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Lesson 42: I Was Minding My Own Business

Let's Learn English Lesson 42: I Was Minding My Own Business
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Anna sees a crime and tries to help find the robbers. She hurts her arm. The news reporter wants to know, "How did she hurt herself?"


In this video, learn how to say the new words. Then learn how to use reflexive pronouns like herself, ourselves, and yourself.

Let's Learn English Lesson 42 Speaking Practice
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Use this video to understand how English speakers pronounce the words "did you" quickly and learn to say them as /didjə/.

Let's Learn English Lesson 42 Pronunciation Practice
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Guy: Hello. I'm Guy Newsman with News Channel XYZ. I’m here in Washington, D.C. at the scene of a crime.
Guy: We are talking with this woman.
Guy: She saw the crime during her lunch break. It looks like she hurt herself while she was trying to stop the crime.
Guy: Tell us your name.
Anna: Hi, Guy. I'm Anna.
Guy: Anna, what did you see and what happened to your arm?
Anna: Guy, I was minding my own business. See, I work over there.
Guy: Um-hum
Anna: I left work to get some lunch. Then suddenly, I heard a woman yelling. She was yelling like this ... “Help! Help!”
Guy: Um-hum
Anna: Two robbers were grabbing her bag like this. She was hitting them with her umbrella.
Guy: Is that when you hurt your arm?
Anna: No. At that time, I was not fighting the robbers.
Guy: Um-hum.
Anna: See. I was too far away and I didn't have my own umbrella.
Guy: So, what happened next?
Anna: They grabbed her bag and ran away! So, I grabbed her umbrella and ran after the robbers.
Guy: Then that is the time that you hurt your arm?
Anna: No. I was yelling, “Stop, robbers! Stop!” She was yelling, “Hey, come back with my umbrella!”
Guy: Were you afraid?
Anna: I had no time to be afraid, Guy. Well, I had time while I was resting on a bench. I had a lot of time.
Guy: Then what happened?
Anna: The robbers got on a bus. So, I ran after the bus.
A VO: While I was running, I tripped and fell.
Guy: And that is the time that you hurt your arm?
Anna: No. While I was lying on the ground, someone stepped on my arm!
Guy: Ouch. That’s too bad.
Anna: Yeah. And they didn’t apologize. Well, then the robbers got themselves kicked off the bus.
Guy: Why?
Anna: They didn’t pay. You've got to pay when you get on a bus. The police came and took them away.
Guy: And that’s when you hurt your arm!
Anna: No.
Guy: Then, when did you hurt yourself?
Anna: Well, Guy, by this time, I was feeling very hungry. So, I went to my office to get a snack.
C: Anna, I'm calling for help right now.
C: (on the phone) Hello? Yes, please come right away. My co-worker is stuck in a vending machine.
Guy: You hurt your arm in a vending machine buying a bag of chips?
Anna: I was really hungry and the bag was stuck. I had to -
Guy: That’s all from News Channel XYZ. This is Guy Newsman saying goodbye.
Guy: Okay, we have to find ourselves another story, guys.
Anna: Until next time! Hi Mom!


In this lesson, Anna hurt herself in the vending machine. Did you ever hurt yourself by accident? What were you doing when you hurt yourself? Write to us by email or in the Comments section.

Click on the image below to download the Activity Sheet and practice writing and using the past continuous tense and reflexive pronouns.

Activity Sheet Lesson 42
Activity Sheet Lesson 42

Learning Strategy

Learning Strategies are the thoughts and actions that help make learning easier or more effective.

The learning strategy for this lesson is Read Between the Lines. This expression means to find a hidden meaning in something said or written.

In this lesson, Guy Newsman asks Anna many questions. Anna tells him a long story about the crime. But she doesn't explain how she hurt her arm until the end. Guy reads between the lines each time he guesses about how she hurt her arm.

Do you ever read between the lines to understand what you hear or read in English? Write to us about it in the Comments section or send us an email. Teachers, see the Lesson Plan for more details on teaching this strategy.


Listen to short videos and test your listening skills with this quiz.

Quiz - Lesson 42: I Was Minding My Own Business

Quiz - Lesson 42: I Was Minding My Own Business

Start the Quiz to find out


New Words

arm - n. either one of the two long body parts that join the top of your body at the shoulder and that end at the hand or wrist
chips - n. thin, hard, and usually salty pieces of food
crime - n. an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government
fall (past tense: fell) - v. to come or go down suddenly from a standing position
grab - v. (past participle: grabbing) to quickly take and hold (someone or something) with your hand or arms
ground - n. the soil that is on or under the surface of the earth
kick off - phrasal verb. (past tense: kicked off) force (someone) to leave
lie - v. (gerund: lying) to be in a flat position on a surface
minding my own business - idiom. doing what you normally do and not bothering anyone
robber - n. a criminal who steals money or property or a thief who robs people
snack - n. a small amount of food eaten between meals
step - - v. to put your foot down — usually + in or on
stuck - adj. difficult or impossible to move from a position
trip - - v. (past tense: tripped) to fall or nearly by accidentally hitting your foot on something as you are walking or running
umbrella - n. a device that is used for protection from the rain and sun
vending machine - n. a machine that you put money into in order to buy food or drinks

Subject Pronouns

(Lesson 2)

Object Pronouns

(Lesson 18)

Possessive Adjectives

(Lesson 15)

Possessive Pronouns

(Lesson 37)

Reflexive Pronouns (Lesson 42)

1st person






2nd person






3rd person (female)






3rd person (male)






3rd person (neutral)




(not used)


1st person (plural)






2nd person (plural)






3rd person (plural)







Free Materials

Word Book
Word Book

Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.

Each Let's Learn English lesson has an Activity Sheet for extra practice on your own or in the classroom. In this lesson, you can use it to practice using the past continuous tense and reflexive pronouns.

For Teachers

Lesson Plan - Lesson 42
Lesson Plan - Lesson 42

See the Lesson Plan for this lesson for ideas and more teaching resources. Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.

Grammar: Reflexive pronouns; While-clauses; Past Continuous Tense,

Topics: Describing ongoing past activities; Asking about & giving information about past events; Describing a sequence of events; Expressing concern about someone; Reacting to bad news; Expressing sympathy

Learning Strategy: Read Between the Lines

Speaking & Pronunciation: Reflexive pronouns; Pronouncing /didjə/


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