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 Silas. Hi, Silas. Silas says, "Hi, Alisha. How's it going? I'd like to know the meaning of the expression 'weird flex, but okay.' And how do I use it in a sentence?" Okay, this is a bit of recent slang, "weird flex, but okay" focuses in on the meaning of the word "flex." So, if you are interested in like health, or like muscle training, or anything like that, you might know the verb "to flex." So, "to flex" is what we do when we want to show off a muscle we have been training. So, when we "flex" a muscle, we put energy into the muscle to make the muscle like stand out. We want it to look bigger, like we want to show off that muscle. So, when we "flex" a muscle, we're trying to show it off. We're like excited about that thing or we're proud about it or something like that. So, "flex" here in this expression, "weird flex" does not refer to muscle, it doesn't refer to the body, but actually something else that the speaker or the writer is trying to show off. So, it's something that seems strange. So, in the example of muscles and muscle training like the person who wants to show off wants to show their muscles but when we use the expression "weird flex," someone is trying to show off something that seems strange. And then we add "but okay" at the end to mean, "I don't really understand but, all right." So, to give an example of this, if I, on Twitter right, like, "I spent $3,000 on socks this month. Woohoo." And I talk about how excited I am, I'm like showing off that I spent $3,000 on socks. Someone might respond to me, "Weird flex, but okay." So, that means like it's strange that you want to show off that you spent $3,000 on socks, like that's a really strange thing to be excited about but okay. So, to give another example, your friend might tell you something like, "I have the biggest collection of rocks in my whole neighborhood." And you might say, "Weird flex, but okay." So, again, it's like that's a strange thing that you want to show off, but okay, whatever it is. Like it's not hurting anybody, it's just a little bit weird that you want to show that off or you want to brag or boast about that thing. So, that's what "weird flex but, okay" means. You see this one a lot online. I hope that that helps you. Thanks very much for this interesting question. Okay, let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Riggins. Hi, Riguens. Riguens says, "Hi, Alisha. I'm Riguens from Haiti. I'm good at English, but due to a lack of practice, I've kind of lost my touch because I'm sick and tired of the learning process. So, I'd like to know how to keep my English up, please?" Okay. First, I'm sure that you're not the only person, like I lose motivation all the time. I would say that if you are having trouble keeping your motivation up you should try looking for a different way to practice or a different way to use English. So, for example, if there's a hobby that you have in your native language, you could try doing that in English. Or maybe there's a book or a movie that you are really interested in or that seems cool, and you want to understand that in English. I would suggest trying to find something that's not like a traditional textbook or it's not a traditional way of learning like going to a class and doing worksheets and that kind of thing. I would suggest actually trying to use English in your everyday life to like do your work or to study something or to accomplish a hobby, maybe you make a new friend who can speak only English. So, I would suggest finding something outside of a traditional learning setting to do. I think that that might help you a little bit with your motivation. That has helped me a lot in the past actually making friends with people who cannot speak my language has been hugely motivating for me, and I tried to study the vocabulary words that they often talk about, and I try to learn from their speech patterns too. So, I would suggest trying to find something to do with other people as much as possible that uses English. So, I hope that this helps you and helps other people with their motivation issues. It happens to all of us at some point in time, but I hope that these tips can help. Thanks very much for this question. Okay, let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Ahmet Faruk. Hello, Ahmet. Ahmet says, "What is the difference between 'may' and 'can?'" Historically, "may" is used to ask for permission, "can" is used to express ability to do something or lack of ability to do something. So, that's the historical use of "may" and "can." In today's English, however, lots of people use "can" to ask for permission to do something. We do not however use "may" to talk about ability. So, let's take a look at some examples, "Can I go to the restroom?" "May I go to the restroom?" "Can I leave early today?" "May I leave early today?" So, in today's English, these all refer to the same thing. They're all requests to use the restroom or to leave early. In today's American English, I would say that using "may" tends to sound a little bit more formal than using "can." If you ever want to be sure to sound polite and to make sure you're communicating clearly, you can use "may," but in most day-to-day conversations we use "can." 