Lesson Transcript

Alisha: I have a cold this week.
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 Mo. Hi, Mo.
Mo says: I would like to know how to use "I will" or "I would go with that" when I order from a menu in restaurants.
Okay. Um, well, I suppose it depends a little bit on the situation, but for kind of a general way to use these two,
when you make YOUR decision; the thing you would like to order, the thing you plan to order, you can say,
"I'll go with...blah blah blah."
Or "I will go with (something)."
Remember to use the contracted form.
If you're making a recommendation to someone else, however, like
you've chosen your item; you know what you want to order,
but you're recommending someone else something, you're recommending like, a drink pairing or a side dish or something,
when you want to make a recommendation to someone else,
you can say, "I would go with the blah blah blah."
Um, why?
Because when you're saying "I would go with," it's like saying,
"if I were you, I would choose this thing."
So it's like, if I were you, I would go with that thing.
But we don't say "if I were you."
So when you're making a recommendation, you can say, "I would go with."
When you're talking about your own choice, you can say "I'll go with."
Hope that helps.
Okay, let's go to the next question.
Next question comes from Isik Alexander again. Hi, Isik.
Isik says: Hi Alisha, can I also use "I've not + p.p. for PPT?"
I think this is past participle; is your "p.p." and "present perfect tense" maybe is PPT?
Could be past perfect as well.
Let's talk about it assuming it's present perfect tense.
Um, yes, you can.
The answer is you can, but in American English it sounds too formal.
So I'll give you some examples.
I've not been to France.
He's not eaten his dinner.
They've not visited this week.
Actually, with all of these sentences, there's not a communication problem happening.
But, uh, they sound too formal for American English.
Maybe if you ask a British English speaker, they'll have a different opinion on the way that these, uh, expressions are used.
But from an American English speaker, it sounds a little too formal.
It sounds too stiff, it sounds a bit unnatural.
So, you can use them, but I don't necessarily recommend it.
I hope that helps you a little bit.
Okay, let's go to the next question.
All right, next question comes from Paulo.
Hi, Paulo.
Paulo says: Hi Alisha, what is the difference between "planning to do something" and "planning on doing something"?
For example, "are you planning on helping John?" Thanks.
Oh, okay.
Um, really, there's no difference here. It's just the speaker's preference.
Let's look at a couple more examples.
Are you planning on going out tonight?
Are you planning to go out tonight?
We're planning on having a surprise party.
We're planning to have a surprise party.
So, you can really use these in the same way.
They're interchangeable.
Don't worry about it! Thanks for the question.
Let's go to the next question.
Next question comes from Hello Alisha. Oh, mysterious.
Hello Alisha says, uh: Can you tell me the difference between "make sure" and "ensure" and "assure"?
Also, "certain" and "ascertain"?
Uh, okay.
Let's start with "make sure" and "ensure" and "assure."
Make sure and ensure...they both mean "to make certain of something."
Um, "make sure" sounds more casual than "ensure."
Also, "ensure" is used like in more formal situations, yes.
So, because it's used in those cases, like with contracts, or maybe with formal business letters,
it has the idea of a guarantee.
So there's like some higher level of certainty, almost.
Like, you're guaranteeing something.
Uh, "make sure" isn't so strong. It's more like "check" is kind of the feeling with "make sure."
"Assure," then, the last one in this first group,
sometimes it can also mean "to make sure of something," but it has like, the feeling of, um, like
giving confidence to the listener. Giving confidence to the reader.
Like, that something is possible or there's some positive information.
Some, like, um...You want that person to feel at ease about the situation.
Like, you're making them feel confident about what's going to happen in the future.
Or it's like you want to remove any questions or any doubts that someone has about the situation.
We call that "assuring" someone.
So, let's look at some examples here.
I'll be finished with the report tomorrow, I assure you!
He assured us the car was safe.
They assured us our bags would be brought to the hotel room.
So, in these cases, you can see that assure is like you're making someone else feel at ease.
Feel relaxed, feel secure about whatever's going to happen.
So I hope that helps.
So, let's move along to the second part of your question; the difference between "certain" and "ascertain."
You can hear the pronunciation is quite different.
"Certain" is used as an adjective, which means, like, it's something that's definite.
It's fixed, it's decided, it's settled.
So, depending on the situation, um, it can mean one of those kind of similar words.
Like, I'm certain he's coming to the event tomorrow.
Or, did you make certain that the bank account was full of money?
Or, I want to make certain that everyone understands the program?
To "ascertain," however, to ascertain, that's a verb.
Ascertain is a verb which means, like, you are making something certain.
Like, you are gaining information in order to feel certain about something.
We ascertained that the problems were the result of poor communication.
That's data that can easily be ascertained from a quick web search, for example.
It means like, it's easy for us to find that information, or to make certain of that information on the Internet.
So, parts of speech are different.
Certain is an adjective. Ascertain is a verb.
And "ascertain" means "to do something in order to be sure of something."
Like, to be fixed, to be settled on something.
So, I hope that helps you understand the difference between those words a little bit better.
Thanks for the question!
All right, let's go on to the next question.
