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 Indurjit Singh. Hi, Indurjit. Indurjit says, "How do we use 'say' and 'said' in English?" Okay. We use "say" and "said" for reports of speech in English. When we use "say," we're often using it to talk about something that a person often says. When we use "said," we're using it to report something that was in the past. Just a simple neutral report of speech in the past. Let's look at some examples. "My boss said I did a great job." "My boss said, 'you did a great job'." "My parents say I'm a good student." Okay. You'll notice in these example sentences, especially the first two, there's a very small difference there. Like, "My boss said I did a great job," and "My boss said, 'you did a great job.'" When you're reporting speech directly, as in the second example sentence, you can use those quotation marks. That's what I'm doing with my fingers here. Like, this is the open mark and this is the close mark to make a quote. When you're doing that, we can use "said" to report past tense. This is something that a boss, in this case, said in the past. If I'm not being direct, meaning if I'm not sharing exactly the things someone said, I can use a pattern like the first example sentence, which was, "My boss said I did a great job." The boss didn't say, "I did a great job." The speaker wants to communicate that the boss said that he or she, the speaker, I, did a great job. The first example is a very common way of reporting the speech indirectly. If you want to directly report a speech, you can use a pattern like the second example.
The third example sentence, "My parents say I'm a good student," is an example of something where we would use the present form of the verb, the present tense form of the verb. "My parents say I'm a good student." Lots of learners ask why don't we use "said?" "My parents said I'm a good student." We use present tense for things that are regular, for things that happen, maybe, every week, for example, or every month, a regular, repeating action. In this case, the speaker's parents say something. That means this is a regular thing they say. "My parents say I'm a good student." This is a regular thing that they comment about. If it's past tense, "My parents said I'm a good student," it sounds like, perhaps, it was just one time; or, maybe, when the speaker was a child, this was something that was regularly said. Like, they want to communicate more past thing, like one time. It's over. It's done. If they want to communicate something present, happening now, perhaps, regularly, we can use the present form, "My parents say."
Another example of this would be in business. For example, "The CEO says the company is doing well." Here, the CEO says, in present tense. The reported information is "the company is doing well." The use of the present tense here shows us that this is something the CEO regularly says, this is regular comment. We know this because it's in present tense. Some other ways that we use this are in thank you's or in more formal situations. Like, "I want to say thank you." We would use it in that way. Or, "I want to say goodbye." We soften those expressions, "thank you," or, "goodbye," with "I want to say" or "I'd like to say." If you're giving formal speech, for example, too, you might begin it by saying, "My I say a few words?" Again, this is just a simple report of speech, a simple neutral way of expressing communication. Using "say," in present tense, "say" or "says," or using "said" for past tense. I hope that this helps you understand how to use "say" and "said" in English. Thanks very much for the question. Okay. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Mohammed Abdul Hakkeim. Hi, Mohammed. Mohammed says, "What is the correct use of 'looking forward to?' Is it right to say, 'I look forward to hearing from you,' or 'I'm looking forward to hearing from you'?" Yup, both are correct. You can use both of these. They're both fine. They communicate the same thing. They have the same level or formality. It's just the speaker's preference. You can choose whatever you prefer. Like, "I look forward to seeing you," and, "I'm looking forward to seeing you." They're both correct. They're both fine. "We look forward to having dinner with you," and, "We're looking forward to having dinner with you." They mean the same thing. I would say, perhaps, in some less formal situations, we drop the "I" or the "we" in the "-ing" patterns. Instead of saying, "I'm looking forward to," we might just say "looking forward to." We sometimes do that when we use the "-ing" pattern. But, to answer your question, they're both correct. You can feel free to choose whichever you prefer. I hope that that helps you. Thanks for the question. Okay. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Arjun Singh. Hi again, Arjun. Arjun says, "Hi, Alisha. Can you please tell me the difference between 'expert' and 'perfect'?" Okay. "Expert" means having a lot of experience with something. To become an expert, you gain skills. You get lots of experience, you study things, and you gradually level up to become an expert. For example, "She's an expert programmer," or, "They're expert negotiators." That means that they are very good at something because they've practiced a lot, they've gained experience, and they've worked their way up through many skill levels to become expert at something. The word "perfect," however, means something that is flawless. There are no problems with it. It's pure. It's genuine. It's exactly as it should be. For example, "The weather today is perfect." "Our new software is perfect." We use "perfect" to mean things that don't have problems at all. We might use the word, "perfect," to refer to one specific action, like a trick in sports, or, maybe, a specific task that someone can do perfectly; but, we don't really use the word, "perfect," to talk about the person doing it because that implies that they're flawless, which is impossible because we're all humans and we're not perfect. In sum, "expert" refers to gaining skills to get something. We use that to talk about people and their jobs. "Perfect" refers to something that is flawless. Often, it's natural or just something that doesn't require any skills but is just great and doesn't have any issues. I hope that this helps you understand the difference between these two words. Thanks very much for the question. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Demi Wong. Hi, Demi Wong. Demi Wong says, "Hi, Alisha. What is the difference between 'rise' and 'raise,' and how do we use them?" Yeah. The difference for this is just in grammatical function. "Raise" takes a direct object. "Rise" does not take a direct object. Both verbs just mean "to go up." For example, "Raise your hand." "Your hand" is the direct object of "Raise" in that example sentence. Or, "He raised the cup above his head." In that sentence, the object of the verb "raise" is "the cup." To move the cup above his head. To raise the cup up. In contrast, the verb "rise" does not take a direct object. For example, "The sun rises every morning," and, "She rose early." There's no direct object in either of those. When you have a direct object, you can use "raise." When you don't have a direct object, you can use "rise." I hope that this helps you understand the difference. Thanks very much for the question. Okay. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Heaverson Silva. Hi, Heaverson. Heaverson says, "When should I use 'beneath' or 'below?' Is there any difference between them?" There's not really a difference in meaning, no. It's just formality. We would use "beneath" in more formal situations, or, perhaps, when we're writing poetry. "Beneath" is actually not so commonly used in everyday American English speech, anyway. We most commonly use the word "under," actually. There are quite a few different words that we can use to have the same meaning. We have "beneath," and "below," and "under," and "underneath." Of these, the most common is "under." Let's take a look at a few sentences that use these. "My bag is beneath the desk." "My bag is below the desk." "My bag is under the desk." Okay. From these, the most commonly used sentence would be, "My bag is under the desk." The next most common would be, "My bag is below." The least common here would be, "My bag is beneath the desk." We don't really use it so much to talk about positioning. We use "under" more commonly to talk about positioning. "Beneath" and "below" share the meaning of being under something, though, they're not as common as "under." I hope that this helps you understand the differences between these words. Thanks very much for the question.
Okay. 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.

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