Facts and figures

Facts and figures

Listen to the lecturer giving some facts and figures to practise and improve your listening skills.


Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.


… and the next part of this talk is on the Panama Canal. It's amazing how this one small section of a small country can be so important to the world. Let's learn a little bit about the canal itself, before we look at how it connects to everything else.

The Panama Canal is an artificial waterway in the Central American country of Panama that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. It is only 82 kilometres long. If you go around South America by ship then you need to travel another 15,000 kilometres. So the canal saves a lot of travel time. It takes around 8 to 10 hours to cross the canal.

The French started building the canal in 1881, but they couldn't finish it. The project was started again in 1904 by the United States and the canal was finally finished in 1914. Many people died while they were building the canal, some say up to 25,000. For the rest of the 20th century, the United States controlled the canal, but gave control back to Panama in 2000.

Every year, around 40,000 ships come through the canal. These are mostly commercial ships. They transport goods for trade between Asia and America, or Europe. In 2016 the government of Panama made the canal bigger, so that now 99 per cent of ships can pass through it.

Let's now turn to the role of the Panama Canal in the global economy …


Worksheet78.61 KB

Language level

Average: 4.1 (31 votes)
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Submitted by phamthuphuong on Sun, 10/07/2022 - 15:05


How do I use and understand numbers as a natural reflex? I usually translate it into my native language, so I understand it very slowly.

Submitted by dennishrf on Fri, 27/05/2022 - 14:34


I like numbers and I don't find it difficult to use them in English. But I need to pay more attention to what is being said 'cause I didn't notice when he said the quantity of ships that cross the Canal. :(

Submitted by Bmorales on Thu, 26/05/2022 - 12:38


yes, but in english not :(

Submitted by Andres Cuchimaque on Fri, 06/05/2022 - 19:31


Yes, I am. I love the numbers. I'm Mecatronich Enginner, also, I love the trading.

Submitted by ICM2 on Tue, 12/04/2022 - 22:56


I enjoyed that particular story. Refresh the memory and remember the dates and figures full of the truths and not always happy events.

Submitted by Ehsan on Tue, 22/02/2022 - 05:36


No, when I listen to a English speech, I have a little problem understanding them. I work on it and it is getting better.

Submitted by jmajo on Thu, 10/02/2022 - 12:44


Well, I guess I'm good with them when I need to but I don't really enjoy work with them. At my work I have to do some maths and I don't like it very much, I get my job well done though. Although I'm not really good remembering numbers about facts, I do like to read about history related to facts and figures of mega constructions.

Thanks for the lesson.
Great site!

Submitted by ghada abk on Wed, 12/01/2022 - 02:19


yes I am good at numbers

Submitted by zehrizer on Wed, 22/12/2021 - 12:14


unfortunately not. ı skip the numbers even when ı read a research paper. ı dont care about dates.

Submitted by ANOUAR on Thu, 25/11/2021 - 10:00


Yes I am good at numbers because I love Mathematics and I enjoy solving problems .