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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 and ask about past travel experiences using the phrase “Have you ever been to...?”
Travel is a great topic for conversation because it’s so easy to talk about - you can discuss food you ate, sights you saw, places you visited, things you did, and so on and so on! There’s really no end to this topic once you get started, so it’s perfect if you’re not sure what to talk about.
Asking where someone has been travelling or on vacation is easy. All you have to do is ask:
“Have you ever been to...?”
And then add the name of the country or city you want to ask about.
This little word “ever” in “have you ever been to” is very important - not because of its meaning, but because it makes the question sound just like how a native speaker of English would ask it. It’s like a set phrase: “Have you ever been to...?”
So say you’re asked: “Have you ever been to Tokyo?”
How would you answer? A simple “Yes” or “No” isn’t going to cut it if you want to have a good conversation in English!
Say you have been to Tokyo. There are a number of ways you could answer this.
You could answer with how many times you’ve been there.
“Have you ever been to Tokyo?”
“Yeah, twice.”
“Yeah, three times.”
Or, if you want to be less specific:
“Yeah, a few times.”
If you’ve been one time to Tokyo, there’s a special way of saying this:
“Yeah, but only once.”
This “but only” is optional, but it makes your reply sound natural, like a native English speaker!
Apart from the number of times you’ve been there, you can also reply with *when* you went there. For example:
“Yeah, I went there last year.”
“Yeah, I went there three years ago.”
“Yeah, I went there when I was a kid.”
The word “kid” is more colloquial than “child”, and sounds less formal.
A common follow-up question to “Have you ever been to...?” is often to ask the person’s opinion of the place. There are two common ways to ask this question. The first is:
“What did you think of it?”
This is a super-useful question that we saw in Lesson 19 when asking about movies - but you can use it for so many different topics that it’s a good idea to memorize it!
The second is:
“How was it?”
You can answer both these questions in the same way. Remember in previous lessons we talked about expressing your opinions without hurting the other person’s feelings? The same rules apply here. If you liked the place, you can go ahead and say that. Be creative with your adjectives!
For example:
“I loved it. It was so exciting!”
“I really liked it. It was so vibrant.”
“I loved it. The food was delicious.”
And so on.
If you didn’t like it so much, be tactful using one of the phrases we introduced in earlier lessons. For example:
“It wasn’t really my type of place.”
A great way to say you didn’t like a place in a polite way is to compare it with another place you did like. For example:
“I didn’t like Tokyo as much as I liked Kyoto.”
This is also a very useful phrase - “I didn’t like [something] as much as [something else]”. Remember it!
Now it’s time for Alisha’s Advice!
Since the point of these questions is to start a conversation with the other person, you can follow up by asking about specific landmarks or attractions in the city or country you’re asking about. Use the pattern “Did you see” and then the landmark. For example, “Did you see the Great Wall?” This is a great way to get the other person to tell a story and further the conversation.
Are you a cat person or a dog person? In the next English in Three Minutes lesson, we’ll be talking about pets! See you next time!