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Woman Receives $15 Quadrillion Phone Bill (10th October, 2012)

A phone bill for one million dollars ($1,000,000) is crazy. One for a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) is more than crazy. A trillion-dollar bill ($1,000,000,000,000) is impossible. Imagine the shock a French woman got when her phone company sent her a bill for $15 quadrillion – that's 15 followed by 15 zeros. The amount is over 5,800 times larger than the value of the whole French economy. It is also enough to clear all of the world's debt. Of course, it is also the biggest telephone bill in history, and a mistake.

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Solenne San Jose decided to end her mobile phone contract last month. She was told she would have to pay a fee for ending the contract early. When she opened the envelope and saw the €11,721,000,000,000,000 bill, she immediately phoned the company. At first, they said there was no error. They told her they would try and take the money from her bank account and even offered her a payment plan! The company finally admitted it was a printing problem. They told San Jose she would need to pay nothing.

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PHRASE MATCH

Match the following phrases from the article.

Paragraph 1

1.

A phone bill

a.

by 15 zeros

2

Imagine

b.

whole French economy

3.

that's 15 followed

c.

for one million dollars

4.

the value of the

d.

in history

5.

clear all of

e.

the shock

6.

the biggest telephone bill

f.

the world's debt

 

Paragraph 2

1.

San Jose decided to end her

a.

phoned the company

2

she would have to pay

b.

contract early

3.

ending the

c.

plan

4.

she immediately

d.

mobile phone contract

5.

offered her a payment

e.

problem

6.

it was a printing

f.

a fee


LISTENING GAP FILL

A phone (1) ____________________ dollars ($1,000,000) is crazy. One for a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) is more than crazy. A (2) ____________________ ($1,000,000,000,000) is impossible. (3) ____________________ a French woman got when her phone company sent her a bill for $15 quadrillion – that's (4) ____________________ zeros. The amount is over 5,800 times larger (5) ____________________ the whole French economy. It is also (6) ____________________ of the world's debt. Of course, it is also the biggest telephone bill in history, and a mistake.

Solenne San Jose (7) ____________________ her mobile phone contract last month. She was told she would (8) _____________ fee for ending (9) ____________________. When she opened the envelope and saw the €11,721,000,000,000,000 bill, she immediately phoned the company. (10) ____________________ there was no error. They told her they would try and take the money from her bank account (11) ____________________ her a payment plan! The company (12) ____________________ was a printing problem. They told San Jose she would need to pay nothing.


MULTIPLE CHOICE

A phone bill for one million dollars ($1,000,000) is (1) ____. One for a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) is more than crazy. A trillion-dollar bill ($1,000,000,000,000) is impossible. Imagine the (2) ____ a French woman got when her phone company (3) ____ her a bill for $15 quadrillion – that's 15 followed by 15 zeros. The (4) ____ is over 5,800 times larger than the value of the (5) ____ French economy. It is also enough to clear all of the world's debt. Of course, it is also the biggest telephone bill (6) ____ history, and a mistake.

Solenne San Jose decided to (7) ____ her mobile phone contract last month. She was told she would have to pay a (8) ____ for ending the contract early. When she opened the (9) ____ and saw the €11,721,000,000,000,000 bill, she immediately phoned the company. At first, they said there was no        (10) ____. They told her they would try and take the money from her bank account and even offered her a (11) ____ plan! The company finally admitted it was a printing problem. They told San Jose she would need to pay (12) ____.

Put the correct words from this table into the article.

1.

(a)

crazy

(b)

crazily

(c)

crazies

2.

(a)

shock

(b)

shocked

(c)

shocking

3.

(a)

returned

(b)

replied

(c)

sent

4.

(a)

worth

(b)

amount

(c)

money

5.

(a)

hole

(b)

all

(c)

whole

6.

(a)

of

(b)

in

(c)

by

7.

(a)

end

(b)

finale

(c)

final

8.

(a)

pee

(b)

wee

(c)

fee

9.

(a)

cover

(b)

envelope

(c)

fold

10.

(a)

error

(b)

terror

(c)

err

11.

(a)

holiday

(b)

lesson

(c)

payment

12

(a)

quadrillion

(b)

nothing

(c)

euro


SPELLING

Spell the jumbled words (from the text) correctly.

Paragraph 1

1.

one liinmol dollars

2.

A loiilrnt-dollar bill

3.

gaiInme the shock

4.

15 wldfoloe by 15 zeros

5.

the value of the eohlw French economy

6.

the biggest telephone bill in irohsty

 

Paragraph 2

7.

mobile phone ctancotr

8.

she opened the eonlvepe

9.

she imieleyatmd phoned the company

10.

they said there was no erorr

11.

offered her a atnymep plan

12.

mdaetidt it was a printing problem


PUT THE TEXT BACK TOGETHER

Number these lines in the correct order.

1  )

A phone bill for one million dollars ($1,000,000) is crazy. One for a billion dollars

(    )

her a bill for $15 quadrillion – that's 15 followed by 15 zeros. The amount is over 5,800 times

(    )

told she would have to pay a fee for ending the contract early. When she opened the

(    )

envelope and saw the €11,721,000,000,000,000 bill, she immediately phoned the company. At

(    )

debt. Of course, it is also the biggest telephone bill in history, and a mistake.

(    )

impossible. Imagine the shock a French woman got when her phone company sent

(    )

admitted it was a printing problem. They told San Jose she would need to pay nothing.

(    )

Solenne San Jose decided to end her mobile phone contract last month. She was

(    )

first, they said there was no error. They told her they would try and take the

(    )

($1,000,000,000) is more than crazy. A trillion-dollar bill ($1,000,000,000,000) is

(    )

larger than the value of the whole French economy. It is also enough to clear all of the world's

(    )

money from her bank account and even offered her a payment plan! The company finally


PUT THE WORDS IN THE RIGHT ORDER

With a partner, put the words back into the correct order.

1.

dollars    phone     ($1,000,000)    million     A  ,    one     for     bill     .

2.

-     trillion     A     impossible     is     bill     dollar.    

3.

got     woman     French     a     shock     the     Imagine.    

4.

phone    Her    quadrillion    $15    for   bill     a    her   sent   company.

5.

clear     Enough     .     the     debt     to     all     world's     of

6.

her     Jose     mobile     decided     phone     to     contract     end.    

7.

told     she     would     have     to     pay     a     fee     She     was.    

8.

her     take     from     account     and     money     bank     Try     the.    

9.

was     printing     it     a     problem     Admitted.    

10.

San    would    pay    told    she     to    They    Jose     need     nothing.     


DISCUSSION (Write your own questions)

STUDENT A's QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B's QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________


WRITING

Write about phone bills for 10 minutes. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other's work.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________


HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. BIG NUMBERS: Search the Internet and find more information about big numbers. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about this phone bill. Include an imaginary interview with the woman and the phone company boss. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

4. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

5. LETTER: Write a letter to a phone bills expert. Ask him/her three questions about phone bills. Give him/her three of your opinions on them. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Your partner will answer the questions you asked.

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