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 Sunkara Eliya. Hi, Sunkara. Sunkara says, "'I could do it now if you like.' What does 'could' mean in this sentence? Does could mean ability in the present or possibility? And what does likely to happen mean in English?" Okay, yeah. It's something maybe that people would use to say something is possible now. I feel like we would probably say, "I can do it now if you like." It would sound like, "I can do it now if you like." Perhaps a person would use "could" instead of "can" to make it sound a little bit more formal. But it just means it's possible for me to do this now if you like. "I could do it now, if you like." "Do you have time to finish checking my paperwork today?" "Yeah, I can do it now if you like." So, that's a situation where you might hear this used. "Could" will sound a little bit more formal, I think, than "can."
So, regarding your second question about the phrase "likely to happen," it just means there's a good chance of something. So, there's a good chance that something will happen in the future. For example, "The company says the new project launch is likely to happen in June." "Our regular summer party is not likely to happen this year." So, I hope that this helps answer your questions. Thanks very much. All right. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Fรกbio. Hi, Fabio. Fabio says, "Hello, Alisha. I'd like to know about some American dictionaries. Which one do you recommend?" Okay. Yeah, my favorite dictionary is Webster's dictionary. It's called the Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as well. So, if you can't access the physical book, I highly recommend Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. They are my favorite resource to use. I use them pretty much every week to plan these lessons, to plan other videos. It's a great resource. So, of course, you can look up words and you can find example sentences and pronunciation there. But they also do a really nice job of sharing interesting articles about like word history, about new words that are coming up, and you can also do quizzes on their website, they post interesting information on their Twitter feed. So, I highly recommend Merriam Webster's dictionary. That's my favorite one. So, just google for "Merriam-Webster" and you can find it really, really easily.
There are a couple of other official American dictionaries. The other two like big dictionaries, there's one that's called the American Heritage Dictionary. That's one that I personally have not used and my understanding is that that's a very like conservative approach to standard English. So, that dictionary originally came about because the person, the publisher, felt that Merriam-Webster's approach was like a little bit too open. Merriam-Webster was allowing too many new words to come in. They weren't being strict enough about what's correct and incorrect, and so on. So, the American Heritage Dictionary was like this conservative response to that. You can still find the American Heritage Dictionary online today if you want to check it out. There's like example sentences and definitions and images and things you can use to learn more about words there.
There's also the New Oxford American dictionary. Again, I have not used this one personally. But that's based on the Oxford English Dictionary, meaning British English. So, that's as the base has had like some updates to make it like an American English dictionary. So, that's another resource that you could consider using. But my personal favorite, as I said, is Webster's dictionary. That's a great, great resource to use.
In terms of online dictionaries, like I said, Merriam-Webster is good. I also like to use the Cambridge Online Dictionary. Because in addition to searching or to being able to search for word meanings, you can search for grammar as well. So, if there's a grammar point you're not familiar with, they have a grammar search tool. You can also listen to pronunciations of words in British English and in American English. And they have lots and lots of example sentences. So, I use those two, probably the most, the American English Cambridge dictionary and the American English Merriam-Webster's dictionary. So, those are a few dictionaries for you to check out. I hope that that's helpful. Thanks very much for the question. Okay. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Aurangzaib. Hi, Aurangzaib. I hope I said that right. Aurangzaib says, "Can we use 'wanna,' 'gonna' and 'gotta' in formal English writing or speaking?" I don't recommend it in formal writing. No, I don't. You might hear "gonna" in formal speaking like when we're speaking quickly. But generally, using "wanna" sounds too casual. So, "wanna" is the reduced form of "want to," and that even just "want to," "I want to," "he wants to." It might sound a little too casual. Instead, we would use "I would like to," in more formal situations. "I would like to" reduces to, "I'd like to."
"Gonna," you might hear it in speech, I would not use it in writing. But "gonna" is the reduced form of "going to" and so that's okay to use, "I'm going to," "he's going to." Some other things that you could use in place of that are like "I plan to" or "I intend to." So, these refer more formally to your upcoming plans.
And finally, "gotta" is the reduced form of "got to" or "have got to" or "have to." So, this one is okay to use in the non-reduced form, like "I have to do something," that's okay. "Got to" might sound a little bit too rough. If you want to sound like extremely formal, you could say, "I have a responsibility to do something." So, the short answer is no, I would not use these informal writing. You can listen to the other people around you to hear if they use these words in speech because in some cases, that might be okay. But in writing, I would not do this. No. Okay. So, I hope that this helps answer your question. Thanks very much for sending it along. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Zachary. Hi, Zachary. Zachary says, "Hi, Alisha. I have two questions. First, is there a difference between 'a bit' and 'a little bit?' Second, do you never pronounce the T at the end of a noun if there's an S after the T in the plural form? For example, 'event' - 'events.'" Okay. First of all, no. There's not a difference between "a bit" and "a little bit." They have the same meaning. But, native speakers often like to extend the sound "little" to really emphasize how small something is. For example, "Can I have a bit of cake?" "Can I have a little bit of cake?" So, "little," like extending that sound, makes it sound like the piece we want is even smaller. It sounds super casual and kind of goofy, kind of funny, but this is how it's used. So, the meaning isn't actually any different. But we'd like to kind of make an emphasis phrase or an emphasis, kind of like feel with it.
Regarding your second question, we do actually pronounce the T here in "events." "Events." It's not a hard "T" sound, it's more like a "Tss." So, it's like the tongue touches the back of the teeth quickly and then makes it "Tss" sound. So, you can kind of try to imitate the sound of like a symbol in a drum set. That's the same exact sound. So, like "events," "tents," "dents," "cents," "vents," these all in -ts sounds. The T sound is pronounced, but it's just not, it's not "events." It's all together. We don't say eventsss. It's all together. Tss, tss, tss. So, if I don't make the T sound, it sounds totally bizarre. It sounds like "evenz," which would make like a Z sound. So, the T is pronounced. It's just kind of softened "events." So, practice making that "tss " sound. And, I think that this sound at the end of these words will become a little bit easier to say. All right. So, I hope that that helps you and good luck with your continued pronunciation practice. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Alexey. Hi, Alexey. Alexey says, "How correct is the expression, 'and this weather had been happened,' in the sense that sometimes the weather was bad in the past?" To express that idea, maybe try saying, "This bad weather has happened before." So, something has happened before. We use "has been" before a verb in the continuous tense to express like a continuing condition, or we use "has been" before an adjective to express like a condition, like a recent continuing condition. So, like for example, "This bad weather has been going for days," or, "The weather has been terrible lately." So, we would not use "has been happened." We can use "has happened," like this bad weather "has happened before," that's fine. Or we can use "has been," continuous, "has been," adjective form. So, I hope that that helps you. Thanks very much for the question.
All right. That's everything that I have for this week. So, thank you, as always, for sending your questions. Remember, you can send your questions to me at EnglishClass1on1.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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