes for an interesting lesson. I also wanted to look at the different ways the same story has been covered by the press.
We began by looking at the three headlines:
- “S Korean cleaner may lose out after finding gold in bin” (BBC)
- “Cleaner may get to keep solid gold bars worth £240,000 he found in bin in South Korean airport” (Independent)
- “A Korean janitor who found seven gold bars worth $325,000 in the trash could be allowed to keep them” (CNBC)
We discussed the language used in the headlines – the use of may and could, the word choice and word order, and whether they sound more optimistic or pessimistic.
We then read and compared each of the articles – students highlighted unfamiliar language, and we looked at differences between British English and American English.
- bullion – gold or silver bars
- cache – a hidden store of things
- cleaner, janitor
- rubbish, trash
We also thought more about the idea of “finders, keepers” and students shared their views on this.
This lent itself well to an activity on imagined situations – what would you do if you were in the cleaner’s situation?
Activity: imagined situations
To talk about this we need to use a conditional statement.
Think about finding 7 gold bars in a rubbish bin. It’s not an everyday occurrence and if it’s actually happened to you, congratulations! For most of us, however, it’s unlikely and therefore an imagined situation – you’re thinking about what you would do were this to take place. For this we can use the second conditional.
“If I found gold in a rubbish bin, I would hand it into the police…”
There are two clauses here:
- a conditional clause – If I found gold in a rubbish bin
- a main clause – I would hand it into the police.
The structure we use for these improbable situations is:
If + past tense, would + infinitive
Questions: What would you do…?
- What would you do it you found gold bars in a bin?
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
- What would you do if it was raining and you didn’t have an umbrella?
- What would you do if you lost your phone?
- What would you do if you were president of your country?
- If I found gold bars in a bin, I would sell them and donate the money to charity.
- If I won the lottery, I would go on a world tour in my brand new private jet!
- If it was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella, I would run very fast from the bus stop to my house.
- If I lost my phone, I would initially panic and then I’d use the “find my phone” feature to locate it.
- If I were president, I would invest in our nation’s public transport to improve air quality and reduce congestion