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  • I have a cold this week.

  • 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 Mo.

  • Hi, Mo.

  • Mo says: I would like to know how to use "I will" or "I would go with that" when I order

  • from a menu in restaurants.

  • Okay.

  • Um, well, I suppose it depends a little bit on the situation, but for kind of a general

  • way to use these two, when you make YOUR decision; the thing you

  • would like to order, the thing you plan to order, you can say,

  • "I'll go with...blah blah blah."

  • Or "I will go with (something)."

  • Remember to use the contracted form.

  • If you're making a recommendation to someone else, however, like

  • you've chosen your item; you know what you want to order,

  • but you're recommending someone else something, you're recommending like, a drink pairing

  • or a side dish or something, when you want to make a recommendation to

  • someone else, you can say, "I would go with the blah blah

  • blah."

  • Um, why?

  • Because when you're saying "I would go with," it's like saying,

  • "if I were you, I would choose this thing."

  • So it's like, if I were you, I would go with that thing.

  • But we don't say "if I were you."

  • So when you're making a recommendation, you can say, "I would go with."

  • When you're talking about your own choice, you can say "I'll go with."

  • Hope that helps.

  • Okay, let's go to the next question.

  • Next question comes from Isik Alexander again.

  • Hi, Isik.

  • Isik says: Hi Alisha, can I also use "I've not + p.p. for PPT?"

  • I think this is past participle; is your "p.p." and "present perfect tense" maybe is PPT?

  • Could be past perfect as well.

  • Let's talk about it assuming it's present perfect tense.

  • Um, yes, you can.

  • The answer is you can, but in American English it sounds too formal.

  • So I'll give you some examples.

  • I've not been to France.

  • He's not eaten his dinner.

  • They've not visited this week.

  • Actually, with all of these sentences, there's not a communication problem happening.

  • But, uh, they sound too formal for American English.

  • Maybe if you ask a British English speaker, they'll have a different opinion on the way

  • that these, uh, expressions are used.

  • But from an American English speaker, it sounds a little too formal.

  • It sounds too stiff, it sounds a bit unnatural.

  • So, you can use them, but I don't necessarily recommend it.

  • I hope that helps you a little bit.

  • Okay, let's go to the next question.

  • All right, next question comes from Paulo.

  • Hi, Paulo.

  • Paulo says: Hi Alisha, what is the difference between "planning to do something" and "planning

  • on doing something"?

  • For example, "are you planning on helping John?"

  • Thanks.

  • Oh, okay.

  • Um, really, there's no difference here.

  • It's just the speaker's preference.

  • Let's look at a couple more examples.

  • Are you planning on going out tonight?

  • Are you planning to go out tonight?

  • We're planning on having a surprise party.

  • We're planning to have a surprise party.

  • So, you can really use these in the same way.

  • They're interchangeable.

  • Don't worry about it!

  • Thanks for the question.

  • Let's go to the next question.

  • Next question comes from Hello Alisha.

  • Oh, mysterious.

  • Hello Alisha says, uh: Can you tell me the difference between "make sure" and "ensure"

  • and "assure"?

  • Also, "certain" and "ascertain"?

  • Uh, okay.

  • Let's start with "make sure" and "ensure" and "assure."

  • Make sure and ensure...they both mean "to make certain of something."

  • Um, "make sure" sounds more casual than "ensure."

  • Also, "ensure" is used like in more formal situations, yes.

  • So, because it's used in those cases, like with contracts, or maybe with formal business

  • letters, it has the idea of a guarantee.

  • So there's like some higher level of certainty, almost.

  • Like, you're guaranteeing something.

  • Uh, "make sure" isn't so strong.

  • It's more like "check" is kind of the feeling with "make sure."

  • "Assure," then, the last one in this first group,

  • sometimes it can also mean "to make sure of something," but it has like, the feeling of,

  • um, like giving confidence to the listener.

  • Giving confidence to the reader.

  • Like, that something is possible or there's some positive information.

  • Some, like, um...You want that person to feel at ease about the situation.

  • Like, you're making them feel confident about what's going to happen in the future.

  • Or it's like you want to remove any questions or any doubts that someone has about the situation.

  • We call that "assuring" someone.

  • So, let's look at some examples here.

  • I'll be finished with the report tomorrow, I assure you!

  • He assured us the car was safe.

  • They assured us our bags would be brought to the hotel room.

  • So, in these cases, you can see that assure is like you're making someone else feel at

  • ease.

  • Feel relaxed, feel secure about whatever's going to happen.

  • So I hope that helps.

  • So, let's move along to the second part of your question; the difference between "certain"

  • and "ascertain."

  • You can hear the pronunciation is quite different.

  • "Certain" is used as an adjective, which means, like, it's something that's definite.

  • It's fixed, it's decided, it's settled.

  • So, depending on the situation, um, it can mean one of those kind of similar words.

  • Like, I'm certain he's coming to the event tomorrow.

  • Or, did you make certain that the bank account was full of money?

  • Or, I want to make certain that everyone understands the program?

  • To "ascertain," however, to ascertainthat's a verb.

  • Ascertain is a verb which means, like, you are making something certain.

  • Like, you are gaining information in order to feel certain about something.

  • We ascertained that the problems were the result of poor communication.

  • That's data that can easily be ascertained from a quick web search, for example.

  • It means like, it's easy for us to find that information, or to make certain of that information

  • on the Internet.

  • So, parts of speech are different.

  • Certain is an adjective.

  • Ascertain is a verb.

  • And "ascertain" means "to do something in order to be sure of something."

