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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to EnglishClass101.com’s English in Three Minutes. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn English.
Hey everyone, I’m Alisha!
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 current affairs in a casual and natural way by asking: “Did you hear about...?”
Current affairs sounds like a scary, formal topic to talk about, but actually it forms the basis of many casual conversations in English. Talking about current affairs is a great way to have an interesting conversation without getting too personal with someone you may have just met, and is also a great way to learn more about the country you’re in if it’s not your native country.
So say you were watching TV in English last night and you saw an interesting or controversial news item that you want to talk about. You can’t just suddenly start talking about it with no introduction, because that would sound really odd and maybe confuse the person you’re talking to.
So how would you bring a topic like this up naturally?
All you do is use the phrase:
“Did you hear about...?”
And then you add the news item to the end of this. For example, if there was an earthquake in Asia, you could say:
“Did you hear about the earthquake in Asia?”
To make it sound even more natural, you can add when specifically this event took place.
“Did you hear about the earthquake in Asia last night?”
In answering this question, you have a number of options.
If you know of the event the person is talking about, you can tell them, and give some detail about where or how you heard about it.
“Yeah, I saw it on TV.”
Or:
“Yeah, I heard it on the radio.”
Or:
“Yeah, I heard about it from a friend.”
But if you don’t know what the other person is talking about, just saying “No” can sound rather blunt and as if you’re not very interested in what they’re saying. So instead you can show your interest and invite them to tell you about it by saying:
“No, what happened?”
And then this will normally prompt the other person to begin giving you details about the event in question, leading to a longer conversation. Of course, it’s even better if, when listening, you can make some comments using appropriate adjectives. The construction “How [adjective]” is useful when doing this. For example if the other person is telling you about a very sad or disastrous event, an appropriate comment would be:
“How terrible.”
Or:
“How awful.”
Or:
“How sad.”
On the flip side, if it’s a happy event, like a lost child being found, what native speakers often say are comments like:
“That’s great!”
Or:
“That’s a relief!”
Or:
“That’s amazing!”
Be creative with your English adjectives!
Now it’s time for Alisha’s Advice!
Twenty years ago most people got their news from television and newspapers, or “traditional journalism”, but recently more and more Americans get their news online via social media, which is the general term for services such as Facebook and Twitter. A survey found that as of 2012, over 50% of people surveyed had learned about a breaking news story via social media rather than from traditional sources, and that as of 2012 online news revenue - the money that online news services make - has surpassed print newspaper revenue.
Have you ever been to Beijing? How about Madrid? In the next English in Three Minutes lesson we’ll be talking about past travel experiences. See you next time!

14 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 12:38 PM
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Hello Hla Thandar Win,


Thanks for the comments!


Cheers,

Éva 😎

Team EnglishClass101.com

Hla Thandar Win
Monday at 10:53 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Did you hear about flooding in Asia?

Yes, I heard it on social media.

How terrible.

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 06:31 AM
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Hello Win,


Thank you for your message.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies!😇


Kind regards,

Levente

Team EnglishClass101.com

Win
Thursday at 01:56 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Did you hear about the Academy Awards?

Yeah,I saw it on TV.

How exciting!

That's interesting!

Thanks for the lesson 💓

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 04:09 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Reena,


Yes, I have - it was a tragedy.


Thanks for taking the time to write to us again.


Please feel free to shoot through any questions you have throughout your studies.


Kindly,

Éva

Team EnglishClass101.com

reena jignesh
Wednesday at 04:20 PM
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Do you hear about the Bhopal disaster?

Yeah, it's very bad.

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 03:49 AM
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Hello Carole,


Thank you for posting. If the earthquake has just happened, you can say "Have you heard about the earthquake in Asia?" or "Did you hear about the earthquake in Asia?"; both would be easily understood by a native English speaker. And if you do not want to sound rude and are not interested in the news report, you can say "No, I usually don't watch the news. It can be very depressing." This is a subtle way to say that you are not interested in sad news stories. Now, because it was so subtle, some people may not understand and continue to relate the story... at that point, you can just say "That is so sad. Oh, I'm sorry, I need to respond to this text." ... or a similar diversion from the topic. I hope this helps!😁


Let us know if you have any questions.


Cheers,


Patricia

Team EnglishClass101.com

CAROLE
Thursday at 11:57 PM
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I'm always confused with simple past and present perfect. And also I noticed that in America and in Britain they are not used the same way.😞

If the earthquake has just happened, could I say "Have you heard about the earthquake in Asia?" or would it be incorrect?


I have another question 😉 I decided years ago not to watch the news or read the press because it's always so negative in France.

The only time I watch TV is to watch a movie, a series or a documentary. So what if I really don't want to know about what has just happened and I don't want to be rude? Thank you 👍

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 02:11 PM
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Hi taban80@hotmail.com,


That's it! Just keep going and you'll be able to have a simple conversation about the news.


Keep studying :thumbsup:


Kellie

Team EnglishClass101.com

taban.80@hotmail.com
Thursday at 01:09 AM
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Did you hear about the snowstorm in Chicago last month?

Yeah, I saw the news on internet. I heard it on the radio. I heard about it from a friend.

No, what happened.

How terrible. How a