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Last updated at 10:36 GMT, Tuesday, 08 January 2013

Not rocket science


Kaz introduces the expression 'not rocket science' to Li. Does it mean that they are going to the moon? Find out more about this expression by listening to their conversation.

A rocket launch

Why does Kaz make Li listen to the rocket launch?

The script for this programme

(Sound of a rocket being launched)

Kaz: Hello, I'm Kaz.

Yang Li: And I'm Yang Li. Hey Kaz, why are we listening to this rocket launch?

Kaz: Well, it's dramatic, but there's another reason. I thought it could introduce today's expression.

Yang Li: Tell me more.

Kaz: The expression is 'It's not rocket science'.

Yang Li: 'It's not rocket science', meaning?

Kaz: Something that's not complicated or difficult to understand - 'it's not rocket science'.

Yang Li: For example?

Kaz: OK. Somebody can't get the television to work and asks you, "How do I switch this thing on?" You would say "It's not rocket science. Just press 'on' on the handset".

Yang Li: So there's nothing complicated about it. You just press the 'on' switch and away you go. But is the expression 'it's not rocket science' only used for gadgets?

Kaz: No, not at all, Li. In fact it's used for many situations that are just obvious... for example - why are we always short of money?

Yang Li: Well, it's not rocket science Kaz - we don't get paid enough!

Kaz: Brilliant Li. That's an excellent example.

Yang Li: Yes, I like it too. But let's listen to some more examples:

  • How do I cook this soup?
  • Come on Rob, it's not rocket science, all you have to do is open the tin and heat it up.
  • I can't understand why our company is in such a mess?
  • It's not rocket science to figure that out - there are too many managers!

Yang Li: OK Kaz, the phrase 'it's not rocket science' is used for situations that are obvious. But I get the feeling that the phrase 'it's not rocket science' is quite informal, right?

Kaz: You're right Li. So please use with care!

Yang Li: Absolutely.

Kaz: It's usually used with the negative 'It's not rocket science'.

Yang Li: Well, I'm sure of one thing Kaz.

Kaz: What's that Li?

Yang Li: Presenting this programme is not exactly rocket science - it's easy!

Both: Bye!

(Sound of a rocket being launched)


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