Lesson Transcript

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 Pualam. Hi, Pualam! Pualam says, hi Alisha, I would like to know the differences between the verb "to be" and “to become.”
For example, which one is correct?
"I want to be a teacher" or "I want to become a teacher"?
Thanks! Both of these are correct, actually. So, in this case, "to be" and “become” have the same meaning but "become" tends to sound more formal, like, if you say, I want to become a teacher, it sounds a bit more formal than saying I want to be a teacher. It's also easier to say, I want to be a teacher.
So you can use them in the same way when you're talking about becoming something else or when you're talking about something turning into something else. “I want to be” can be used in more casual expressions.
Another example would be like I wanna be rich someday or I want to become rich someday. So I wanna be rich sounds more casual. It's more commonly used than I want to become rich but they communicate the same idea. So I hope that this helps you. Thanks very much for the question.
Ok let's go on to your next question. Next question comes from Israel Díaz. Hi, Israel! Israel says, what's the difference between used to or use to and used for?
Okay. Well, it kind of depends on your sentence. So Used to or used to like I said that when I read the question. So depending on the sentence, this word or this phrase rather can take different meanings.
So used to can mean something that you did in the past like I used to play golf or I used to eat pancakes for breakfast every morning or I used to go to the forest to go hiking with my family every summer. I used to do something. That refers to a past activity that's no longer true.
Used to however talks about the purpose of something. So like, this phone is used to make calls or like this camera is used to record video. So we use used to before a verb. So this thing is used to do that. So that's talking about the purpose of something.
Then used for is similar. It's also talking about purpose but we're following the expression with a noun instead of a verb. So like this phone is used for phone calls. This camera is used for videos.
So we're following the expression with a noun instead of a verb. So depending on the sentence used to or used to, they're spelled the same and will be read differently and it will have different grammatical functions. Used to and used for have the same purpose but we have to make slight changes to our grammar after that expression. So I hope that this helps you understand the differences. Thanks very much for the question.
Ok. Let's move on to your next question. Next question comes from dongfang again. Hi, dongfang. Dongfang says, Hi, Alisha! I'm an English Learner from China. What does it mean when someone says, “I'm not practicing the law anymore.” I heard this sentence in one of my favorite dramas called Better Call Saul. I understand the sentence but I'm a little confused about the word practice here. Is this a common use?
Yeah. This is a really nice question. Great catch. So practice is a very special verb that we use in certain jobs, certain professions. So commonly this is doctors and lawyers that use this word. So they use the word practice before their field of expertise and it just means “do” or “to be active in their practice.” So in this case in Better Call Saul, it's “practicing law” or “I'm not practicing law”, that means “I'm not actively doing, like, legal work right now.” “I'm not active as a lawyer right now.” A doctor could say, like, I've been practicing medicine for six years. That means, I've been active as a doctor for six years.
So practice here does not mean like, practicing, doing something. It means actively participating in that job. So again this is very specific for a couple of different jobs like lawyers and doctors. So very specific word. Nice catch and thank you so much for this question. Hope that helps you.
Okay. Let's move on to your next question. Next question comes from Silver Way. Hi, again, Silver Way.
Silver Way says, Hi, Alisha! What does I'm blown away mean?
Oh yeah. Okay. I'm blown away can mean, “I'm surprised” or like “I'm shocked.” So it's kind of, it tends to be more of like a positive expression like I'm blown away by all the questions you guys send or like I was blown away by how good that dinner was or like I was blown away when I saw that my best friend had decided to get a mohawk.
So it's like something is surprising or shocking or both maybe. And you can actually use it for negative situations as well. You can also use this in past tense like “whoa, that blew me away!” “That movie blew me away.” So it just means shock, surprise.
If something bad happens like someone is really rude, you could say like, “whoa, that person just blew me away.” or like “I was so surprised at how rude that person was.” So I hope that that helps you understand the phrase “to be blown away.” Thanks very much for the question.
All right. Let's move on to your next question. Next question comes from Pruthvi Jani. Hi, Pruthvi.
Pruthvi says, Hi, Alisha! what is the difference between “lot of” and “plethora of”?
Plethora is kind of a formal and rarely used word. So plethora of something means “lots and lots” (of something), yes but we tend to use it for like extravagant situation. So like for example, the researchers discovered a plethora of treasures in the Egyptian King’s tomb.
We really don't use this so much in everyday speech. It sounds too formal in most cases but again if you're talking about something that's, like, really kind of big and extravagant, you might use the word plethora to describe that, a plethora of something. So I hope that this helps you understand the word plethora. Thanks very much for the question.
So that's everything that I have for this week. Thanks as always for sending 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, and I will see you again next week. Bye-bye!
Have you seen the movie The Three Amigos? Steve Martin. Yeah. Do you remember? A Plethora of Pinatas. There's a whole theme there where they talk about. They talk about a party that's coming up and they're like, “did you get the pinatas for the party?” And they're like, “see see” And then they're like, “how many pinatas did you get?” Would you say that you got a plethora of pinatas? And you are like, “oh, it’s a plethora.”