Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me questions and I answer them, maybe.
First question comes from Mohammed. Hi, Mohammed. Mohammed says, "Which one is correct? ‘Seeking for a job,’ or ‘seeking to a job,’ or ‘seeking a job?’" Thanks. The correct answer is "seeking a job." When you use the verb "seek," you can follow "seek" with the thing you are looking for. You can hear there though. If you change the verb, if you use the verb "look," you also need to change your pattern there. "Looking for a job," is correct. "Looking to a job," is not correct and "looking a job" is not correct, but "seeking a job” is correct. I hope that this helps you. Thanks very much for the question. Let's move on to your next question.
The next question comes from Antonio Loco. Hi, again, Antonio. Antonio says, "Hi, Alisha. I notice that sometimes we use ‘that’ and sometimes not. For example, ‘Alisha told me that she was busy yesterday,’ versus ‘Alisha told me she was busy yesterday.’ Is there a rule for when we should use ‘that’ or is it up to the person?" Yes, both examples are correct. We use "that" before noun clauses. We're introducing some information. We can include it or we can choose not to include it. Depending on some style guides, especially if you're writing, some style guides tell you specifically, kind of strictly when not to use "that," but in everyday speech, you suggested, it's just up to the person. We choose to include "that" or not include "that." It's up to you for everyday speech. If you want to get really technical, you can check a style guide. Hope that helps you. Thanks for the question. Let's move on to your next question.
The next question comes from Chun Appa. Hi, Chun Appa. Chun Appa says, "Today I told my friend, ‘You can do it. I'll always cheer you up.’ He replied, ‘You better.’ I asked him what does it mean. I want to ask you, Alisha, what does ‘You better’ mean?" "You better" is a casual way of saying, "Yes, you should do the thing you just mentioned." It's like agreeing with you and saying, "Yes, you should do that." You had better do that. We use this with friends and you might hear parents say this to children as well. You can use it in the positive and in the negative. You should be careful about your intonation. Let's look at two examples. A positive example between friends might sound like, "I'm going to study a lot this year.” “Yes, you better." Between a parent and child, "Sorry, Mom. I won't do it again.” “You better not." The mom says, "You better not," meaning you had better not do that thing again. It's better if you don't do that thing again. You had better do or not do the thing you just said. That's what it means. Hope that helps you. Thanks very much for the question. Let's continue on to your next question.
Next question comes from Agatha. Hi, Agatha. Agatha says, "Hello. Could you please explain, in a simple way, when to use a definite and indefinite article? Thanks." If it's not already up on the YouTube channel, it will be soon. I made a whiteboard video about this recently. Let's start with the indefinite article. The indefinite article is "a" or "an." We use the indefinite article before a singular noun. We use "a" before a singular noun that starts with a consonant sound and "an" before a singular noun that starts with a vowel sound. Please keep in mind, this is a sound-based decision not a spelling-based decision. For example, a word like "hours" starts with an "H" but is pronounced with a vowel sound, "hours." We need to make sure we use "an." "An hour," for example. We use indefinite articles when we want to introduce the first instance of a noun or we need to introduce a new noun to a story or to a situation. For example, "I saw a dog," or "I ate an apple." These are new nouns coming into the situation.
Then, we use the definite article, "the," when we want to refer to a specific noun we introduced earlier in the conversation or story, or we want to introduce a noun that is known. Everybody know is from the situation what that noun is. Initially, I said, "I saw a dog." "I ate an apple." I could say, "I pet the dog." "I threw away the apple." When I use "the," it means that thing that I talked about earlier. In this case, "the dog" and "the apple." We use "the" when we want to talk about the thing we talked about before, if that makes sense. I hope that that helps you understand definite and indefinite articles a little bit, though. There will be more information available very soon. Hope that helps you. Thanks for the question. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Mambi. Hi, Mambi. Mambi says, "Could you tell me the meaning of ‘Smartypants McGee?’" Smartypants McGee. This is funny. This is a nonsense word, honestly. This is a nonsense joke word. We need to break down. Let's start with the end part, McGee. You might see this spelled a couple different ways like MacGee or McGee. Actually, McGee is a surname. McGee could be someone's last name. We pair that with the expression Smartypants. A smartypants is someone who, maybe, is actually very intelligent. They're quite smart but they have a lot of pride about it. They're smart and they know it. They like to show it off, maybe, a little bit. We would use this expression to talk about kids, especially. "I feel like she's being a smartypants. She knows something and she's excited and she wants to show off." When we say Smartypants McGee, we're teasing or joking with someone because they are nerdy, uncool, but they maybe know a little bit about a subject and they're showing off a little bit about it. We might say, "Oh, stop talking like Smartypants McGee," or "Aren't you special, Smartypants McGee?" That kind of thing. This is not a word I would use but I'm sure it's used on the internet somewhere. It would be a joking phrase you could use when your friend is sharing lots of information and they start to sound nerdy or uncool, I guess. That's what it means. I hope that that helps you.
Let's move on to your next question then. Next question comes from Carlos. Hi, Carlos. Carlos says, "Number one, why is the oo sound in 'floor' or 'door' not like in 'book' and 'look?' Is there a rule? Two, when is the letter 'i' pronounced as 'I' or with other sounds like 'signal' or 'idiom?' Is there a rule for this? Number three, when do we use 'do' or 'make?' What is the difference?" Wow, that's a lot of questions.
Regarding question one and question two, no. There's no rule is the easy answer, is the short answer. I would suggest for the oo sounds that you try to remember the exceptions to the rule. An exception is something that's outside the regular pronunciation. Instead of trying to follow a rule and think about a rule for something, try to memorize the exceptions, the things that are not typical.
Regarding the “I” sound, there's not an easy rule for this one. I would say it's just going to take practice and time. I would say just practice, listen to the way native speakers say the word. If you find a word in a book or something else and you don't know how to pronounce it, you can find in dictionaries online now. There's a pronunciation button you can use. Google has one. Merriam-Webster has one. I'm sure for British English dictionaries, as well, you can find a similar function. Just search for the word. There should be an audio button somewhere where you can click and it'll give you the pronunciation. That's another tool you can use to find the correct pronunciation for things.
Regarding your final question, the difference between "do" and "make." This is quite an open question, so I'll give quite an open answer. "Make" is used for things that we create. There's some creation process happening there. We use "do" to talk generally about our activities. Maybe, we're not actually making things. Some examples, "I want to make a video." "Let's make a cake." "Why don't you make a plan?" For "do," "I do the dishes every day." "She does her homework every night." "Can you do your exercises somewhere else?" These are activity related things. "Make refers to creation. That's a very open answer but I hope that it helps you a little bit. Thanks very much for the question.
That's everything that I have for you for this week. Thank you, as always, for sending your questions. Remember to send them to me in EnglishClass101.com/ask-Alisha. Thanks very much for watching this week's episode of Ask Alisha. I will see you again next week. Bye.


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Hi again Mukti,

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Mukti Prakash Datta
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👍, June 4, 2020