Going Viral

Going Viral

Sep 17 2019


In today’s world of technology, there is always something new and big on the Internet. And there is no way to know what the next thing will be. In 2007, the video “Charlie bit my finger” went viral, and became the most watched video on Youtube at the time. In 2012, Psy’s song “Gangnam Style” went viral. It was the first video to reach 1 billion views on Youtube.

For a video to go viral, one often just has to be in the right place at the right time. Who knows, maybe you will have a video go viral, and you can get your fifteen minutes of fame.

Sara and Brian wonder what it takes to make a video go viral. Find out more in today’s English lesson about popular videos.


Sara_R: I saw the funniest video. It went viral. Everyone has seen it.
Brian: Oh, online? Is it a cat video?
Sara_R: It’s a cat video.
Brian: I like cat videos.
Sara_R: The cat is riding an electric vacuum. It was such a quirky moment that was caught on film. It was hilarious.
Brian: But how does a video go viral? Is it just because it’s really popular?
Sara_R: Yeah. It’s popular, it’s unexpected, it’s funny. And this way, everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame. It’s kind of fun.
Brian: To me, it just seems like you have to be in the right place at the right time. Cat videos used to be really big. And then they were not as popular for a bit. And now it seems like they’re going viral again.
Sara_R: I think cat videos will always be popular.
Brian: When a video is viral, is it just based on how many times it’s been watched?
Sara_R: I think how many times it’s been watched and posted.
Brian: Oh, wow.
Sara_R: So, I’ll have to show it to you.
Brian: Yeah. I am looking forward to it.


Sara saw a funny video on the Internet that went viral. It was of a cat that rode an electric vacuum, and Sara thought it was really funny. She thinks that videos going viral is cool because now anyone can get their fifteen minutes of fame.

Brian likes cat videos a lot. But he wonders how a video can go viral. He thinks it has a lot to do with being at the right place at the right time. He also wants to know what exactly it means for a video to be viral. Either way, he just wants to watch the cat video!

What is your favorite viral video?

Grammar Point

Used To Do vs. Be Used To

Brian and Sara are talking about how videos of cats have always been popular on the Internet. Brian says, “Cat videos used to be really big.” He uses used to be.

It’s easy to confuse used to do and be used to. Both forms look alike, but they have very different meanings and structures.

First let’s look at used to do, or used to + verb. When I say I used to do something, I mean that I did something regularly in the past which I no longer do now. For example, “When I was a child, I used to fight with my brother, but now we get along.”

We can also use used to do to talk about something that was true in the past but is not true now. For example, “Playing with dolls used to be Sarah’s favorite activity.” In other words, Sarah’s favorite activity in the past was playing with dolls, but it is no longer something she likes to do. Brian is saying that cat videos were popular in the past, but not anymore.

Be used to means something different. If you are used to something, you are accustomed to it. It is normal or usual for you. Be used to is always followed by a noun or gerund (verb ending in -ing). For example, I can say “I am used to the rain,” or that “I am used to staying up late.”

Which is correct, “Seymour used to be good at soccer,” or, “Seymour is used to good at soccer”?


  1. What kind of video did Sara watch?

  2. Brian thinks that for someone’s video to go viral, they need to be __.

  3. _ means famous, while _ means weird.

  4. Which sentence is correct?

See the full English lesson at English, baby!