Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! Welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me questions and I answer them, maybe!
First question this week comes from Noha.
Hi, Noha!
Noha says…
Hello! What does "to bail" mean?
It depends on the situation. In everyday casual English, “to bail” means “to leave,” as in:
“This party is boring, let’s bail.”
Or...“Sorry, I gotta bail. I have to be home soon.”
So, this use of “bail” is very casual. We use it with our friends, maybe with our co-workers. It just means “to leave.
There is another meaning of “bail” which is much less commonly used in everyday conversation. It means “to remove the water from a boat,” like a sinking boat, if there’s water in the boat, you need to bail out. Usually, we say “bail out” or “bail the water out of the boat.” So, again, this is not an everyday conversation topic, but you may hear this or you may see this in writing or perhaps in a movie somewhere. In general though, in everyday speech, “to bail” means “to leave.”
So, I hope that this helps you. Thanks for the question. Okay, let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Vivian.
Hi, Vivian!
Vivian says…
The good thing about having dogs as pets is “that” they cannot only protect our houses, but also be our best friends. Do we need “that” in this sentence? Why? Thank you very much!
Uh-huh! No, you do not need to include “that” in this sentence. The reason is that in this case, “that” is acting as the object of your clause. It’s acting as the object here. In cases where your relative pronoun acts as the object of the clause, you can omit it. You do not need to include it. So here, the “that” acts as the object, you can drop it and the sentence remains the same.
So, in contrast, you cannot omit it when your relative pronoun acts as the subject of your sentence. If the word that follows your relative pronoun is a verb, that means the relative pronoun is the subject. If the word is not a verb, that means it’s the object. So this is a really quick way to test if it’s the subject or the object. So, if it’s the object, you can omit the relative pronoun.
So let’s take a look at a different example sentence to compare:
“Having dogs that are protective is good because they can keep your house safe and be your friends.”
In this sentence, “that” is followed by “are,” so “having dogs that are protective.” In this case, “that” is the subject. We know this because it’s followed by the verb “are,” so in this case, we cannot remove “that,” we cannot remove this pronoun because it’s part of the subject. It’s the subject here, so we cannot omit this.
So, this is a quick way to test and see, can I remove this “that” or do I need to keep it there? So, I hope that this helps answer your question. Thanks very much!
All right! Let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from… Sho.
Hi, Sho!
Sho says…
Hello Alisha!! I would like to ask you how to use “even,” “even though,“ “even if,“ “even after/before,” and “even when”? I guess these words have different nuances, and I get confused when I hear them. I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you.
Okay, sure! So, “even,” by itself, “even” means “equal.”
So, we can talk about things that are of equal length and we can describe those things as even. Those are even. So like, something is even if the lengths or like the widths of whatever are the same.
We also use this when we’re talking about like scores in games or when we’re talking about money, especially, like debts. So, for example:
“The basketball game’s score is 12-12, even.”
So that means they have the same score, like the score is matched, they’re the same.
Or when talking about money, you could say something like:
“I paid for lunch yesterday, so you can pay for lunch today, and then we’ll be even.”
Which means like we’re equal, we’re fine, like everything is exactly as it should be. It’s just right. So, “even,” by itself has this meaning.
Let’s compare this then to “even though” and “even if.”
So, we can imagine these as meaning “although” or “also in the case if,” respectively.
Some examples:
“I got a coffee with an old friend even though I was really busy this week.”
“He went shopping even though he had no money.”
“Even if we leave now, we’re not going to arrive at the airport on time.”
“We’re not gonna have enough food, even if we order more.”
So, you can think of this as meaning like “although” for “even though” and “also in the case if,” “even if.” So you can kind of hear that “even if” tends to have a sort of negative feel about it, so it’s like saying, I’m going to do this or I want to do this, but also in that case, something is not going to be possible. So, it has kind of this negative vibe about it in many cases, this negative feel.
Similarly, “even before” or “even after” or “even when” sounds like “also before” or “also after” or “also when.” So, it has this feeling of “also,” but maybe, we want to emphasize it for some reason.
So, for example:
“She didn’t have time to meet me, even after her big project was finished!”
“We were nervous all day, even before lunch.”
“I didn’t study other languages much as a kid, even when I was living in another country.”
So again, this has the feeling of “also before” or “also after” or “also when.”
We want to give some kind of emphasis to that, to show, like that something is maybe surprising or shocking or somehow unbelievable.
So, I hope that this helps you understand the differences between these phrases and the word “even.” Thanks very much for the question.
Okay! Let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from… Md. Al Mubin.
Hello, Al Mubin!
Al Mubin says…
Hi, Alisha! My question, what is the longest word in the English language?
The longest word listed in English dictionaries is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”
So this relates to a specific lung disease that people can get if they inhale this very small particle, specifically, particles that come from a volcano. As you can guess, this word is really not used very much in everyday conversation, except to answer this question, so I don’t when you’re going to need to use this word, but that is the longest word in the English dictionary listed in most English dictionaries.
A lot of people like to talk about the word “antidisestablishmentarianism” but this is not it. I think that’s like No.2 or No.3, but yeah, the longest one is like this very specific lung disease.
So there you go! I hope that that helps you. Thanks for the question.
Okay. Onward to our next question.
Next question comes from...Murod.
Hi, Murod!
Murod says…
Hello, Alisha. I would like to know about the difference between “environment” and “circumstance.”
Okay. So, one's “environment” can mean your physical surroundings. So that means the things and the people and the places that are around you. So, you can have many different environments, like your work environment, your school environment, your home environment, your club environment, whatever. Those refers to, like the physical surroundings in those places and that includes the people, they can include pets, animals, whatever, plants, everything physically around you, and like, also the attitudes of the people that are around you. That composes, that makes up an environment.
So, “environment,” in this way, can be used to talk about everyday life, like:
“What is the student’s home environment like?”
“It’s important to have a healthy and safe space for kids in their school environment.”
So, “environment” can mean like your physical surroundings.
Another way that “environment” is commonly used, especially in the news, when talking about weather changes and climate changes, is with the definite article, “the.” So, we can use “the environment” in some sentences to talk about our personal physical surroundings, but when we talk about the planet and nature, we typically use this “the environment” to mean all of the planet or all of nature.
So, for example:
“We need to protect the environment.”
“It’s important to take steps to save the environment.”
So we always use it with that definite article “the.”
On the other hand, “circumstance” refers to a temporary situation or a temporary condition. This does not refer to your physical surroundings. It refers to something that happens usually to you. So, it’s something that’s like, short in like duration.
So, for example, if you’re going to work and there’s a traffic accident and you’re late to work, you could say…
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I am late to work today. I apologize for this circumstance. There was a traffic accident.”
So you can imagine “circumstance” means “situation,” so something that’s going to change. It’s not like physical surroundings. It’s just a situation that you’re happening, or that you happen to be in now. So we do not use “environment” and “circumstance” in the same way. So, “circumstance” is something that’s changing and we tend to use it more in kind of negative situations.
Another example that you might hear the word circumstance used is in something like:
“This is an unusual circumstance.”
So, an “unusual circumstance” means “a strange situation.”
So, if you encounter or you experienced something strange, you have a strange situation, you could say, “This is an unusual circumstance,” so again, meaning, it’s something that’s going to change, but it’s happening now.
So, this is the difference between “circumstance” and “environment.” I hope that that helps you. Thanks very much for the question.
Okay. That is everything that I have for this week. Thank you, as always, for sending your great questions. Remember, you can send them to me at EnglishClass101.com/ask-alisha.
Thanks very much for watching this week’s episode of Ask Alisha and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!