Angel Falls - photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Angel Falls – photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Now here is an easy one. Heard of and heard about are often confused, but have clearly different meanings.

If you have heard of something or somebody, it means that at some point in the past you have seen, read or heard something, and now you know they exist. For example:
A: Have you heard of Angel Falls? I think it’s somewhere in South America.
B: Yes, I’ve heard of it. They made the movie ‘The Mission’ there.
A: Have you heard of that new teen band? They were on TV last night.I can’t remember their name, but they’re a kind of Beatles copy from Denmark.
B: No, I’ve never heard of them; I only watch Science Channel – but I have heard of the Beatles, though I’m not a fan of their music.

If you hear about something or somebody, it means that you already know they exist and some event has happened. For example:
A: Have you heard about Angel Falls? I saw something on the news last night.
B: Yes. They are planning an electricity generation station there and Greenpeace are going nuts!
A: Have you heard about that meteor that exploded in the sky east of Moscow? It happened just the other day. (You already know about meteors, and this is the latest one to hit the headlines.)
B: Yes, I heard about it on the radio as I was driving home.
A: Have you heard about that new teen band? They were involved in some drug scandal; I saw it in the newspaper. (It is assumed that you are familiar with the band, and this is just the latest info.)
B: No, actually, I’ve never heard of this band. (You didn’t know it existed.)