What is the difference between “current events” and “current affairs” when it comes to what is in the news?

Current Events:

[plural] chiefly US

: important events that are happening in the world

called also current affairs


I have found an answer here. https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080616153534AAf0C4R

I would take the view that ................

Current events ....... all subjects currently in the news, from sport to politics, from entertainment to financial matters.

Current affairs ........generally limited to politics and financial matters.

Is this distinction valid? Is “current events” more inclusive than “current affairs”?

2 Answers 2


"Current Affairs" is a specific idiomatic term that refers to events of political or social interest and importance that are occurring in the world right now. Television shows that cover such topics are often termed "current affairs programmes". The phrase, therefore, has a very wide scope - it covers anything of importance that is happening anywhere.

"Current events" is a widely used phrase but doesn't carry any idiomatic meaning. It requires context to refer to something specific; for example, you might hear announced on television or radio "in light of current events, the planned programme has been cancelled". This usually implies that something specific that has happened recently which has impacted on the station's ability to show the programme, or perhaps because the specific events would make the programme appear in poor taste. "Current events" therefore refers to some specific series of events rather than what is happening on the global scene. You could also give this phrase a scope by saying, for example, "current events in the sporting world".


As this chart shows, the two expressions have long been remarkably equal in terms of actual usage...

enter image description here

It would be even more remarkable if the two words actually meant different things, that just happened to be of equal interest to people in general. But that's not the case. If you follow the link in the first sentence above, and switch the corpus to American English and then to British English, you'll see that AmE favours the "events" version, whereas BrE favours "affairs".

Presumably no-one would claim this is because Americans are more interested in all news items (as opposed to Brits being specifically concerned with just politics & finance). It's just a US/UK usage split.

  • I have to disagree with this - both are used in British English and mean very different things. That they are both used with similar frequency shows, if anything, that they are both relevant and that one does not replace the other.
    – Astralbee
    Nov 28, 2019 at 14:10
  • Game on! We'll just have to let the voters decide! Nov 28, 2019 at 14:22
  • I wish I could accept two answers. Nov 29, 2019 at 1:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .