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 Le Doan.
Hi, Le Doan!
Le Doan says...
“Hi! I'm studying in Finland in English. However, I don't really have a lot of chances to speak in English, so my speaking skill is still my weak point. I see there are a lot of ways to practice English on the internet for self study, but they’re too much for me to afford for just a private teacher online. What should I do to improve my advanced-level speaking skills as I’m studying business? Thanks!”
Hmm, tough question. I would suggest, maybe, if you’re at an advanced level that you don’t focus so much on studying like English, like maybe don’t focus so much on trying to find specifically an English lesson, but try to spend more time focusing on those skills. So, by that I mean, look for groups that practice speaking. So, there’s a really famous international speaking practice group called Toastmasters. You might check that out. They have community groups that you can join. So, the purpose of these groups and other similar groups is to improve your speaking skills and like to improve your presentation skills and leadership skills. So, when you go to one of these groups, the other people in the group will give you feedback like how can you improve. So, if you can share your goal with the other people in that group, they can help you, give you advice on like pronunciation, maybe the vocabulary words you should be using, something you can do to make your presentation better and so on. So, something like that, if you’re at an advanced level, might be a little bit better than trying to find just English classes. So, you can actually start to use the words and pick up new words that are specific for your goal. So, I would suggest, perhaps, if it’s difficult to find like some kind of teacher specifically for what you’re looking for, see if you can find a group that’s focused on business or like on presentation-related skills. So, I hope that this is helpful for you. Thanks for the question and good luck building your speaking skills.
Okay, let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Harshni.
Hi, Harshni!
Harshni says…
“If somebody asks me a question in English, I can speak English without thinking. But while doing this, I make lots of mistakes with grammar. I say he instead of she or she instead of he while speaking. How do I overcome this problem?”
Okay, I think you’ve already done difficult part which is realizing you made a mistake, so you can catch yourself. You noticed the mistake. I would suggest though like to practice making the correct choice when you’re speaking is as soon as you realized you make a mistake, you say out loud the correct sentence. So, this can be in the conversation, you can correct yourself in the conversation which is actually quite normal. Native speakers do this all the time. Or, if you realized after the conversation, just say it quietly to yourself out loud. So, I would suggest actually saying it out loud like getting your mouth and your body used to making the sounds and like the correct way to say the thing you said incorrect before. So if for example, you’re like…
“I saw Risa today. Ah, he or sorry... I mean she was walking into the office.”
So that’s a very common way that Native speakers correct themselves. They go, “Oh, sorry no, she…” Something like that during the conversation is perfectly normal for native speakers and for learners. So, if you realized your mistake in the conversation, you can do it during the conversation, fix it. If you realized after the conversation, you can think to yourself, “Ah, I should have said she in that situation, oops.” “She was walking into the office.” So, that’s fine to do it too. So, I think the hardest thing is to be able to catch your mistakes. So, maybe you already have that part okay, but just keep paying attention to yourself and think back on your conversation so remember your conversations and what you said and maybe how you could have said differently. So, I hope that this tip helps you to overcome these little grammatical issues in your speech. Thanks very much for this question and good luck with your continued studies!
Okay, let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Angel McNamara.
Hi, Angel!
Angel says...
“Hi Alisha and the team! Could you please explain the meaning and the uses of the word haul? Thanks!”
Okay, sure! So, there's the basic meaning which is in the dictionary. So, the verb, to haul” means to carry something or like to pull something or like to bring something, but we use it for like really heavy things or stuff that’s hard to pull or hard to take or we use it for things like when we have a lot of something. So if you imagine, like moving from a house to another house and you have a lot of stuff, you can say…
“I hauled all my stuff to my new house.”
So we use it for large quantities fo things or like really heaving things, things that are difficult to pull or drag. So another example is like…
“I hauled all paperwork to the city office this morning.”
“The car broke down, so we hauled it home with a tow truck.”
So, this one use of haul. You’ll also hear haul used for people. When we have to do something by force like we have to be like strong with somebody and we have to force them to do something, you might hear haul used in this case.
It’s used oftentimes when someone is in trouble as like with parents and kids or like with police and criminals, that kind of thing. So, for example…
“The suspect was hauled in to the police station.”
Or
“My parents hauled me out of bed every morning when I was a kid.”
So again, we have that image of like bringing or carrying something that’s difficult to move or it’s really heavy so we use haul to do that.
Okay, so let’s move on to a noun use of the word haul. When we use haul as a noun, it’s often used to talk about someone shopping from that day. Like they went out to a mall or something and they bought a lot of stuff and they wanna share it often like they’ll take a photo and post it to like Instagram or Twitter or something, Facebook and they write…
“Check out my haul.”
Or
“Look at today’s haul.”
Or
“This is today’s haul.”
So, “my haul” is the stuff that I bought that day, all this stuff. So, it’s usually something someone is excited about like…
“Check out this haul from the makeup store.”
Or
“I wanna share my haul from the video game store.”\
Whatever that might be, like they’ve got a collection of things or a few exciting things they want to share, they say check out my haul or today’s haul.
