Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me questions and I answer them, maybe.
First question! First question this week comes from Imon. Hi, Imon. “What's the difference between, ‘Is that how it is?’ ‘Is that how it works?’ ‘That's not what it says.’ ‘That's not how it works.’” Let's start with the first expression which is, “Is that how it is?” This is a very casual expression that you can use to express confirmation. Confirmation about a situation or confirmation about a status. But, it's often used with kind of a negative nuance. For example, if your friend makes a plan that you disagree with but your friend refuses to change the plan, you can say, “Is that how it is?” It's kind of negative and it's kind of not so nice to use. “Is that how it is?” that's the first one. The second one, “Is that how it works?” this is an expression that we use to confirm how to use something. Maybe it's my first time using an iPhone, for example, when I get something right, when I learn how to use something correctly, I can say, usually with an upward intonation, “Oh, is that how it works?” Meaning, “Oh, is that the correct way to use it?” So, we use, “Is that how it works?” to confirm the correct way to use something. So, you can use this with a computer, with a car, anything that you are learning how to use. “Is that how it works?” So, you can use this expression as confirmation before you do something to. The next expression you asked about is, “That's not what it says.” “That's not what it says,” is used to express disagreement about written information. Let's say you're making instant soup for instant ramen or something, you decide to pour cold water over your noodles to make the soup. But, your friend says, “No, no. Look at the package, that's not what it says.” So, “it” here means the package, and, “says” refers to the written directions on the package. So, “That's not what it says” means there is some mistake here or you've made a mistake. So, the written directions don't match your behavior, “That's not what it says.” You can use this to express disagreement about written information, “That's not what it says.” The last expression was “That's not how it works.” That's not how it works,” this is something that we use to express disagreement about how to use something. You use something incorrectly. That's not correct, “That's not how it works.” So, I hope that that's helpful for you.
Next question! Next question comes from Kevin Wang. Hi, Kevin. Kevin says, “Sometimes, I see sentences like, ‘Your dad must have had it for at least two years.’ Why do they use ‘have had?’ What are the rules for this?” So, actually, don't think of it as “have” and “had” being attached there. Instead, what you should focus on in this sentence is the “must have” here. So, “must have had,” when we want to talk about a high level of possibility in the past, we use “must have,” and then, the past participle form of the verb. In this case, the speaker is making a guess about something the listeners’ father owned in the past for at least two years. So, “Your dad must have had it for at least two years.” So, it's a past tense situation. The speaker is making a guess about the past but the speaker is making a guess with a high level of confidence. So, they use “must have.” “Must have” shows a high level of possibility. “She's not here. She must have gone to work.” “The kids are in the car. They must have finished swimming.” “He's smiling at the office. He must have had a good meeting.” So, all of these are guesses but these guesses show a high level of confidence. There's a high chance that the speaker's guess is correct so the speaker uses “must have” plus the past participle form of the verb. I hope that's helpful for you.
Next question from Myfta. Hi, Myfta. “What is the difference between astronomy and astrology?” Right, okay. Astronomy refers to the scientific study of space. That's like stars and planets, everything outside earth. That's the scientific study of it. Astrology refers to the idea that we can make predictions, make guesses about human behavior and those predictions are based on the positions of stars and planets and things and those positions can influence human behavior, can influence our lives. I hope that's helpful.
Next question! Next question is from Afif. Hi, Afif. “How do I study English speaking or how do I improve my English speaking skills at home alone?” Yeah, thanks for the question. Check out this video. I talked about it in this video right here. I think the answer is at the 12th minute and 40th-second mark. So, there are several tips there for how to study English alone at home. Hope that helps.
