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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to EnglishClass101.com’s British English in Three Minutes. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn English.
Hey everyone, I’m Gina!
In this series, we’re going to learn some easy ways to ask and answer common questions in English. It’s really useful, and it only takes three minutes!
In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to talk about your pets, and ask about other people’s.
Lots of people love animals, don't they? And lots of people have pets! Which is why pets are a good topic of conversation. In this lesson we’ll be learning how to go above and beyond the boring English textbook questions when talking about and asking about pets!
The first question is a classic and one that you have probably seen in your English textbook. There’s really no other way to ask this!
“Do you have any pets?”
If however you want to take a more roundabout route to this question and are feeling adventurous, you could first ask:
“Are you a cat or dog person?”
This is an idiomatic way of asking whether someone prefers cats or dogs. If you bring this question out, a native English speaker will be stunned with how good your English is!
And after asking this, you could then ask if she or he has any pets.
Answering the question “Do you have any pets?” couldn’t be simpler.
“Yeah, I have a cat.”
“Yeah, I have a dog.”
“Yeah, I have a dog and a cat.”
“Yeah, I have two cats.”
And so on and so forth!
But you don’t want the conversation to end there, do you? Of course you don’t! Here’s a good place to ask a little about the pets themselves. First you can make an enthusiastic comment about the type of animal. For example:
“Oh, I love dogs!”
“I love cats!”
Then, you could ask:
“What’s its name?”
If the person has more than one pet:
“What are their names?”
Another good question is asking what type of dog or cat the pet is. The special word for referring to a particular type of animal in English is “breed”:
“What breed is it?”
“What breeds are they?”
But what if you don’t have any pets? How would you answer the initial question?
“Do you have any pets?”
A flat “No” can sound unfriendly, and as we mentioned in previous lessons, it can shut down the conversation before it really gets started. So it’s best to add the reason why you don’t have any pets.
For example, let’s imagine you just don’t like animals. Remember we mentioned being careful not to be rude when giving opinions? Well here it’s particularly important, as many people are animal lovers and may be offended if you say you “hate” or “don’t like” animals!
Instead, you could say:
“I’m not really an animal person.”
This is a nice, soft way of saying you don’t like animals without causing offence.
If you don’t want to say this, there’s another great answer to this question.
“I’m allergic to animals.”
This may in fact be true, but it’s also a great excuse as to why you don’t have pets if you simply just dislike animals.
A third and final reason:
“My building doesn’t allow pets.”
This is useful for those of you who live in apartment buildings in big cities, where a “No Pets” rule is very common.
Now it’s time for Gina’s Tips!
A tip: some animal lovers don’t like it when you refer to their pets as “it”. In this lesson we referred to a pet as “it”, as in “What breed is it?” or “What’s its name?” and generally when you talk about animals you should say “it”, but sometimes it’s safer to ask the gender of someone's pet. If you don't want to answer the question directly, you could also refer to the pet as “he” when you’re asking about someone’s pet, and let the person correct you if the animal is actually female.
For example:
“What breed is he?”
“What’s his name?”
And if the pet is female, the person might say:
“Oh, actually, my dog’s a she.” or “My dog is female.”
Do you know how to ask what someone’s plans for the weekend are? I’ll be waiting with the answer in the next British English in 3 Minutes lesson. Bye everyone!