Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
In this lesson, I’m going to talk about a few sentence-starting expressions.
Let’s begin! Okay.
For this lesson, I’ve chosen eight different expressions that we commonly use at the beginning of a sentence. We use these when we want to share our opinion or we want to share bad news or we want to get confirmation about something, we want to check something.
So, let’s get started with these first two expressions.
This first pair, both of these are used when we want to be honest about something. We want to share our true feelings.
The first one is, “To be honest…”
So that means right now, I’m going to be honest. I’m going to share my honest feelings, my honest opinion. So, “To be honest…” is how we begin this expression, “To be honest....”
For example:
“To be honest, I didn’t like the movie very much.”
So, this is an expression you might use after you see a movie with someone and you didn’t enjoy it and you want to express that honestly to the person you’re with. We would probably say it like, “To be honest, I didn’t like the movie that much” or “I didn’t like the movie very much.”. So, you want to be honest with someone. You don’t want to lie and say, “I like the movie.” You want to be honest, so we use this expression at the beginning of phrases like this, often with kind of an opinion that’s not like a positive opinion. So, maybe, you have to disagree with someone or you have to share a negative idea. We might begin that with, “To be honest....”
The second expression here is quite similar to this, “To tell the truth….”
So, “To tell the truth…” means to share your true feelings or to share true information. We use the verb tell here, so we don’t use “say”, we don’t use “speak”. We use this as a set expression, “tell the truth”. So again, this means you’re sharing your true opinion, your honest ideas or like some kind of true information.
We would use this more as well if we’re sharing like facts. With “honest”, it’s kind of more like we’re sharing our opinion. If you want to share a fact or like data, some kind of information like that, you might use “To tell the truth…” instead. So again, you’re telling true information here.
For example:
“To tell the truth, I can’t afford to go on a vacation.”
So, again, this is something that maybe is like an uncomfortable topic. We don’t want to talk about it a lot. So in this case, to tell the truth, “I can’t afford to go on vacation” means I don’t have enough money to go on a vacation. So this is maybe an uncomfortable topic for the speaker.
“To tell the truth, I can’t afford to go on a vacation.”
Yes, in this case, we could use “To be honest, I can’t afford to go on a vacation.” So, in both cases, they’re kind of personal situations. There might be some cases where “To tell the truth…” is used more to share like data or information or something like that. Like, “To tell the truth, our sales dropped last month.” So that might be a case where it might sound a little more natural to use “To tell the truth…” instead of just to be honest which is a little more common for our personal feelings or our personal opinions. Okay.
So, let’s continue on to the next couple of expressions.
These are somewhat similar, this next group, these three expressions here.
The first one, please be careful about this one.
The expression is, “No offense, but…”
So, the pronunciation here is not /off-ense/ like in sports, offense and defense. This is no offense, no offense. So “offense” here refers to making another person feel bad. So, “to offend”, as a verb, “to offend (someone)” means to cause someone to become upset, so you make them angry or sad or disappointed or something, maybe embarrassed. So, “no offense” means I don’t mean, my plan is not to cause you to feel bad, but… So, this is an expression that’s often, unfortunately, that’s often used before something that could make someone unhappy.
So, let’s look at an example here.
“No offense, but I don’t feel like going to a party tonight.”
So this is a very mild way to use this. So here, maybe, the speaker was invited by the listener to go to a party. So, another person might have said, “Hey, do you wanna go to a party tonight?” And I might say, “No offense, but I don’t feel like going to a party tonight, so that means I don’t want to make you feel bad, but I don’t feel like going. I don’t want to go tonight. So this means, it’s not you, it’s like me, it’s my feelings, so “No offense, but….” This is a very, like I said, a very mild and kind of nice example.
Some people use this expression before very rude things.
For example:
“No offense, but your short looks really weird.”
Or “No offense, but I don’t know about that hairstyle on you.”
So, sometimes, people will share like very direct, very rude things and they use “no offense” in front of it, but it’s actually not a nice comment. So, please try not to, of course, offend another person or just share rude opinions with this expression.
I recommend using it in a situation like this, a very mild situation, to show it’s not your plan or it’s not you at all. I just don’t feel like doing something or I didn’t enjoy something. So again, “No offense, but…” meaning, I don’t want to cause you to feel upset, but this is my feeling.
Okay. So, let’s take a look now at the next one.
The next expression is, “I hate to say it, but…”
So, “it” is some information we are going to say. So, “I hate to” means I don’t want to say it, I hate to say it, but… (something, something). So this (something, something) is going to be unpleasant information. The listener probably does not want to hear that information, “I hate to say it...”
You might also hear, “I’m afraid to say” or “I’m afraid to say this, but…” So, “hate to say it” is a little bit more casual, I feel, personally. It means I really, really don’t want to say this, but I have to.
For example:
“I hate to say it, but I left your coffee at the coffee shop.”
So this is like a situation where maybe you go to a coffee shop to get coffee for your coworker, you get your coffee and come back to the office and your coworker says, “Where’s my coffee?” You might say, “I hate to say it, but I left your coffee at the coffee shop.” So you realized in that moment, oh no, I left it there. So you can use “I hate to say it…” I hate to say it. So, again this is a very light, casual situation. You might hear this in more serious situations too like, “I hate to say it, but the company is starting layoffs from next month.” So “layoffs” means, like people will lose their jobs. So, that could be a more serious situation where the speaker doesn’t want to talk about it, but they have to, they must, there’s some responsibility. So, I hate to say it, but something unpleasant or something uncomfortable. This is a way to begin that.
One more expression that’s a little bit more old fashioned, but you might still hear from time to time is this one, “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but…”