Next question! Next question is from Oscar. Hi, Oscar. Oscar says, “What's the difference between ‘it's up to you’ and ‘you're up to.’” Oh, okay. First, “It's up to you,” means you can decide. So, for example, “Where do you want to go for dinner tonight?” “It's up to you.” “What movie do you want to see tonight?” “It's up to you.” “Where do you want to go for this weekend?” “Hmm, it's up to you.” You can decide. “You're up to” refers to things that the other person has been doing. So, we use it in expressions like, “You've been up to a lot of interesting things lately.” Or, a useful question is, “What are you up to?” meaning, “What are you doing?” as in, “What are you up to this weekend?” or, “What are you up to tonight?” to check what someone else is doing. You can also use this for the past, “What have you been up to lately?” These are very nice questions to ask instead of “How are you?” or “What are you doing?” “Up to you,” means you decide. “What are you up to?” means “What are you doing?”
Next question! Next question is from Kiara. Hi, Kiara, again. “What does ‘sunglasses’ mean and what do ‘sunglasses’ mean?” ‘Sunglasses’ is a plural noun. Should we use ‘do’ instead of ‘does?’” Ah, this is interesting. Okay, here, your example sentence is a little bit tricky. So, when you're asking about the meaning of a word, even if you know that it's a plural noun, don't worry about that in this example sentence. “What does blah, blah, blah mean?” You can use anything in this pattern. This is because you're not actually asking about the object, you're not actually asking about that thing, you're asking about the word only, the word itself. So, just use “does,” “What does sunglasses mean?” is fine because you're looking for the actual meaning of the word. You're not asking about that actual object, you're not asking something about “sunglasses.” So, in this specific example sentence, you can always use, “What does blah, blah, blah mean?” So, native speakers do that too. “What does something, something, something mean?” if we don't know an expression or if we don't know a phrase. We can use anything in that pattern. However, if you want to use a plural noun, like sunglasses, or any other plural noun in a sentence similar to this, you do need to change. “What do sunglasses do?” or “Why do pants have pockets?” or “Who do penguins see most frequently?” Please use “do” as you would for other plural nouns than “do.” But, great question, nice point to consider. Thank you.
Next question! Next question comes from Kim In Kai. Hi, Kim In Kai. Okay. “What does a spirit animal mean? As in, ‘What's your spirit animal?’ I don't think we have that kind of question in my country. Also, what are some possible answers.” Okay, a spirit animal can mean different things depending on the person that you're talking to. Generally, though, especially on the internet, we use spirit animal to refer to an animal that we think matches our personality or matches our behavior. So, for example, if I'm a slow lazy person and I don't like to do a lot of activities. I could say a sloth is my spirit animal. Or, if I'm like an aggressive person and I'm alone a lot and I maybe see myself as like a fighter or hunter, I don't know, maybe I could say, a tiger is my spirit animal, for example. It's an animal that we feel closely matches us somehow. And, it can change, maybe on this day, I feel a connection with this specific animal. So, we can say that. Just do be careful there are some people who have a religious or a spiritual belief that strongly connects them to a spirit animal or you might also hear the word, “spirit animal guide,” perhaps, but just pay attention to the situation and I think you can quickly understand how the person is using spirit animal. My spirit animal, I usually think, depending on the day, my spirit animal is either a flying squirrel or a platypus because both of these animals are kind of like in-between animals, they have a little bit of a couple different animals in them. But, a flying squirrel is kind of like flexible and adaptive and has lots of energy and goes really, really quickly. But, then, the platypus is just like this silly looking creature that swims around looking for food all day and then sleeps forever. Depending on the day, I feel like I'm sometimes a flying squirrel, sometimes a platypus.
Those are all the questions that I want to answer for this episode of Ask Alisha. Thank you so much for sending your fantastic questions. They're really, really good. Keep them coming.
If you have not sent a question yet, please make sure to do so. You can send your questions to me at EnglishClass101.com/ask-alisha. If you like the video, please make sure to give it a thumbs up. Check us out at EnglishClass101.com for some other good resources and also subscribe to the channel if you haven't already.
Thanks very much for watching this episode of Ask Alisha and I will see you again next week. Bye-bye.

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