Again, this can have a negative meaning when it’s used to talk about like criminal activity, like when it’s talking about like drugs for example like…
“The police recovered a haul of drugs.”
Or like…
“The FBI found a haul of stolen data.”
So, haul can be used to mean a lot of something, in this case, negatively. But in every day like social media terms, we see it used to talk about people’s shopping for the day, something that they are excited about.
So, the last use of haul is an expression like…
“It’s a long haul home"
Or
“We have a long haul today.”
So we use this as we’re like starting a journey. So, maybe we have a long way to travel home or we have to take a long time to get to a destination. We can describe that as a haul. So again, another common theme here with this verb or with this noun is that something is difficult like it’s hard to carry or it feels heavy. So, it’s like when we say I have a long haul home, it’s like I have a long journey home, a long way to get home, it’s going to be difficult.
So, these are quite a few ways that we use haul as both a noun and as a verb, so I hope that this helps your understanding of this word.
Thanks very much for the question!
Okay, let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Akane.
Hi, Akane!
Akane says...
“Hi Alisha! If I have a plan in the future, should I use will or be going to?"
Okay, if you already have the plan, use going to. It’s more natural to use will if you make your decision in the conversation like right now. Here in the conversation, you decide. So, if for example your plan is to have dinner with your friends this weekend and you know this as you begin the conversation, you can say...
"I'm going to have dinner with my friends this weekend."
If you say, "I will have dinner with my friends this weekend," it sounds really unnatural, again, because will is used more for things we decide in the moment. You’ve come into the conversation with this plan, I’m going to have dinner with my friends this weekend, so please use going to in that case.
So, a situation where it would sound more natural to use will is like if you arrived at the restaurant, sit down, open the menu and the wait staff says something like, “What can I get you?” And you reply, “I’ll have the salad please.” So in that case, I’ll/I will, sounds very natural. If you say I’m going to have the say, “I’m going to have the salad,” it sounds kind of like you had planned when you walked into the restaurant. So, that’s probably a situation where will is going to sound more natural. So keep this in mind like did I just make the decision? Did I have the decision in my mind before the conversation? So, if you’re just now deciding, maybe will is better.
So I hope that this helps you understand the differences between will and going to. For some more points and some example sentences, please have a look at the video on our channel about will and going to. Thanks very much for this question.
Okay, let’s move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Rajesh kannan.
Hi, Rajesh!
Rajesh says...
“How do we use because of, since and since then in sentences? These are frequently used by native speakers.”
Okay, let’s look at because and because of first.
So, we use because or because of at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle of a sentence to express a reason for something. So when we use because or because of, we follow it with a simple noun or we can follow it with like a whole phrase, that’s fine too. So your reason can be just like one word like…
“Because of rain, today’s event has been canceled.”
Or
“Because of you we were late for the meeting!”
So, those are very simple expressions after because of so because of rain or because of you.
Let’s compare this though with since, since.
So we use since, also, to describe a reason for something and like because, since can be used at the beginning of a sentence or it can be used in the middle of a sentence. However, unlike because or because of, we can’t follow since with just a simple noun. We can’t say like “since you…” or “since rain…” We have to use a full phrase. So for example…
“Since it rained, today's event has been canceled.”
Or
“Since you were late getting here, now we’re late for the meeting.”
So, we need to have like a whole phrase with since. We can’t just use because plus noun, like we can’t follow that same pattern with since. Also, I would say that for the differences in formality here, since is going to sound a little bit more formal than because. So in everyday speech, we use because a lot more often than we use since. Positioning is really up to you. If the reason is very important to you, you can place the reason at the beginning of the sentence and start your sentence with because or since. If the result is a little more important, you can put the result at the beginning of the sentence and then finish it with your reason. So for example…
“Today’s event has been canceled because of rain.”
Or
“Today event has been canceled since it rained.”
Lastly, let’s talk about since then, since then. So, since then means from that time period up to now. So, let’s look at an example sentence. For example…
“I graduated from college in 2015. Since then, I've worked at ABC company.”
So, since then refers to the time period or rather the point in time mentioned in the previous sentence. So here, “I graduated from college in 2015. Since then…” So since then means since 2015, from the point in 2015 until conversation, I’ve worked at ABC company. So since then describes that period of time from that point in the previous sentence to now.
One more example of this…
“I finished work at 6:00 today. Since then, I've been sitting on the couch watching Netflix.”
So here, the time referred to by since then is 6PM. “I finished worked at 6PM today.” Since then, since that time, from that point in time until this conversation, I’ve been sitting on the couch watching Netflix. So, we do not use since then to introduce a reason as we do with because or because of or since. Rather, since then is referring to a point in the past relative to now. So, please keep this in mind when you are choosing between these words. I hope that this explanation was helpful for you. Thanks very much for the question.
Okay, that is everything that I have for this week. Thank you, as always, for sending your questions. Remember, you can send them to me in 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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