Capital Punishment

Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on June 23, 2019 and last updated on June 1, 2023

The topic of capital punishment serves as a compelling conversation topic for English learners, offering them a unique opportunity to enhance their language skills. Discussing this subject allows learners to practice vocabulary related to law, ethics, and justice, while also honing their ability to express opinions and engage in critical thinking.

Exploring capital punishment encourages learners to consider cultural differences, examine societal values, and delve into moral dilemmas. Such discussions promote language fluency and empower learners to engage in meaningful debates, expanding their linguistic and intellectual capacities in the process.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

About Capital Punishment

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a topic that sparks debate and raises questions. It refers to the legal punishment of taking someone’s life as a consequence of a serious crime. Supporters argue it serves as a deterrent and provides justice, while opponents highlight concerns about human rights and the potential for wrongful convictions.

Exploring capital punishment helps us understand the complexities of justice systems and encourages critical thinking about the ethical implications of such punishments.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • punishment (noun)
  • execute (verb)
  • execution (noun)
  • law (noun)
  • justice (noun)
  • penalty (noun)
  • guilty (adjective)
  • trial (noun)

Conversation Questions

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  • What are your thoughts on capital punishment? Do you think it should be abolished or maintained?
  • Are there any crimes that you believe warrant the death penalty? Why or why not?
  • How do you think capital punishment affects society as a whole?
  • Can you think of any alternatives to capital punishment that could still ensure justice is served?
  • Do you believe that capital punishment serves as a deterrent to crime? Why or why not?
  • Should the age or mental state of the offender be taken into consideration when deciding on capital punishment?
  • If a person sentenced to capital punishment were to show genuine remorse and work towards rehabilitation, should their sentence be reconsidered?
  • How does capital punishment impact the families of both the victims and the convicted individuals?
  • Is there a risk of executing innocent people with capital punishment?
  • Should the decision on whether to use capital punishment be left to individual countries or determined by international law?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.