Next question comes from Mazyar. Mazyar. Hi, Mazyar.
Mazyar says: what is the difference in meaning between these two sentences?
"What did they do to you?" and "What have they done to you?"
Uhhhhhhhh, okay.
It depends on the situation, in some cases.
Let's look at the first example sentence.
Uh, "what did they do to you?"
Here, we're using simple past tense.
Remember, we use simple past tense for actions that started and finished in the past.
So, that means that when this person asks the question, it's like they're asking about something that's done.
It's over. It's not going to continue.
Also, the effects of whatever happened in the past are, like, we can't see.
They're not visible, like, there's no effect that we can see now, here, in the present.
So, a situation you can imagine is like someone went to a doctor and they had a lot of, like, really crazy tests done.
Um, but there were no effects from the test, or maybe they had a lot of treatments, but there were no effects from the treatment,
and the speaker wants to ask, like, "what did they do to you?"
Like, I'm so curious; what happened? In the past.
It's over. There seems to be no effect in the present, uh, but I want to know about what happened in the past.
In the second example sentence, however, "what have they done to you,"
there we're using the present perfect tense. What have they done to you?
Which means that there's something that happened in the past and maybe is continuing to the present, or the effects of that action from the past are continuing to the present.
So again, imagine if you go to like a crazy doctor or like a crazy hospital, or something, and there's all these mistakes.
And your body gets injured. Like, your face gets, I don't know, messed up.
There's something terrible that happened to your body. People can see it.
People might ask: what have they done to you? At that hospital?
Like, in other words, we see something happened in the past, and we see the effects of that continue to now.
So that's why people might use the present perfect tense here.
Because the effects of something that happened in the past are still visible; are still continuing to the present.
Keep in mind: in that situation, also, you might hear speakers say,
"what did they do to you?"
It would NOT necessarily be incorrect.
They are asking about something that happened in the past, like a specific action that happened in the past.
So using simple past tense to ask that question is not necessarily in correct.
"What did they do to you" is okay to ask.
However, if back in situation one, where there are no effects from some kind of crazy medical treatment, in that case, if you ask,
"what have they done to you," it doesn't make sense.
It seems unnatural because there are no effects, there seems to be no problem.
So just keep this in mind.
So, I hope that helps you. Thanks for an interesting question. Like that one.
Okay, let's go on to the next question.
The next question comes from Dรฉbora Carvalho. Hi, Dรฉbora.
Dรฉbora says: Hi Alisha, could you help me?
Which one is correct: "different than," or "different from"? Thanks.
Aha, yeah, you hear both of these in American English, actually.
We use both. I think American English speakers use "different from" more often.
Um, you might also hear "different to" as well, though I understand that is used more in British English.
Um, I think "different than" might also be used more in British English.
In general, everyday speech, we use "different from" most commonly in American English.
Thanks for the question!
Let's go to the next question.
Next question comes from Milin Patel. Hi, Milin.
Uh, Milin says: What does "nailed it" mean? Aha, yeah, nailed it.
Yeah, see episode 26 of this series for some information on "nailed it" and a comparison to "damn it," a similar word.
To review: "Nailed it" is a casual expression that means you did something perfectly.
Thanks for the question!
All right, let's go on to the next question.
Next question, um, next question comes from Khushi. Hi, Khushi.
Khushi says: Hi Alisha, in one of your videos you said that you've learned Japanese.
I'm learning Japanese too. Any tips to learn a new language fast?
Um, well, "fast" is sort of a matter of opinion.
Um, I don't think learning a language is going to happen in one day, or even a month, perhaps.
But, in general, to improve the speed at which you learn, here are a few things that helped me and that might help you.
Practice every day.
Try living in the country where they speak the target language.
Watch media in the language you're learning. Actively, not passively.
Read things in the language you're studying.
Write and speak in the language as much as possible.
So, those are just a few ideas for things that you can do.
Yeah, it's an every day thing.
And "fast" means different things for different people.
So, I think it's up to you and to your studies and to how much attention and time you devote to reviewing materials and really working hard to understand the things available to you.
Also, challenge yourself, too.
Like, once you learn something, you have to push on to the next level.
Like, you can't always just do the thing that's easy for you.
You have to be willing to challenge yourself and try new things.
So, once you learn, like, um, how to...I don't know, order food from a restaurant,
you need to think about the next thing that you need to be able to do in that language.
So, keep trying to push yourself too. That can help you avoid that intermediate plateau.
Okay, so I hope that those tips helped you.
Um, just a few ideas quickly, off the top of my head.
Anyway, those are all the questions that I have for this week; thank you, as always, for sending your questions.
Remember, you can send your questions to me at englishclass101.com/ask-alisha.
Make sure to send them here, not on YouTube or Facebook, because I can't collect them all.
So please send all of your questions here, and thank you for such interesting questions as well.
I really, really appreciate it.
Of course, as always, don't forget to give this video a thumbs up, subscribe to our channel,
and check us out at EnglishClass101.com for some other things that can help you in your English studies.
Thanks very much for watching this week's episode of Ask Alisha, and I will see you again next week.
Bye bye!

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