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 Chin. Hi, Chin. Chin says, "Hi, Alisha. What is the difference between 'prior to something' and 'before something?' Thanks." Generally, "prior to something" sounds more formal than "before something." So, for example, "I met the director prior to the conference," and, "I met the director before the conference." So, "before the conference" sounds much more casual, sounds much more conversational than "prior to the conference." Prior to sounds much more businesslike. We might see this in written documents like contracts or agreements, that kind of thing. You might also see it in like formal business notes, like meeting minutes, that kind of thing. But they have the same meaning just slightly different fields. I hope that this helps you. Thanks for the question. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Yoshitaka Horikoshi. Hi again, Yoshitaka. Yoshitaka says, "Hi, Alisha. I watched the movie, "Zootopia." I have a question. What is the difference in nuance between 'give in' and 'give up?'" Yeah, nice question. "To give in" means to finally agree to something. We use this in situations where someone has like asked us for something many, many times or we are pushed or like pressured to do something. So, even if there's not a request, if we have like a strong feeling like a craving for something or a strong desire to do something, and we finally decided to do it, or we finally agree to something someone has been asking of us, we can use "give in" to describe that. "I gave in and bought my kids a dog." "Don't give into your late night cravings for food." So, you'll notice in these examples, especially in the first example, we don't talk about how someone has been asking us for something for a long time. Just choosing to use the phrasal verb "give in" shows that there has been like repeated requests in the past. So, "give in" has this meaning of to finally agree to something.
"To give up," however, it means to finally quit something, to finally stop doing something. There are actually two ways to use "to give up." We use to give up with "to give up on" and just "to give up." Some examples, "I gave up on my blog and started gardening." "This year, I want to give up smoking." Okay, so we see these two patterns, "to give up on something" and just "to give up something." When we give up on something, it's usually something we had like an expectation for. In my example sentence, it was, "I gave up on my blog." In this case, like I had some kind of expectation. I wanted my blog to be great or I wanted to make something interesting, but I couldn't or I decided to stop after a long period of trying. Without this "on," like "I gave up smoking" or "I want to give up smoking," it means I want to stop that thing, and it's usually for like a bad habit or something that's kind of unhealthy for us. Like to give up junk food or to give up drinking, or in my example, "to give up smoking." These are things that maybe we do as bad habits and we want to stop. So, "to give up" something or "to give up on" something is to finally quit something after a long time. "To give in," however, refers to finally agreeing to something. So, there are very subtle, but important differences between these two phrasal verbs. I hope that that helps you. Thanks very much for the question. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Ari. Hi, Ari. Ari says, "How can we use 'though' at the beginning of a sentence? Does it have the same meaning as when it's at the end of a sentence?" Yes, the meaning is the same. Let's compare with a few examples. "Though we had no money, he went shoe shopping." "He went shoe shopping though he had no money." "He had no money. He went shoe shopping though." Okay, so the first two examples here are quite a formal sounding, especially the first one. So, starting with the word "though" at the beginning of the sentence sounds quite formal. "Though he had no money, he went shoe shopping." This is probably a sentence we would not use in everyday conversation. It sounds very polite, very formal.
The second sentence using though to connect these two ideas at the middle sounds a little bit more casual but still has a polite feel. In general, "though" does sound a bit more polite. In the last example sentence, we see "though" at the end of a sentence. This is a very common position for "though" in everyday speech. You may also see "though" shortened to T-H-O, especially in like texts and like social media posts. So, people put "though" in this position a lot for very casual expressions. To answer your question, the meaning remains the same. It has the same function, it just sounds a little bit more casual to put it at the end of a sentence. 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 Asif Mahmoud. Hi, Asif. Asif says, "What is the difference between 'among' and 'between?' For example, according to your video, the difference between 'look,' 'watch' and 'see,' the sentence is correct, but how?" Okay. So, yes, we can use between for more than two objects, but the object should belong to the same category. In that example, in the video title example, "look," "watch" and "see," those are three verbs and they all have like similar meanings. So, those verbs together form kind of like a category. We can understand that they are somehow similar or somehow related. If though, I decided to make a statement or make a sentence like, "What's the difference between 'cat,' 'sing' and 'luxury?'" It's like what? Those things, they don't belong to any category. They're words, yes, but they're not verbs. They're not nouns. They're not adjectives. They don't seem to have any relationship. They would sound really strange. So, we use "difference between" when we're talking about things that kind of belong to the same group or the same category. And we use "between" when we list those things individually. So, in the video example, we list "look," "watch" and "see." So, we know each item that we're going to talk about there.
We use "among" in more formal situations, and we use it when we're talking about like one individual, one person or one object that's inside or in a situation where they're surrounded by many other objects that are all the same. For example, a great one would be like, "We walked among the trees." In that example, there are lots and lots of trees and "we" are different. We, as people in this situation, are walking among them. So, there's something different. That's like inside this kind of homogenous, which means everything is the same condition. Here, you'll also notice that with "among," we're using an uncountable noun in the plural form. We're not talking about individual trees. We're using "trees" there. It's kind of like one group of things. We're not focusing on the individuals necessarily. There are many individuals, yes, but we want to focus on the group.
Let's look at one more example. "Please choose from among these options." Here, we see "options" in the plural form. That means there are many different options and we want to express rather formally, that there are many different things for someone to choose from. When we use "among," keep in mind, it's used with formal situations, more formal situations, kind of polite or speech. We use it with uncountable nouns and we tend to refer to like a group of things. So, something that we can understand as being in a group. When we're using "between," we're talking about things that belong to the same category and we want to focus on the individual parts of those things in the category. I hope that this helps answer your question. There will also be a whiteboard video about the differences between "among" and "amid" and "between," out on the channel soon. So, please keep an eye out for that. Thanks very much for your question. Okay. Let's move along to the next question.
Next question comes from Jennadie. Hi, Jennadie. Jennadie says, "Is there a difference between 'because of' and 'due to' in meaning and usage? Would you please explain?" Yeah, "because of" can sound a bit rougher especially if you're saying, "because of you." For example, "We lost the game because of you," or "Because of you, we're late to the airport." So, that can sound really aggressive. So "because of" sometimes sounds quite rough so we might use it very carefully in interpersonal situations, like when we're talking to other people and like blaming someone for something. It can sound aggressive.
"Due to," on the other hand, sounds much more polite. It sounds more like a statement of fact. For example, "Due to rain, today's event has been canceled." "Our success was due to our team's hard work." So "due to" sounds more like a positive version of "because of." So, "because of" can have this kind of rough feel. So, if you're ever not sure, you can say "due to."
There's another expression which is "thanks to" as well. So, "thanks to" expresses your appreciation. If you want to see a few more example sentences and some other ways to use these expressions, you can check out the "Because of versus thanks to" video that's on the YouTube channel as well. I hope that this helps answer your question. Thanks very much for sending it.
Okay. That's everything that I have for this week. So, thank you, 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 soon. Bye-bye.

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