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

Not rocket science

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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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