Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! Welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me questions and I answer them, maybe!
Okay, let’s get to your first question this week.
First question this week comes from Sadaf.
Hi, Sadaf!
Sadaf says…
Hi, Alisha! My question is when do we use “actually” and when do we use “really”? I’m always confused about whether to use “really” or “actually” in a sentence. Love, from Pakistan.
Cool. Thanks for the question. Sure! Yeah, let’s talk about “really” and “actually.”
Let’s start with the word “really.” We use “really” to emphasize something. We tend to use it a lot, for example, in front of adjectives, when we want to show that something is especially or extra that adjective.
For example:
“This is really beautiful.”
Or, “That dinner was really delicious.”
You can think of this use as similar to “very,” right? So, when we want to emphasize something, we say that it is “really (something).”
In contrast, “actually,” is used to talk about things that are truly something else. So, I can understand why “really” and “actually” might seem like they have similar uses, but we use “actually” when we want to clarify something, when we want to express that something is true or something was real.
So, we use this when maybe someone has made a comment that is not true or is not correct and we want to correct their comment.
So, for example, if someone says to you:
“Hey didn’t you pass your English exam last week? That was last week, right?”
You might say:
“Actually, my exam is next week.”
So that “actually” means “truly” or “really” or it’s like, kind of, a correction to the thing the other person said.
So we use “actually” when we need to correct or clarify something. We use “really” when we need to emphasize something.
Here’s another example with “actually.” Let’s look at another example situation.
“Hey, I haven’t received that file yet. Did you send it to me?”
“Oh, actually I forgot! I’m so sorry about that!”
So, in that example situation, it might be someone clarifying the situation for another person. So, they use “actually” to express some kind of true or real information. So I hope that this helps you understand the differences between “really” and “actually,” emphasis and kind of clarification or correction of information. Thanks very much for the question.
Okay, let’s get to your next question.
Next question comes from Nabil.
Hi, Nabil!
Nabil says…
What is the difference between "or” and “nor.” Thank you.
Yeah, good question! They seem really similar, right,“or” and “nor.” There’s just one letter different. So, we use “or” and “nor” in positive and negative expressions.
For example, when you’re choosing between two things, someone might offer you a choice.
They might say:
“Would you like the red shirt or the blue shirt?” for example.
So, we’re using “or” to show an offer in this case. So, we’re using it in a question pattern.
We use “nor” in negative sentence patterns.
For example, you might respond to that as:
“Umm, I would like neither the red shirt nor the blue shirt.”
So, you’re showing that both of the options are not what you want or not what you’re looking for. We use “nor” to express that.
This tends to sound a little bit more formal. We don’t use these kinds of patterns so much in everyday speech now, but you might hear them from time to time. So, the key here though is that you’re using it in a negative sentence. In this example, I said, “I would like neither the red shirt nor the blue shirt.” So, using “or” in this example sentence would be incorrect. “I would like neither or the blue shirt” would be totally incorrect. We have to match the negative “neither” with “nor” in this sentence pattern.
So, if you want to express that two choices or multiple choices are all not acceptable for you and you want to use this kind of pattern, you can totally do that, but just remember, you can’t interchange “or” and “nor.”
So, in sum, “or” is used to present different options like colors or maybe sizes, whatever it is and “nor” is used to respond to those in a negative sentence pattern. So I hope that this helps you understand the differences between “or” and “nor.” Thanks very much for the question.
Okay, let’s go to your next question.
Next question comes from Sergey.
Hi, Sergey!
Sergey says…
Hi, teacher! I hope all is well. I just watched your video about the word “shoot” and it reminded me of the song by Divine called “Shoot Your Shot.” I thought the name of the song is something like an English idiom and the meaning is do what you consider you have to do. Am I right? Is this expression used nowadays?
Yeah, good question! So, “shoot your shot,” yes, you’re very close with your example, with “do what you consider you need to do.”
The expression “shoot your shot,” it might be helpful to think of this as a sports-related expression. You can think of “shoot your shot” as meaning “try to do the thing that you think you want to do.”
So, for example, if you imagine a basketball player trying to shoot his or her shot, they try to make a basket in this example situation. So, when you say “shoot your shot” to someone, it means try to do the thing that you think you want to do.
There are many different situations where we use this expression. We tend to use it a lot in situations that have kind of a challenging feel or maybe that make us a little bit nervous. Like for example, asking someone out on a date or talking to someone that you find attractive in a social situation. You might try to encourage your friend and say “Go on, shoot your shot!” which means try to talk to that person or try to get to know that person. So, in those situations, it’s always like try to do the thing that you want to do or give it a go is another way you might hear this expressed.
So, these are all, kind of, encouraging expressions that are like saying try it. If you think you need to do it or you think you want to do it, give it a try. So, that’s what this “shoot your shot” expression means. Thanks very much for the question. I hope that it helped you.
Okay, that is everything that I have for this week. Thank you, as always, for your great question. Thanks very much for watching this week’s episode of Ask Alisha and I will see you again next time. Bye!


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Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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Sunday at 06:59 AM
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Hello Sergey,

Thanks for the lovely feedback!

We wish you all the success in your studies and thank you again.



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Saturday at 08:50 PM
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Thanks, very interesting lesson

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 03:19 PM
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Hello Carmel,

Thanks for taking the time to ask us your question. It's a great one! 👍

The word 'there' can be an adverb meaning "in, at, or to that place or position" or it can be used as an exclamation used to focus attention on something. The word 'their' is a determiner defined as "belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified." The word 'they're' is a contraction short for 'they are.'

I hope this was helpful to you. 😄👍If you would like further assistance, I suggest upgrading to our ‘Premium Plus’ membership to get personal instructions from one of our English teachers through our ‘MyTeacher’ feature! (Link: www.englishclass101.com/myteacher)



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Thursday at 02:58 PM
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Hello Seiichi,

We're glad to hear that you liked the lesson.

In case of any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Most kindly,


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Thursday at 01:53 AM
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Hello alisha ,how are you i have questions ,what is different between

THERE,,THEIR,,and they're

Advance thank you for answering may question godbless ❤️😘

Wednesday at 08:37 PM
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Very easy to listen!