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 yovani. Hi, yovani. yovani says, "Hi, Alisha. My name is yovani. I'm from Venezuela. I've always wanted to know the meaning of this sentence, 'don't get twisted' even though it's not used very often Thanks." Yeah, you're right. This isn't such a common expression. I found only a few references to this expression and they were typically from music actually, so this expression could mean like "don't get angry," or "don't get upset," or "don't get nervous," so it refers to being in like a negative condition. So, "twisted," if you imagine like a towel, do we have some--we do, yeah. For this explanation, let's imagine like a towel, so a regular just plain towel when we hold the towel looks like this, but if we twist the towel like this, it's under tension, like it's under pressure. So, if we imagine ourselves as like the towel like we're under pressure, we're really tight, we're really tense. We could be angry, we could be nervous, we could be upset about something. So, if someone says to you, "Don't get twisted," it's like "chill out," like "don't be upset," "don't be angry," "relax" in other words. So, I would guess that this is what this word means or what this expression means rather, but as you said, this is not such a common expression. We don't say, "don't get twisted," really in American English. You might hear people say something like just "chill out," as I've said, or maybe like "don't worry," or there are a couple of other slightly more rude expressions that we use too. 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 Malek. Hi, Malek. Malek says, "Is this sentence correct? 'The color of shirts of players.' Could you explain more about two possessive nouns in a row? Thanks in advance." Yeah, great question. This is kind of tricky. So, in this situation, we would say, "the color of the players' shirts." So, a key here is that we're using players and we're using an apostrophe after the "S" in 'players'. That apostrophe is acting as a possessive apostrophe. So, we have two ways of creating the possessive in English. We can use "of" as in the color of as in, "The color of the players' shirts." And we can use the apostrophe "S" form, so for example, "Alisha's" would be "Alisha apostrophe S." The "apostrophe S" shows something is belonging to me. That's my thing, "Alisha's phone."
So, in this situation, we have players, "players," here we're talking about shirts that belong to players. So, it's not just one person. When a noun ends with an S, we make the plural possessive form by adding an apostrophe to the end of the word and we do not add another S. So, in the singular form, when I said "Alisha's phone" for example, "Alisha" is one person, so I write "Alisha apostrophe S." In this example, however, because we're talking about a group of people, "players," we don't use an apostrophe S because the word already ends in S and it sounds kind of strange just try to say like "players's" something like that. So, to avoid this, we simply write "players," with S, and add an apostrophe at the end, so this shows the plural form that means plural possessive apostrophe there. It's very natural to use that apostrophe form of the possessive when we're talking about something that belongs to a person. So, again in my example, when I said "Alisha's phone," it sounds quite natural to use that apostrophe S to show possession as a person. In the plural form to "players," "shirts," it's a shirt or shirts that belong to a player. So, when we're not using a person, when we're using like an object, it might be a little bit more common to see an "of" pattern use there. In this case, "its color of the shirts," so color is like a characteristic that belongs to the shirt or in these case shirts. So, here it sounds natural to use the "of" pattern because there's not a person here. We're talking about the characteristics of an object, "color of the shirts." So, "of" can be used to talk about like characteristics of things, and the apostrophe S form can be used to talk about like things that belong to people.
Let's look at one more example though that uses no people. So, for example, "The color of the seats in the cars," or "The color of the cars' seats," so we could use either of these patterns. I personally would probably use the color of the seats in the cars because we can clearly see like the levels of belonging. First, we have color, and the color belongs to the seats, and the seats are in the cars. So, I think that sounds much nicer. You might see that color of the cars' seats sentence, though as we talked about it's a little bit less natural maybe to use the possessive apostrophe there with car because it's not actually a person. I think you might use that though, I don't think it's incorrect to use that, but I personally would prefer to use something that kind of clearly shows the hierarchy, the level of belonging or the levels of belonging as in the first example, the color of the seats in the car. I hope that this helps you. Thank you very much for this interesting question.
Alright, so that is everything that I have for this week. Thank you as always for sending your great 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!