world reserves

Unit 10
Richest Families in America

Workplace English/Communication skills


Share your ideas with your teacher and try to make sentences.

Who do you think is the richest family in America?


Repeat  these  sentences  after  your  teacher.

1. collectively (adv.) 全體地;共同地
The group does not function well collectively.

2. cumulative (adj.) 累計的
Your mistakes will give you a cumulative penalty.

3. net worth (n.) 資產總和
How much is the net worth of Bill Gates?

4. privately owned (phr.) 私人擁有的
The resort you see is privately owned.

5. generation (n.) 一代人
The generation of kids today are techy.

6. inherited (v.) 繼承
Sharon inherited my love for music.

7. old money (n.) 傳統的大家族
That woman is old money.


Read the dialogue aloud with your teacher.

Hey honey, what are you reading?

I’m just reading this Forbes article about the 185 richest families in America. You haven’t read it, have you?

No, I haven’t. It sounds interesting though.

Well, did you know that collectively, they’re worth $1.2 trillion? The three richest families are worth one fourth of the cumulative net worth of all of the wealthiest families.

Wow, that’s insane! Who are the three richest families?

Let me see. The Walton family, which is the family that started Wal-Mart; the Koch family, they are in the oil business; and the Mars family, they are the people making Mars bars.

Do the families still control these businesses?

It says Koch Industries and Mars Inc. are still privately owned. In fact, they are the second and third largest privately owned companies in America. The article says most of the families on the list are second and third generation members of the family who inherited their wealth.

Lucky for them! What about the Vanderbilts and the Rockerfellers? Are they not on the list?

No, the old money are not on the top 10. But I’m sure they are still filthy rich. It’s upsetting to see people at the top getting richer and richer while the rest of Americans gets squeezed into the bottom.

Yeah. The income gap keeps widening. I was listening to a podcast the other day and it said a study found social mobility has been declining over the past two decades. The American dream has been lost.

I am not sure if that’s entirely true. People are still able to move up in society if they’re willing to put in the effort. Think about Mark Zuckerberg and all the tech billionaires. Most of them are self-made.

I guess so. It’s getting late. I’m gonna tuck in and let rich people worry about their own problems.


Rhetorical questions

A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked in order to make a point. Many times when a rhetorical question is used, the speaker already knows the answer to the question, but is simply asking to make a statement.

A simple but effective rhetorical question is the kind we see in today’s dialogue, where the speaker asks “doesn’t it feel warm in here?” This common type of question will usually be in the negative form. When the listener hears your question, they should know that it’s not a direct question, but rather a rhetorical one.

1. Aren’t you a little too old to be playing with dolls?
2. Won’t he get angry when he discovers what we’ve done?
3. Didn’t we agree to meet at 7:00 for dinner?
4. You don’t expect me to go with you, do you?
5. You forgot to bring the food, didn’t you?


Make a conversation with your teacher.

1.What do you think are the occupations of the richest families in America?