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 Stepan.
Hi, Stephan!
Stephan says...
“Hi Alisha! What is the meaning of the phrase to get used to doing something? Does it refer to a completed action or not? And can we use it in present simple, like I get used to getting up early?"
Ah, yeah, okay. "To get used to doing something” means to become accustomed to doing something. We tend to use it more in simple past tense as in your example, “I got used to getting up early” or “I got used to waking up early.” When we use it in the past tense, the past tense “got” instead of present tense “get,” it means that the speaker has already become accustomed to doing that thing. So in the sentence, “I got used to waking up early,” it means the speaker is now accustomed to getting up early, they’re fine.
We can; however, as you suggest, use it in the present tense as well like, “I need to get used to getting up early.” That’s an expression for like a desire to be able to get up early, which means that the speaker is not now able to get up early or they’re not accustomed to getting up early. So yes, you can use it in present tense, but it’s probably going to be used in a situation where the speaker is expressing a desire or some kind of need for a new behavior, for some kind of new behavior to be learned.
If it’s in a conversation, a speaker might say like, "Ugh, don’t worry about your new job. You’ll get used to getting up early." So, it’s “you’ll get used to…” In that case, it’s a future tense expression like…
“You are going to get used to getting up early through this job.”
Or another way of saying that is…
“You will become accustomed to getting up early through this job.”
So, “to get used to something” means to take time and practice to get accustomed to something, to become accustomed to something. We use it all the time when we’re learning new things like...
“You’ll get used to learning English.”
“You’ll get used to speaking English.”
“You’ll get used to talking in front of a camera.”
All of these different things that take some time and practice to do, we can describe those with get used to or once we become accustomed to them, got used to.
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 Aswin.
Hi, Aswin!
Aswin says...
“What's the difference between do you, did you, and are you when I ask questions?”
Okay, first, let’s talk about about do you and also does he or does she. So, this do-and-does pattern.
We use these do-and-does patterns when we’re making simple-present-tense questions like…
“Do you have a pen?”
“Does he exercise every day?”
“Do you know where my bag is?”
So, we’re asking these simple yes-or-no questions with a simple-present-tense verb. So, we could answer yes or no to all of these questions.
So, let’s compare this then to did, did. So did is just a past tense of do. We use did in the same way as do, but when we’re asking simple past tense questions. For example…
“Did you just call me?”
“Did he forget his wallet?”
“Did we buy enough food?”
So, these are all simple past tense questions. We don’t conjugate the verb that comes after do. Rather, we conjugate did. So, did is the past form of do.
Finally, let’s compare this with are you or, for example, “Is he.../Is she…?”
When we begin sentences with is or are, we’re typically using them with an adjective or with a progressive-tense verb. So, we’re asking simple questions, again, yes-or-no questions, but the thing that follows is or are is an adjective or is a verb in the I-N-G form, as in…
“Is he sleeping?”
“Are you okay?”
“Is he at the office?"
So, these yes-or-no questions don’t use simple-present-tense verbs in the part that comes after the is or are.
So, to recap, do and does are used in present tense or past tense with simple-present-tense verbs and are you or is he/is she are used with adjectives and with verbs in the progressive form. So, these all are ways of making yes-or-no questions, but the grammar and the structure of the sentence just changes a little bit.
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 Anderson Souza again.
Hi, Anderson!
Anderson says…
“Hi, Alisha! I’m a bit confused with the difference between the present perfect and the present perfect continuous. If I want to say that I live in some place and have lived there for some time, which one should I use?"
Okay, you can use either. For example...
“I have lived in Portland for 3 years.”
“I’ve been living in Portland for 3 years.”
So at base, these two sentences have exactly the same meaning. They mean exactly the same thing. The only thing that changes here is perhaps the situations in which we might use these. Let’s take a look at the first example here to begin with. Let’s imagine that you’re at a going-away party, a farewell party for yourself. It’s your party, you are leaving the city of Portland. You might say to your friend at the party…
“I have lived in Portland for 3 years. It's been great to live here, but I'm excited about my next step.”
