Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me questions and I answer them, maybe.
The first question this week comes from Luigi. Hi, Luigi. Luigi said, "Hi, Alisha. How do you pronounce the word 'comfortable' in American English? I've always pronounced it with four syllables but a few months ago, I started noticing everyone I know says it the three-syllable way. Is there a right and a wrong way, or is it just a matter of personal preference? Yeah. We usually say it with three syllables, like you've described, "comfortable." That's easier to say than comfortable in quick everyday speech. So, it's kind of rare to hear people say, "comfortable." For that reason, I would recommend you also try to use "comfortable" instead. If for some reason you want to sound really clear and maybe formal, perhaps polite, you might use the full "comfortable," but in most cases, you don't need to do that. So, yes, to answer your question, it is kind of a matter of personal preference, and that it's just easier for us to say it in the three-syllable way. So, I hope that this helps you. Thanks very much for the question.
Okay. Let's move on to your next question. Next question comes from Ariadna. Hi, Ariadna. Ariadna says, "Hi, Alisha. I want to know the difference between 'commendable' and 'admirable.'" Okay. Commendable. The root of commendable is commend. So, to commend is to give public attention to something because it is good. You'll see this used for someone who has done something really, really honorable. You'll see it used in military situations, or maybe in big academic institutions like fancy universities, famous universities. So, it's for things that deserve some kind of public attention. We would describe that as commendable. So, it's a really good behavior, a really good positive action, and something that someone deserves public notice. "Your community service is commendable. Her hard work is commendable."
Admirable, on the other hand, is used for something -- again, like commendable, used for maybe good deeds. We can describe a good deed or a good action as admirable. However, we don't necessarily make the point of saying, "It's something we should announce publicly." We don't really say that. We can describe a person as admirable. "He's an admirable person. She's an admirable person." We can also talk about a behavior as admirable like, "Oh, that was a really admirable thing you did." Admirable also means good deeds, but we don't really have that feeling of giving someone public attention for doing it. With commendable, yes, it's like we want to give attention and notice for that thing. Admirable just means we can admire it. So, the root of admirable is admire, like to think that something is good or positive. "Your work ethic is admirable. His cooking skills are admirable." Okay. So, I hope that that helps. Thanks very much for the question.
Alright. Let's move on to your next question. Next question this week comes from Tatchaya Cherry. Hi, Tatchaya. Tatchaya says, "What's the difference between 'blog' and 'vlog'? Thanks." Yeah. A blog is something written. So, a blog is like a diary, or maybe someone writes essays on a blog. "I update my blog once a week. Have you ever read my blog?" A vlog, actually, is what's called a portmanteau. A portmanteau is a word that's made of two words pushed together. So, in this case, vlog comes from video and log or video and blog. This formed a combination, which is vlog. So, a vlog is a video log or a video blog. That means it's like the same content. It can be like an essay, it can be a diary, it can be about some specific topic, but a vlog is in video form. So, that's the key difference here. A blog is written. A vlog is in video form. "Have you guys seen my vlogs before? I post a new vlog every week." Okay. Great. Thanks very much for the question.
Let's move on to your next question. Next question comes from Mehraj. Hi, Mehraj. Mehraj says, "Why does English have strange pronunciation rules? For instance, 'pizza' is pronounced 'peetza'. In comb, the 'B' remains silent, but in 'tomb' and 'womb', it's pronounced differently. Thank you." Yeah. The short answer is that historically, English is made up of many different languages. So, you've got like Greek, and you've got Latin, French. So, there are many different languages coming together in English. As a result, not everything, not all words follow the same rules. So, that's why you have sometimes these strange pronunciations that don't seem to follow a rule. So, that's kind of difficult, I know, when you're learning but it's something you get used to with practice. So, lots of listening and speaking practice can help you get used to these strange types of pronunciations, like the ones that you've mentioned here. So, that's the short answer. The reason for this is that English comes from many different languages. I hope that that helps answer this question.
Okay. Let's move along to your next question. Next question comes from Weider Gonรงalves da Silva. Hi, Weider. I hope I'm saying that right. Weider says, "When can I use 'as well' at the end of phrases?" I wouldn't say that there's such a clear rule for when to use "as well" at the end of phrases. I would just say that it's typically something we use at the end of like a list when we want to add something else. So, if you think about the situations where you would use "too." So, you want to give more information. You want to add another noun, for example. You might use "as well" to do that.
So, let's look at a few examples. These are some casual examples of ways we would use "as well" when we're describing lists. "We need to buy eggs, bread, and fruit, milk as well. I have to write a few reports today, send a few emails, and attend a meeting, give a presentation as well." So, in these examples, you can see how "as well" comes at the end of a list, and it's actually like at the end of an additional item to a list. So, this is one common way that we use "as well" at the end of, like I keep saying, a list. You can also find it at the end of sentences where you're listing many things, multiple things like I would probably use it if I'm listing three-ish, three to four items in a list. So, there's not really a rule for when to use it. It's kind of your preference. So, I would suggest when you're reading, pay attention to the times when you see "as well" used at the end of something, and maybe you can start to see a pattern, or you can start to see similarities in how and where that's used. So, I hope that this helps you. Thanks very much for the question.
Okay. Let's move on to your next question. Next question comes from Mon Mon. Hi, Mon Mon. Mon Mon says, "Hi, Alisha. What is the meaning of 'be there, be square'?" Okay. So, today, this phrase means you should come to this event because it's going to be fun. That's what it means in today's English. Actually though, the expression "be square" is kind of an old-fashioned slang expression. So, "be square" meant someone who's boring, or someone who's not cool, a square. So, it's like a really typical boring shape, a square. So, if you say, "be there" or "be square," it's like if you don't come to this event, you're boring or you're not cool. "Today, we don't really have that boring or uncool feel about this expression, but it does mean like you should come to this event. If you don't, you're going to miss something fun." So, that's what "be there" or "be square" originally meant and how we use it now. You can use it if you like but it does sound a little bit old-fashioned, I feel. I hope that this helps answer your question. Thanks very much for sending it.
Alright. That's everything that I have for you guys for this week. Thank you as always for sending your questions. Remember, you can send your questions to me at EnglishClass101.com/ask-Alisha. 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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