“Is it Okay to Lie?”



Pre-Listening Question

Are there times when bending the facts and the truth is acceptable? Explain.

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

spoiler (noun): information about a story or event that tells you what will happen, but it will spoil the surprise
– This news story contains spoilers about the new Spiderman movie, so you might not read the information if you want to keep the movie a surprise.

situational (adjective): depending on the situation or specific circumstances 
– How did you celebrate your sweet sixteen last week?

go bananas (idiom): become excited or angry
– The fans went bananas when their team won the championship.
– Don’t tell dad just yet that you ran over the mailbox with the car. He’ll go bananas when he finds out.

deceptive (adjective): misleading
– This news story is somewhat deceptive because it doesn’t present all of the facts correctly.

hold off (verb): postpone an action
– Let’s hold off telling the kids about our summer plans until we are sure we can arrange everything.

be furious (adjective): very angry
– My sister was furious when she found out that her husband had lied about his spending habits.

get off track (verb): get off the present subject
– Teacher: All of these future plans are interesting, but let’s not get off track from the current topic of improving student motivation.

sucker (noun): slang for any person or thing
– I can’t believe you bought this old car. This sucker won’t last one month, for sure.

get caught flat footed (idiom): not ready or unprepared
– The company president got caught flat-footed during the meaning when employees exposed his plans to fire 50 employees.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.

Conversation Questions

How would you respond in each of these situations? Would you lie or bend the truth, and if so, what would you say?

  1. Your child wants to know if Santa Claus is real.
  2. You invite your friend to come over to watch a movie with about 20 friends, but you are secretly planning a birthday party. He asks you if anyone else is going to be there.
  3. A child is in a terrible car accident, and both parents died in the tragic incident. The child asks to see her parents. You wonder whether you should wait to say anything until the child has recovered after a few days.
  4. A stranger asks to use your phone while you are at a bus stop. The woman says that she needs to call a friend, but you feel uncomfortable lending your phone. 
  5. A co-worker asks how you are doing, but you don’t want to discuss that you are having marital problems. 
  6. You have been invited for dinner an your new neighbor’s house, and the meat is very dry and tastes too salty. Your host asks you how you like the food.
  7. You receive a very ugly sweater from your grandmother who spend a month knitting it. She asks you how you like it.

Critical Thinking Skills

Think about these questions to develop your thinking skills.

  1. What factors, values, experiences, or beliefs affect your choices in the situations above?
  2. Have your opinions on such matters evolved over time? Why or why not?
  3. Can be honesty be relative in some cases?
  4. In what ways do your opinions differ from those of your family and friends? If they do, how do you navigate “hot” topics when they arise?

Related Language Activities on Randall’s Web Site

The following activities deal with the topic of honesty and can encourage additional discussion on the topic.

Try More Free Listening at