So in that case, present perfect tense, not using the continuous, sounds quite normal because you want to talk about this period of time you’ve spent in Portland. It started 3 years ago, it continued till now at this party, in Portland right now, so you want to emphasize like yes, this has been a continued experience up until this point in time, but it would sound strange to say…
“I lived in Portland for 3 years”
Because, actually at the party, you’re still in Portland. Maybe, you have a few days or another week or so. So, it would sound strange to use simple past tense here. We don’t want to use the continuous tense here because the continuous tense really emphasizes that something is going to continue after the conversation perhaps. So in this case, just using present perfect tense, without the continuous form, sounds the most natural.
Let’s compare this then to another situation. In this situation, you are in Portland and you’re at a networking event for your job. You met someone there and you’re talking about like basic things, where you live and so on. You might say…
“I've been living in Portland for 3 years. It’s a great place to live.”
So in this case, we’re using the present perfect continuous. We choose this, it sounds most natural because we want to emphasize that we are going to remain in Portland. I’m going to continue the condition of living in Portland. So, this sounds a little bit more natural and it sounds like it’s more emphasis on my continued presence in Portland which we want to emphasize here because we might be making a new business connection.
So in sum, these two sentences communicate exactly the same thing, yes, but there are just some small differences that depend on the situation and that’s the reason that we might choose to use simple present perfect tense as opposed to the present perfect continuous. So try to keep these sorts of situations in mind when you’re choosing between these two.
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 Nyi Nyi Aung. I hope I said that right.
Hi, Nyi Nyi!
Nyi Nyi says…
“What does can't help plus the progressive form mean?”
Okay, yeah, this is like saying "I can't control this behavior.” So, a great example is, if you’re watching a funny movie and when you try to explain your feelings about the movie, you might say…
“I can’t help laughing at this scene.”
Can’t help laughing means I can’t control the behavior of laughing.
You might also hear, “I can’t help but…” and then the simple present tense form of the verb as in…
“I can’t help but laugh.”
So, “I can’t help but laugh,” and “I can’t help laughing,” both communicate this loss of control. I’m not able to control this thing. We tend to use this sort of pattern when we’re talking about emotion. So in this case, it’s about laughter.
You might also hear it used to talk about feelings like…
“I can’t help feeling angry.”
“I can’t help feeling worried about this situation.”
“I can’t help feeling…” means I don’t have any control over this emotion or this action. We tend to use this pattern for like emotional and mental-state verbs. We might use it for some other kind of like bodily-related verbs like, “I can’t help watching” or “I can’t help looking” and so on. So it’s like these sorts of actions that maybe we don’t even think about doing and that we just do automatically if we see something interesting or exciting or if something smells terrible, whatever that is. It’s like some situation where we lose control somehow, for a moment. We can express that with can’t help plus the progressive form or I can’t help but blah, blah, blah.
So, some examples, can’t help but laugh or can’t help laughing, I can’t help but feel and can’t help feeling, or I can’t help but look or can’t help looking. So, there’s not really a difference in meaning between the present tense and the progressive tense there, but I would say, personally, I feel that that can’t help but [present tense] sounds a little bit more formal.
So, I hope that this helps you understand the meaning of this can’t help plus the progressive form of a verb. Thanks very much for the question.
Okay, let’s move on to your next question.
Next questions comes from Kiri.
Hi, Kiri!
Kiri says…
“Hi, what is the difference between have to and must?”
All right, must is used for official rules and strong advice, very strong personal advice. So, for official rules you might see in the airport…
“Passengers must show their passports to immigration.”
Or for strong advice, a doctor might say to a patient…
“You must stop smoking or you’re going to die.”
So, in these very serious official situations, “must” sounds very appropriate. “Must” sounds too official for everyday speech. We don’t use it so much for giving advice or for talking about rules and everyday speech. However, you might see it in something like your company’s rules like your corporate policy, like, “Employees must wear business shirts to work” for example.
Let’s compare this then to “have to.” We use “have to” to talk about our responsibilities and we also use have to to talk about friendly advice or rather, to give friendly advice that also sounds a bit strong. For example…
“You have to try this dessert. It’s so good!”
“I have to go to the bank today.”
So, “have to” for advice sounds friendly and strong, but it’s not used for very serious things like we did with must. So, please keep this in mind when you’re choosing between these two.
Also, if you would like some more information about “have to” and “must,” there is a live stream about this exact topic on the channel so please check out our channel archives for some more information about this. There is also a whiteboard about this topic coming up soon, so please keep an eye out for that too.
I hope that this quick introduction helps you and definitely check out the other resources on our channel. 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 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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