Hi everybody, welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me
questions and I...maybe...answer them.
Maybe. We'll see.
First question comes from Eugene Datskiy.
Eugene says: Hi Alisha, what's the difference between "almost" and "barely"?
In my native language, they have similar meanings.
Nice question, okay.
Almost is an adverb (so is barely), but almost is an adverb which means "not quite" or "not
It's like "nearly."
So, so something that was not done.
Something that was not quite completed.
Let's look at some examples.
I almost missed the bus!
He almost fell into the pool!
Almost everyone failed the test.
Each sentence here shows us something that very nearly happened.
It was very, very close to happening, however, it did not happen.
Let's look now at "barely."
So, barely is also an adverb, but think of barely as "almost not."
Or like, "scarcely," or "hardly" something.
It can also mean, like "only just," or "nothing to spare."
Just enough of something.
So, let's look at some examples.
I barely made it to the bus stop on time.
She barely fit in the car.
Barely anyone came to the conference.
So, barely means like "almost no," or "scarcely," or "only just" able to do something.
Almost is for something that didn't happen, then.
It's very nearly something, or it came close to something, but not quite.
So, I hope that helps you.
Thank you for an interesting question!
Next question comes from...
Natalia says: Hello Alisha, how are you?
(Good) Uh, I wanna ask you about the word "spoilt."
Can you explain the different meanings it has in a couple sentences?
For example, I spoil my dog.
I wouldn't want to spoil your fun.
Also, you raise an interesting question.
Your question uses s-p-o-i-l-t, spoilt.
Uh, that's one spelling.
I believe perhaps in British English and Australian English.
In American English, we use "spoiled" with an "ed" ending instead of a "t" ending.
But anyway, this word has a couple different meanings.
So, first, when we talk about spoiling a person – to spoil a person, to spoil a pet – it
means to give them everything.
Like, if they want something, like candy, or sweets, or attention, or whatever it is
that they want to do, or they want something to consume, we give it to them.
We're spoiling them.
Some examples: I spoiled my son with candy and presents.
He spoils his pets with expensive food.
Um, but the second one here that you mentioned, uh, "to spoil an experience" means to make
the experience bad.
To cause the experience to become negative.
So, this is usually like a fun experience or a happy experience, and there's some new
information or some change in the situation which ruins – spoils – makes the experience
Examples of this: I hate to spoil your good mood, but you got
a parking ticket.
Sorry to spoil your party, but the police are here.
So, these meanings relate to the base meaning of "spoil," which is "to cause or to allow
something to become unpleasant or bad."
So, to spoil a person means to allow that person to become bad, because you're giving
them everything they want.
Just giving it to them.
That's the idea with "spoil."
That's a key point with "spoil."
In the second meaning, it's that something outside – there's been some outside influence
on a situation that causes it to become bad or unpleasant.
So, I hope that helps.
Thanks very much for the question!
Okay, let's go to our next question.
Next question comes from Amr Ahmed.
Amr says: Hi Alisha, what is the meaning of "darn it to heck"?
Darn it to heck!
Darn it to heck.
Darn it to heck is a very mild curse word.
"Heck" is the mild version of the word "hell."
Darn is a mild version of the word "damn," which is a fairly light, I suppose, curse
Darn it to heck is like a mild substitute for a more severe, or I guess, a stronger
You might hear parents teach this expression to children.
An adult would use this if they are uncomfortable using swear words, or maybe they are near
children, where they do not want to use swear words.
Or there's just some other situation, like they're in a polite situation where it would
be rude to use stronger swear words.
So, darn it to heck is a very mild, like, "ah, I made a mistake" expression we use in
place of a stronger curse word expression.
I wonder where you saw this.
But thanks for the question!
Okay, let's go on to the next question.
Next question comes from Chi.
Chi says: Can you tell me the meaning of the word "lame"?
Can we say someone is lame?
Lame in today's English means someone who is uninteresting or boring.
We use it as an adjective, but we also use it as an interjection.
Yes, you can say that a person is lame, but it's offensive.
So, if you say a person is lame, like, "you're lame!"
You can use it to tease your friends, of course, um, we tend to use it for situations, or like
products, or maybe ideas that sound boring or uninteresting.