  • Like, to be fixed, to be settled on something.

  • So, I hope that helps you understand the difference between those words a little bit better.

  • Thanks for the question!

  • All right, let's go on to the next question.

  • Next question comes from Mazyar.

  • Mazyar.

  • Hi, Mazyar.

  • Mazyar says: what is the difference in meaning between these two sentences?

  • "What did they do to you?" and "What have they done to you?"

  • Uhhhhhhhh, okay.

  • It depends on the situation, in some cases.

  • Let's look at the first example sentence.

  • Uh, "what did they do to you?"

  • Here, we're using simple past tense.

  • Remember, we use simple past tense for actions that started and finished in the past.

  • So, that means that when this person asks the question, it's like they're asking about

  • something that's done.

  • It's over.

  • It's not going to continue.

  • Also, the effects of whatever happened in the past are, like, we can't see.

  • They're not visible, like, there's no effect that we can see now, here, in the present.

  • So, a situation you can imagine is like someone went to a doctor and they had a lot of, like,

  • really crazy tests done.

  • Um, but there were no effects from the test, or maybe they had a lot of treatments, but

  • there were no effects from the treatment, and the speaker wants to ask, like, "what

  • did they do to you?"

  • Like, I'm so curious; what happened?

  • In the past.

  • It's over.

  • There seems to be no effect in the present, uh, but I want to know about what happened

  • in the past.

  • In the second example sentence, however, "what have they done to you,"

  • there we're using the present perfect tense.

  • What have they done to you?

  • Which means that there's something that happened in the past and maybe is continuing to the

  • present, or the effects of that action from the past are continuing to the present.

  • So again, imagine if you go to like a crazy doctor or like a crazy hospital, or something,

  • and there's all these mistakes.

  • And your body gets injured.

  • Like, your face gets, I don't know, messed up.

  • There's something terrible that happened to your body.

  • People can see it.

  • People might ask: what have they done to you?

  • At that hospital?

  • Like, in other words, we see something happened in the past, and we see the effects of that

  • continue to now.

  • So that's why people might use the present perfect tense here.

  • Because the effects of something that happened in the past are still visible; are still continuing

  • to the present.

  • Keep in mind: in that situation, also, you might hear speakers say,

  • "what did they do to you?"

  • It would NOT necessarily be incorrect.

  • They are asking about something that happened in the past, like a specific action that happened

  • in the past.

  • So using simple past tense to ask that question is not necessarily in correct.

  • "What did they do to you" is okay to ask.

  • However, if back in situation one, where there are no effects from some kind of crazy medical

  • treatment, in that case, if you ask, "what have they done to you," it doesn't make

  • sense.

  • It seems unnatural because there are no effects, there seems to be no problem.

  • So just keep this in mind.

  • So, I hope that helps you.

  • Thanks for an interesting question.

  • Like that one.

  • Okay, let's go on to the next question.

  • The next question comes frombora Carvalho.

  • Hi, Débora.

  • bora says: Hi Alisha, could you help me?

  • Which one is correct: "different than," or "different from"?

  • Thanks.

  • Aha, yeah, you hear both of these in American English, actually.

  • We use both.

  • I think American English speakers use "different from" more often.

  • Um, you might also hear "different to" as well, though I understand that is used more

  • in British English.

  • Um, I think "different than" might also be used more in British English.

  • In general, everyday speech, we use "different from" most commonly in American English.

  • Thanks for the question!

  • Let's go to the next question.

  • Next question comes from Milin Patel.

  • Hi, Milin.

  • Uh, Milin says: What does "nailed it" mean?

  • Aha, yeah, nailed it.

  • Yeah, see episode 26 of this series for some information on "nailed it" and a comparison

  • to "damn it," a similar word.

  • To review: "Nailed it" is a casual expression that means you did something perfectly.

  • Thanks for the question!

  • All right, let's go on to the next question.

  • Next question, um, next question comes from Khushi.

  • Hi, Khushi.

  • Khushi says: Hi Alisha, in one of your videos you said that you've learned Japanese.

  • I'm learning Japanese too.

  • Any tips to learn a new language fast?

  • Um, well, "fast" is sort of a matter of opinion.

  • Um, I don't think learning a language is going to happen in one day, or even a month, perhaps.

  • But, in general, to improve the speed at which you learn, here are a few things that helped

  • me and that might help you.

  • Practice every day.

  • Try living in the country where they speak the target language.

  • Watch media in the language you're learning.

  • Actively, not passively.

  • Read things in the language you're studying.

  • Write and speak in the language as much as possible.

  • So, those are just a few ideas for things that you can do.

  • Yeah, it's an every day thing.

  • And "fast" means different things for different people.

  • So, I think it's up to you and to your studies and to how much attention and time you devote

  • to reviewing materials and really working hard to understand the things available to

  • you.

  • Also, challenge yourself, too.

  • Like, once you learn something, you have to push on to the next level.

  • Like, you can't always just do the thing that's easy for you.

  • You have to be willing to challenge yourself and try new things.

  • So, once you learn, like, um, how to...I don't know, order food from a restaurant,

  • you need to think about the next thing that you need to be able to do in that language.

  • So, keep trying to push yourself too.

  • That can help you avoid that intermediate plateau.

  • Okay, so I hope that those tips helped you.

  • Um, just a few ideas quickly, off the top of my head.

  • Anyway, those are all the questions that I have for this week; thank you, as always,

  • for sending your questions.

  • Remember, you can send your questions to me at englishclass101.com/ask-alisha.

  • Make sure to send them here, not on YouTube or Facebook, because I can't collect them

  • all.