So, you’ll notice these all end in “but”, so that shows I don’t want to say this, however… So what does this mean? “Sorry” meaning I’m sorry, this part, “to be the bearer of bad news”. So this word, here, “the bearer”, bearer, so “to bear” as a verb means to carry, to carry. Here, “bearer” as in maybe, you know, like the ring bearer at a wedding, that means the person who carries something.
So “to bear” is an old-fashioned word for carrying, like usually carrying something heavy. So, to bear your luggage on your shoulder, maybe. It sounds very old fashioned, but in this expression, it means the person who is carrying bad news. So, this means “I’m sorry that I am carrying bad news but…”. So, this is again used when you have to share some information that’s uncomfortable or you don’t want to talk about that information.
For example:
“Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but our project was just canceled.”
So this is maybe a work situation. You are the person or the speaker is the person who has the bad news. You have this message, this negative message, and you have to share this message with someone. You can say “sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but our project was just canceled” in this case. It means I don’t want to tell you this, I’m sorry that I have to be the person who tells you this, but here is the information.
So, you’ll notice all of these end in this “but”. So, it shows I don’t want to say this but, I have too, I have some responsibility to, or I don’t want to upset you, but I need to share this information. So, these three expressions, you can use to do that in slightly different situations.
Okay. Let’s take a look at the next pair. The next pair are used when you want to check something when you want to confirm something. So in situations where you’re worried, maybe, you are the only person who feels this way and you want to check something.
Let’s look at the first one, “Maybe it’s just me, but…”
So, this is a common theme here, “Maybe it’s just me”. So, this “it” refers to the situation. Maybe this situation or maybe this idea, maybe this concept, maybe this is just me. meaning maybe, I’m the only person thinking about this or maybe I’m the only person worried about this, but… So, you want to check. This is used to check with the other people in your group or the other people at your office, whatever, to ask if they’re experiencing the same thing as you.
For example:
“Maybe it’s just me, but this bar seems really sketchy.”
So, “sketchy” means, like a little bit maybe dangerous or a little bit strange, maybe not the best place to be. So, “Maybe it’s just me, but this bar seems really sketchy.” So, I might say this at a new place with a couple of friends and I feel, in other words, this bar is a little sketchy. That’s my feeling and I used this kind of as a way to ask the other people lightly, do you feel this way too like maybe it’s just me, I don’t know, do you feel this way as well? This is a way to do that. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems kind of sketchy. So, this is one way to kind of check with the other people in your group if they feel the same way or if they have the same idea as you.
Let’s compare this to the next expression, very similar, “Is it just me or…?”
And often, this one ends in a question, actually. So again, “Is it just me”, so that means is it just me in this situation thinking this idea? Is it just me in this situation with this feeling? So, am I the only thinking this, or (something, something, something)?
So, let’s take a look at an example:
“Is it just me, or does this room smell awful?”
“Is it just me, or does this room smell awful?” means am I the only person who is experiencing this right now? So, in this case, maybe the speaker and some other people are in a room together and the speaker thinks it smells really bad in here. So, “awful” means very, very bad. They think it smells really bad in here, uh. Am I the only person who notice this? You might say, “Is it just me, or does this room smell awful?” In response, someone might say, “Yeah, it’s just you. I don’t smell anything. It’s just you.” So that means only you, you are the only one. Or, they might agree. They might say, “Yeah, I noticed that too. Yeah! It smells awful.” So, you can use a yes or no answer to reply, to confirm, or to reject what the person said. So these two, we can use to check the other people around us.
All right, finally, let’s go to this last expression.
This last expression is not similar to these two, but we do use it to confirm something. We use this when we want to confirm facts, so general information.
The sentence or rather, the expression is, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but…”
So, “correct me”, this means fix me. So, if I make a mistake, please fix me is what this means. “If I’m wrong”, so if the information I’m going to say is not correct, please fix me, please correct me. So, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but...”
Let’s look at an example.
So, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Barack Obama the 44th president of the United States?”
So maybe, you’re having a discussion and someone says like, “Oh no, I think Donald Trump was the 44th president of the United States” and you might think, mm, that’s not right. I don’t think that’s correct. When you want to show like there’s a chance I’m not correct here, but I am pretty sure like 90% sure or 95% sure my information is correct. So, to show that, to show, like you can correct me, but I think this is true, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but…”
And here we use past tense, I’m using past tense “wasn’t” because this is a situation that is finished, it’s done, so Barack Obama is no longer president of the United States, but we use “wasn’t” here, “Wasn’t he the 44th president?” So, “Correct me if I’m wrong,” “Correct me if I’m wrong, but…” We can use that to show we have a high level of certainty, we really believe we are correct, but you want to show you’re being a little humble, like, mm, if I’m wrong, I might be wrong, I don’t think I am, but please feel free to correct me if I am. So, this quite useful in like negotiation situations or discussion situations where you’re pretty sure you’re correct, but you want to show you are open to discussion about something. So, this is good for facts and general information, like I said.
Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!


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Amancio da Costa Matos.
Thursday at 11:30 AM
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Hi Alisha.

Good Morning.

I want to ask how must or I can meet face to face? Ms. Alisha How I can get my Certificate?

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Gül Aksoy
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Hi! Ilearn in English and Ilove the so much Alicia. she is very sweet and she speaks very well. thanks to her, I learn English very well.

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Irfan haider meer
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