Lesson Transcript

Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go.
Hi everybody! Welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me questions and I answer them, maybe!
Please remember, you can submit your questions to me at EnglishClass101.com/ask-alisha.
This week's first question is a question from Bahar... Bahar? I'm very sorry.
Hi, Alisha! I'd like to learn about "as" and "like," what's the difference between them?
To begin with, "like" is a preposition. Remember, prepositions are words we use to show relationships to other words, or to position the elements in a sentence, so for example, "at" and "by" and "on" are also prepositions. The word "like" is a preposition; however, the word "as" is a conjunction. A conjunction is a word that connects elements in a sentence, so for example, "and," "but," "or," "for," "so," these words are conjunctions. That's point one.
We use "like" and "as" to make comparisons, the general agreement on how to use "like" and "as" at this point in time is that if you are following the word "like" with a simple statement, like a noun phrase, you should use the word "like;" if, however, the part that comes after the word "like" or "as" has a verb in the clause, there's a verb in that part of the sentence, you should use "as" to do that because "as" functions as a conjunction.
Remember, it's connecting the elements in a sentence, so we should use "like" if there's just a simple phrase, a simple noun phrase, something like that after "like" or "as."
So to give some examples, my coworker eats like a pig. In that case, I've used the word "like" because after "like" comes "a pig," it's just a simple noun phrase.
If, however, I said, my coworker eats as if he were a pig, I'm using the verb "were," as if he were, so we can use "as" in cases wherever we follow the statement with a verb. We can you "like" in cases where we follow that statement with a simple noun phrase. Generally, we use them both to make comparisons. I'll say though that native speakers often make mistakes with this. Generally speaking now, especially in spoken conversation in casual spoken conversation, at least American English speakers, tend to use "like" more often than "as" in everyday conversation. I tend to use "like," I rely on "like" heavily for my comparisons in everyday situations. It's like you were, it's like he was, it's like blah blah blah. "As," I feel, is more common, at least among American English speakers in writing.
So you might see "as if" and "as though," both of those we can use to make comparisons.
"Like" comes before a simple noun phrase; "as" is used before something containing a verb.
Yeah, thanks for that question, Bahar.
Next question.
The next question is from Taylor.
Taylor asks which one sounds better, I read a newspaper every morning or I read the newspaper every morning?
Nice question. This is a question about articles, this is just about being specific. If, for example, there's a specific newspaper that you want to read, like, I read the ABC newspaper every morning, you should use "the." If it's not important to you to be specific about a newspaper and if you want to imply that you just read any newspaper every morning, you can use a newspaper, I read a newspaper every morning.
Using "the" instead though shows that there's maybe a specific newspaper. Using "the" before newspaper in this case though sounds like there's a specific newspaper you read every morning. If you say, I read a newspaper every morning, it sounds like you just choose any newspaper that's available to you on that day and you read that newspaper. So using "the" shows that there's a specific or it implies that there's a specific newspaper you'll read every day.
You don't have to be specific about which one, you can, like, I read the New York Times every day or I read that Guardian every day, for example. But if you say I read a newspaper every day, it sounds like you don't choose the same news paper each day. That's the difference between these two phrases, most people, however, do choose the same newspaper every day and so they use I read the newspaper every day. You can say I read the news every day, as well; but using that set phrase, the news, it's like the news for the day, I read that day's news every day, or I read the previous day's news every day. So usually we say "the" news, we don't use "a" news, it sounds a little strange to use "a" news.
So the same sort of thing applies to a newspaper, most people choose the same newspaper every day, so we say "the" newspaper instead of "a" newspaper.
But thanks to that question, Taylor, nice!
Next question!
Next question comes from Brian... Brian? I'm very sorry.
Hey, Alisha, what's your height? I am 1,000 centimeters tall or maybe I'm 6 centimeters tall and this whole thing has just been a scam the entire time.
Next question!
Next question is from Farris...? Farris Godsally? I'm very sorry!
Farris asks, hey Alisha, can we use "hasn't" in an essay? Hasn't is the contracted form of "has not." You can, it's physically possible for you to use "hasn't" in an essay, sure. But if you use contractions in your writing, it makes you, in my opinion, it makes you sound a bit less formal. If you use the expanded form, the non-contracted version, you're gonna sound a bit more formal, a bit more polished, I feel. This does not only apply to the word "has not" and "hasn't" therefore, this applies to all contractions really. The answer is, yes, you can, but I don't necessarily recommend it if you want to sound formal and polished.
Thanks for that question, though, Farris!
Next question!
Next question is from another person called Taylor, maybe Taylor submitted more than one question, I don't know.
Do these have different meanings? There is not a quiz today, and there is no quiz today. There is not homework, there is no homework. There are not flowers, there are no flowers. They really mean the same things, they communicate the same idea. I would say, though, it's more natural not to use an article but you would not have any communication problem if you said there is not homework today, there is not a quiz today.
Thanks for that question, Taylor!
Next question!
Next question comes from Ray. Ray asks, hey Alisha, I like rap songs, is it effective if I learn English by memorizing and singing a rap song like lose yourself by Eminem?
This is a very specific question. Is it effective? If you only want to learn the English in that song, sure, using music in media is, of course, helpful in learning, not only words like vocabulary words but also learning a bit about pop culture from the language that you're studying. In that way, in that respect, yes, it can be effective for learning; however, things to keep in mind, number one, by studying a song or something like that, you may learn some incorrect grammar or you may find that the words, the word play, the vocabulary words that are chosen are not the words that native speakers use in everyday life, or it's only a speaking pattern that that artist uses, so that's a risk.
Two, you might not realize it but you might study some vocabulary words that are extremely rude or that are not appropriate for you to use. You might sound a bit strange if you use those words. Three, there might be a very limited number of situations where you can actually apply those words, and he's using like little interjections throughout that song, like "snap back to reality, oh, there goes gravity..."
That's not something that most of us use in everyday speech. If you can keep those points in mind, go for it! I think it's really really fun to study with something like music and movies because you get to enjoy yourself while you study. I actually use music, that was part of the reason that I got interested in another language, was through music, but just keep in mind that the way that you speak and the way your favorite artist speaks maybe a little bit different. If you want to learn to speak like Eminem, for sure, you should listen to Eminem's music. But just remember, like, if you sound like Eminem when you speak, it's gonna really surprise a native speaker and maybe not, it's maybe gonna confuse people.
Thanks for that question, Ray, it's really interesting.
Okay, so those are all the questions that I want to answer this week. Thanks very much for sending in all your 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. I will see you again next Saturday. Bye-bye!
It's been a long time since I listened to Eminem.
Hey Eminem, you want to do a collaboration? We can do like a cool pronunciation collaboration. I'll do my pronunciation. His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti, he's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud, he own...
And you can do your pronunciation. Eminem, if you're watching, leave a comment.