Learn English 117 Article
How To Do Dunno's the Right Way
The AdeptEnglish Podcast Series Articles
This is the short podcast transcript article for podcast 117 of the Adept English Thursday English language listening lessons.
Unlike the podcast on the many ways of how to say yes in English language this podcast is about not being sure about your answer.
So, today’s short podcast – let’s talk about a really common English saying. I was about to say ‘word’, but really this one is two words, rolled into one.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and this the short podcast from Adept English. I’m here to help you with learning English. You’ve taken on a difficult language to learn so I’m here to make it much easier for you. If you use the Adept English approach, you’ll learn much more quickly by listening regularly to us than you would be doing, using traditional language lessons. And if you want to learn even more quickly, have a look at our courses. You’ll be able to learn real English conversation. Wouldn’t that be good?
English can be quite wordy, so we like to shorten it when speaking it
So, today’s short podcast – let’s talk about a really common English saying. I was about to say ‘word’, but really this one is two words, rolled into one. Sometimes, when I’m doing my podcasts, I ask my son who is 9 years old ‘What’s a good word or phrase for the Adept English podcast this week?’ And he’s usually very good at supplying me with good ideas. But this week I asked him and he replied ‘Hmm, dunno!’ So this week’s word is ‘dunno’. And you’ll see that written down, spelt D-U-N-N-O. Now you may know this one already, but you would be forgiven for not knowing immediately what this means. If you’ve come across it before, it’s one of those phrases that gets shortened – dunno really stands for ‘I don’t know’.
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So some examples…..
‘What do you want to do this afternoon?’ ‘Dunno’.
‘What shops do you need to go to, when we go to town?’ ‘Dunno, really’.
‘How many carrots are in the fridge?’ ‘Dunno’.
Or ‘I dunno what the weather’s going to be like today.’
Or ‘How many fingers am I holding up?’ ‘Dunno, my eyes are closed’.
I said that you may see this written down.I know that because I know how to spell D-U-N-N-O. But it’s very informal. You might message someone ‘Dunno’ on your phone, or you might see it written in a book, when a character is speaking. So usually, it’s something you say, rather than something you write.
If you do use shortcuts in English it is better to know the person your talking to
And even when it’s spoken, you are probably best to restrict it to conversations with people that you know really well. If you said ‘Dunno’ in response to a question at an interview for a job, it might make you look too casual, as though you don’t really want the job or you’re not trying very hard. Or, even worse, if you were in court and the judge asked you a question and you replied ‘Dunno’, rather than ‘I don’t know, your Honour’, then you might be in trouble.
So ‘dunno’ is OK in conversation with family and friends. And it’s the shortened version of ‘Don’t know’ or ‘I don’t know’. Of course ‘I don’t know’ is already shortened from the full version which is ‘I do not know’. How lazy can we get? I think the answer is in spoken English – very lazy! If we can shorten a word, we will. So there it is - dunno. It’s a well known word that you’ll hear in spoken English. It may not be one that your English language text books teach you either!