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 Jacky Chan.
Hi, Jacky?
Jacky says...
Hi, Alisha! How are you?
I’m good.
I don’t know the difference between “past tense” and “past participle.”
Okay. So let’s talk about the differences between these verb forms.
First, let’s talk about “past tense verbs.” We use the simple past tense to talk about actions that started and ended in the past. We use this verb tense to talk about things that happened at a specific time, as part of a schedule or as part of a timetable, for example. We can point to a specific time at which that action or that condition happened.
“Past participle,” on the other hand, has a wider variety of uses. We use past participle verb forms in the perfect tense, for example. In an expression like “I have eaten,” “eaten” is the past participle form of the verb “eat.” In simple past tense, it’s “ate.”
So, we use this “past participle form” in specific grammar constructions, like when we want to talk about life experience, just generally, not at specific point in time, that’s with present perfect tense; when we want to talk about past experiences that happened before in other past point in time with past perfect; and when we want to talk about future things that are going to happen at a certain point in time with future perfect tense. So, we use the past participle verb form in a variety of different constructions, but we cannot use simple past tense and the past participle verb forms interchangeably. They have different functions and different uses.
So, earlier, I gave the example of “I have eaten (something),” right? That would be an example of a present perfect sentence or present perfect structure. If I wanted to express a similar idea in simple past tense, I would say, “I ate something,” right?
So, the difference between these two example sentences is, for example, “I ate breakfast” is pointing to a specific point in time in the past, the action is complete, it’s done, it’s finished. If I say, “I have eaten breakfast before,” for example, it means at some point in time in the past, it doesn’t matter when, I have the experience of eating breakfast. That’s the difference here, specific point in time versus just some general point in the past, at least in comparing present perfect tense and simple past tense.
So please keep in mind that we cannot use these two verb forms interchangeably because they have different functions, so I hope that this helps you. Thanks very much for the grammar question.
Okay, let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Anshika.
Hello, Anshika!
Anshika says...
Hi, Alisha! Can you tell me the difference between “it's” (with an apostrophe) and “its” (with no apostrophe)?
Sure, yeah. This is a really, really small point, for sure, but it’s a very important distinction to make.
First, let’s talk about “it’s” (with an apostrophe), I-T (apostrophe) S.
This is the contracted or the reduced form of “it” and “is.” So, instead of writing “it is” in a sentence, we typically write “it’s” and we use (it + ‘s) to do this.
For example:
“It’s rainy outside.”
Or, “It’s a nice day today, isn’t it?”
We use “IT (apostrophe) S” to mean “it is.”
“Its” (with no apostrophe), however, refers to the possessive form of “it.”
So this means we want to show that something owns something else.
For example:
“The dog is chewing its toy.”
In this sentence, there is no apostrophe before the S because we need to show ownership. The dog owns the toy. We show this with “its” (with no apostrophe).
So, this is a very, very small point, I know, but it does make a big difference. So, when you’re writing, please, please, please, please, please, be very careful not to mix these two up. A really good way that you can test to make sure if you have the right “its” in your sentence is to try replacing “it’s” (with an apostrophe) or without an apostrophe with “it is.” Check and see. Does “it is” make sense in this sentence? If yes, you need to use the apostrophe form. If it doesn’t make sense, you need to use “its” (with no apostrophe) to show possession. So, this is a really quick tip that you can use to hopefully make sure you always choose the right “it’s” or “its” in your writing. Thanks very much for the question. I hope that this helps you.
Okay, let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Ramzad.
Hi, Ramzad!
Ramzad says...
“I have been to london.” “I have been in London.” In these two sentences, is the speaker currently in or out of London?"
Good question. “I have been in London” and “I have been to London.”
Well, “I have been to London” is probably something said by a person who is not in London now or probably talking about our travel experience or maybe work experience if we use a sentence like that. Oh yeah, I’d been to London. We typically use these kinds of structures when we’re talking about a place we are not currently in.
In your other example sentence, however, we would probably make a slightly different sentence. For example, “I have been in London for 5 years” or “I have been in London since 2017.” We would probably have a little bit more information. In that sentence, that speaker is probably in London talking about where they are living or maybe where they’re working, or they are actually somewhere else, but they’re talking about the place where they live or work currently.
So, for example, maybe they are travelling to another country on a business trip or maybe they’re taking a vacation to another country or something, but they’re speaking with someone they met there. They might say something like, “Oh, yeah, I have been in London for 5 years” to mean I have lived there for 5 years. You might hear someone say something like that. But generally speaking, we talk about this in this way if we want to express our current condition or our current situation.
So, to recap, “I have been to London” sounds like you’re talking about a travel experience or a life experience. “I have been in London for 5 years” or “I have been in London since 2017” sounds like something that is continuing and you may be are in London at the moment or your current situation is you live in London, you’re just not there at the moment of the conversation. So I hope that this helps you. Thanks very much for the question.
All right, great! That is everything that I have for this week. Thank you, as always, for sending me your questions. Thanks very much for watching this episode of Ask Alisha and I will see you again next time. Bye!


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Hi teacher I want speak English better how I do , write sentences collect and also know how to spell too .