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Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. Welcome back to Know Your Verbs. In this episode, we're going to talk about the verb, "act." Let's get started. Acting.
It was hard to choose like a basic definition of this verb because, I think, depending on the person, there are a couple different meanings that you might think is the basic definition of "act." So, I've kind of picked one for this lesson. Okay. So, the basic definition for this lesson is to take action, to do something.
Examples: "Act now and save money." "We need to act quickly."
Okay. Now, let's look at the conjugations for this verb. Present, act, acts. Past, acted. Past participle, acted. Progressive, acting.
So, now, let's talk about some additional meanings for this verb. The first one is to perform as a character. Some examples: "He acted in a musical last summer." "I love to act." Okay. So, in the first example sentence, "he acted in a musical last summer," means he performed as a character in a musical last summer. So, to act means like to perform in some way in a production, so, a musical or a theater production. By the way, musicals are the performances with singing and dancing, usually. A play is the same thing but no singing and no dancing, really just talking. So, a play is just talking, musical is singing and dancing. So, "he acted in a musical last summer." The second example sentence was "I love to act." In other words, "I love to perform as a character." So, this, maybe, is a common hobby for many people, I think.
Okay. Let's go on to the second meaning for this verb, to behave. So, this is a very open meaning, to behave in some way. It means like your manners or like the way that you present yourself or the way that you show yourself. Examples: "She acts like she's angry but she's actually happy." "My dog is acting strange." Okay. So, in these examples, we're talking about a person's behavior. In the first example sentence, "she's acting like she's angry," it means she's behaving in a way that makes it seem like she's angry. So, something about her behavior. Maybe, her facial expression or her body language or something like that. We think she's angry. She seems angry but she's actually happy. In the second example sentence, "my dog is acting strange," there's something about my dog's behavior that is strange. So, maybe, my dog is behaving in a way that is not typical for my dog. So, maybe, my dog is running in circles but he doesn't usually do that. That's strange. I could say my dog is acting strange. So, "my dog is behaving in a strange way."
Okay. Let's go on to another additional meaning for this verb. The third additional meaning is to perform a function. Some examples: "My phone case acts as a credit cardholder." "She's acting as liaison with the new clients." Okay. So, on both of these sentences, we see one thing or one person is behaving or performing a specific function. In the first example sentence, it's a phone case. "My phone case acts as a credit cardholder." So, it has the function of a phone case, yes, but there's also this other function. I can use my phone case to put credit cards inside. So, it acts as a credit card holder too. In the second example sentence, "she's acting as a liaison with the new clients," it means she is performing the function of a liaison. A liaison is a person who's kind of a go-between for communication between two groups. So, she is the go-between. She's performing the function of the go-between. She's acting as a liaison for the clients.
The fourth additional meaning for this verb is to have an effect. Some examples: "The poison acted quickly." "The sad story acted on the audience's emotions." Okay. In the first example sentence, "the poison acted quickly," we see the poison had an effect quickly. That's what "acted" means here. We're seeing it in the past tense and it means to have an effect in this case. So, "the poison had an effect quickly." In the second example sentence, however, we're talking about an effect on people's emotions. Not like a medicinal effect like we saw in the first example sentence. The second example sentence was "the sad story acted on the audience's emotions." In other words, the sad story had an effect on the audience's emotions. So, that means probably that the audience felt sad or the audience felt maybe disappointed or something. The audience's emotions were affected by the story, by the sad story. So, we say "the sad story acted on the audience's emotion." So, this means to have an effect.
Okay. Let's move on to some variations in how we use this verb. The first variation is "act up," to act up. This means to exhibit negative behavior, to have bad behavior. Some examples: "Ugh, my asthma is acting up." "The kids acted up at the dinner party last night." Okay. So, in the first example sentence, I mentioned asthma. Actually, asthma is a sickness. It's a disease, asthma. Asthma is very common. It's a lung problem or kind of a breathing-related problem where it becomes difficult to breathe, depending on different situations for different people. So, if I say, "my asthma is acting up," it means my asthma is behaving in a negative way, my asthma is there's some problem with it. My condition is not good because of my asthma. My asthma, my illness, in other words, is kind of strong right now. It's acting up. So, I'm having problems because of my asthma right now. In the second example of sentence, however, it's a person. In this case, kids. So, "kids acting up at a dinner party" means kids were displaying bad behavior, negative behavior, at a dinner party. So, "acting up" means something negative is happening, some kind of negative behavior is occurring.
Okay. So, the next variation is "to act out." "To act out" also does mean to behave in kind of a negative way. But, the difference between "act out" and "act up" is "act out" has the feeling of doing this bad behavior in order to get attention. So, you act out because you want to be noticed. Some examples of this: "Your son has been acting out in school." "She's only acting out because she wants attention." So, acting out is like you're making some kind of extreme behavior or, maybe, it's a kind of scandalous; or, maybe, it's really rude; or, maybe, like too sexy. There can be lots of different ways to act out, but the idea is that the action happens because this person wants to get some attention; whether negative or positive, it doesn't matter, just wants attention.
But, we should be careful because this is different from "to act something out." "To act something out" is different from "to act out." "To act something out" means to represent an activity with your body. So, that means to showcase a scene or to explain a scene in a movie or to kind of show somebody a gesture with your body. So, examples: "We acted out our favorite movie scene." "She acted out the story." So, acting something out means using your body, like physically using parts of your body to act out to show something. So, for example, like a simple action, if I want to act out making a phone call, I would do this, like making the gestures of making a phone call. We could say this is acting out a phone call. Hello. That's acting something out. I'm using my body and I'm using gestures to explain something, to explain a behavior. So, this is different. "To act something out" and "to act out" have very different meanings. So, be cautious. "To act something out" takes a direct object, "to act out" does not. So, please, be careful of this. There are some grammatical hints for you there.
Alright. That's everything. So, I hope that you got some new ways of using the verb, "act." Of course, there are other ways to use this verb. Check out a dictionary if you want to see some other information. Of course, if you have something you want to share or if there's an example sentence you would like to try to make, please feel free to do so in the comments section.
Thanks very much for watching this episode of Know Your Verbs and we'll see you again soon. Bye-bye!