Session 4

"What were you doing when...?" is a question people often ask when sharing memories about important events such as natural disasters, the death of someone famous, or big sporting events. For older people in the USA, a classic example is "What were you doing when JFK was shot?"

Wayiitiwwan marii boqonnaa kana keessaa

Wayitii marii qabxii 4

0 / 10

  • 0 / 10
    Activity 1
  • 0 / 0
    Activity 2

Activity 1

Days I'll remember forever

Where were you when...?

What were you doing when a memorable news event happened? You'll have a chance to share your stories with us later!

But first, let's listen to some journalists from the BBC World Service, which broadcasts news in 27 languages. We asked Naziru, Ly and Fernando, what they were doing when a major event happened and how it made them feel.

Before you listen, guess which person talks about:

  • The death of Nelson Mandela
  • Typhoon Haiyan
  • Brazil's 7-1 defeat at the 2014 World Cup

Sagalee kana dhaggeefadhuu shaakala kana xumuri

Barreeffama agarsiisi Barreeffama dhoksi

My name is Nazirul Mikailu Abubakar, I come from Nigeria and I'm working for BBC African Service. The biggest news event that I can remember I think is the death of Nelson Mandela. I was having a meal with my wife when I heard the news. I saw a text message from - er, on my mobile phone from one of my... one of my editors. My feeling was: this is the biggest story of my life.

Hello, I'm Ly. I'm from Vietnam and I'm working for the BBC Vietnamese Service in London. I was travelling on the train when I got the alerts of the death tolls in Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan passed through. Then I thought about Vietnam. Because the forecasters... the weather forecasters predict that Typhoon Haiyan would pass through Vietnam as well. Then I thought about my home country and my family back home: if they are preparing for it and, and, and - would they be ok.

Hello, my name is Fernando Duarte. I come from Brazil and I work for the BBC World Service, Americas. The biggest event – sporting event – from my recent past has to be the 2014 World Cup, hosted by Brazil. I was at the stadium and I was getting ready to start researching my report for the game when Thomas Muller scored with only, I think, ten minutes. The second goal went in and I started thinking, "This is really bad. This can go really, really wrong." But I never expected them to score four goals in six minutes like they did, and I was already thinking of leaving the stadium when the fifth goal happened and I just said "No, you have to stay here because this is history whether you like it or not."


Download the audio (size: 3.15MB).

To do

Were you right? Listen again and answer the questions.

Who said what?

10 Questions

Choose the best answer for each question

Baga gammadde! Qormaata xumurteetta
Excellent! Great job! Carraa badaa! Qabxii argatte:
x / y

Over to you

What news or sporting event has stuck in your memory? We asked some people to tell us their stories. Here they are.

Your stories

Thank you for emailing your stories to us. We enjoyed reading them. This task is now closed.

Here are some of your stories about memorable events.

Rennan, Brazil

I remembered when the plane hit the Twin Towers in the USA. I was only 10 years old.

I remember I woke up about 11:00 am and when I was coming down to the living room.

I looked at my sister, she was nervous and apprehensive watching the news and one of the towers was on fire.

I did not give much thought about it.

Then the second plane crashed into the other tower and then the towers fell.

I realized that the matter was serious and my eyes were still on TV.

Isabella, Italy

The latest event i can remember is the arrival of the probe Rosetta on the comet surface. I was working in my office when i read the newspaper online. The news reported some difficulties, but in the end the mission was succesful. Photos of the comet started to arrive. For the first time we can study these fascinating space objects.

Damian, Ecuador

I was at mom's house when Jefferson Perez won the first gold medal by my Country Ecuador. At this time I was thinking about the words of an ecuadorian reporter, a day before, He said: "the words of Jefferson's couch are a little bit optimist to tell that he could be the best of the world in him speciality".

Ramon Martin, Spain

The biggest sporting event from me, was the South Africa football World Cup in 2010. I was in pub with friends watching the game. I knew it will be a memorable news, because Spain football team had never reached a World Cup final. The game started well, Spain was playing very well. They were doing a nice football style during the championship, (Spanier call: tiki taka). It is when you team is moving the ball very fast, and they have the ball almost the whole time. The game was very interesting. Almost in the end of the game, Spain team scored. Everyone jumped, and hunged each other. After the game, everyone went out to celebrate the victory. I was a cracy moment! I never fotget it.

Dilva, Italy

When I was young, I studied at university in Naples. On 23 of November 1980 it was Sunday and in the evening I went to a my Greek friend's to chat and to look the TV. When we were having dinner, the chandelier started to swing and the floor to shake. My friend shut me to run off, he caught my arm and he dragged me off. In the road people looked stunned and dogs barked. We spent the night on the road and we came back home in the morning, only. There were great cracks on the walls, the TV told a terrible earthquake destroyed a lot of houses and more 2500 people died. For a long time I shuddered feeling a loud sound.

Juan Manuel, Spain

A event which really frigtened me was Miguel Blanco dead, 15 years ago, more or less. I was having holidays with my girlfriend and we heard in the tv that terrorist group ETA had killed one young politician, shooting him in the head, in a forest. I became very sad after hear this event.

Juan Carlos Moreno, Colombia

In november of 1993, the Colombia futbol team was playing a match against the Argentina team. This day I was with my family in front of tv, I never thought that this game would was the most important of Colombia's history, Because my team won this game with a score of 5-0. when the game finished, I and my friends took ours flags and we left to the street to celebrate this victory.

Marc, Spain

I remember when Barcelona won Real Madrid 5-0 at Camp Nou on November at 2010, I remember that I was in a bar watching the match with my father and a friend, Barcelona did a really great match, not just because they scored a lot of goals, it was too because it was maybe the greatest game of history of 'Clasicos', they played excellent, we could see incredible plays, it was certainly an humilliation. Months ago at the previous season Pep Guardiola's team already won 2-6 at Santiago Bernabeu, but the 5-0 game at Camp Nou was even better, as I already said because they played like gods, I remember it was on Monday and not on Satuday or Sunday as usual, I remember it because the day before there were elections on the Parliament of Catalonia.

Natalia, Ukraine

When the reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded I was at school and my parents at work. Our government didn't tell us this horrible news immediately. One week late our teacher said that we had opportunity go away to black sea coast for a while and we must tell this information our parents. Then she told what's happened near city. I had been extremely afraid of radioactive pollution and I didn't understand why my mom and dad had to stay in dangerous zone. It is the most terrible event in my life.


Do you like your job? What type of job makes people happy? Find out more in this week's News Report.

Caasluga kutaa kanaa

  • When to use past simple
    We use the past simple to describe an action that happened and finished in the past. We commonly use it to give the order of events in a narrative.

    Example: The Titanic struck the iceberg at 11.40pm.

    When to use past continuous
    We use the past continuous to describe an action that was in progress at a particular time in the past but not completed. We often use this tense with a specific time or together with another shorter event.

    Example: The passengers were having dinner at 9 o'clock.

    How to make positive past continuous sentences
    The past continuous is made from subject + was/were + verb-ing.

    Past continuous and simple used together
    We use both tenses in the same sentence to say that one event happened during another, longer event. The longer event started before the shorter one and continued after the shorter event finished.

    Example: The Titanic hit an iceberg while it was travelling across the Atlantic.