Some examples: This party is lame.
That show is so lame.
I stopped watching after the first episode.
Facebook is lame.
I use Twitter instead.
Lame is kind of a casual word, too.
You'll hear a lot of young people use this word.
If you use it to talk about a person, it will sound offensive.
I hope that helps you!
Thanks very much for the question.
Let's go on to the next question!
Next question comes from Isik Alexander.
Hi again, Isik.
Isik says: Hi Alisha, what's the difference between "it's said" and "they say"?
It's said or "it is said," um, that's used in more philosophical situations.
So it's like there's some kind of wisdom that you want to share; some like interesting thought.
It makes it sound kind of like formal, or it could sound a bit old-fashioned.
Uh, you might see this used in like news stories if someone is trying to make the story sound
a bit more, um, I guess, important in some cases.
Or maybe they're trying to give it some depth; make it sound like a deeper, more important
Some examples: It is said that health and happiness are the
ultimate life achievements.
It is said that hard work is the most important thing in life.
It is said that the best food is made at home.
So, these expressions share, like a kind of common wisdom.
It sounds kind of like a philosophy point, or some kind of wise idea.
On the other hand, "they say."
They say is used when we want to share like a general public opinion.
Some, like, societal opinion about a situation or like, a news item.
But we don't want to name who.
We don't want to say, "who said this?"
Like, "who said this comment?"
"Who made this comment?"
But if it's like a general opinion shared by many people, we say "they say."
They say there's gonna be a lot of changes in the country.
They say the industry is slowing down.
They say there aren't so many opportunities these days.
So, "they say" sounds like a general opinion.
In most cases in everyday conversation, you'll hear "they say."
It is said sounds much more philosophical.
You might see that in like a philosophy book.
Hope that helps.
Thanks for the question!
Next question comes from Zaheer Ahmed!
In all caps!
Zaheer says: Hi Alisha, the difference between "sacrifice" and "compromise"?
And when and where can I use these words?
Um, "sacrifice" means you're giving up something completely.
It's something that you don't want to lose.
So you're giving everything up.
100% of that thing, in order to do something else.
For some purpose.
Examples: I sacrificed my weekend to help a friend with a project.
He sacrificed his high-paying job to take care of his family.
We sacrificed our paid vacation to save the company.
Compromise, on the other hand, is used to mean "to change an original idea."
So you have some idea, but you make some changes to the idea so that everyone involved in the
situation (everyone relating to the situation) is happy with this new idea.
So, "to compromise" means to make a change to something to change an original idea.
To sacrifice means "to give up everything; to give up 100% of something that you don't
want to lose."
When you compromise, you might sacrifice one part of something; there might be a small
point you give up.
But when you compromise, it means you're trying to find a solution that everyone is happy
Examples: I compromised and agreed to work three days
a week instead of four.
She compromised with her client and found an appropriate schedule and budget.
Unfortunately, our business partners are not willing to compromise.
So, I hope that that helps you understand the difference between "sacrifice" and "compromise."
Thanks for the question!
Next question comes from Rosario Rosato.
Rosario says: Hi Alisha, what's the difference between "have," "have got," and "got" in general
So, this is kind of a big, tough question.
I'm not 100% sure what situations you mean.
Like, these are words that can have different meanings depending on the ways they're used,
so I'm going to guess.
Okay, so, first, let's start with "have."
To have something means "to own" something.
To possess something.
Examples: I have time to work today.
He has a dog.
We don't have any money.
Have got means something that you have a responsibility to do.
This is similar to "have to" or "need to."
We typically use "have got" in the contracted form; we reduce it.
So, it's I've got, he's got, she's got.
Examples: I've got to go to work.
She's got to leave soon.
They've got to study tonight.
Then, third, "got" is the past tense of "get," which we use when we receive or acquire something.
Examples: I got a raise!
He got a dog!
They got a new house.
I'm not sure if that answers your question, but I hope it helps.
Okay, so those are all the questions that I have for this week.
Thank you as always for sending your questions.
Remember to send them to me at EnglishClass101.com/ask-alisha.
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Thank you, as always, for watching this episode of Ask Alisha, and I will see you again next week.