Unit 23

Bài học VIP
Question 1 : What are the differences between ‘would’ and ‘might’?
Question 2: What are the differences between ‘confident’ and ‘confidence’?
Question 3: In sentences when can we use ‘at the’ and ‘in the’?
Question 4: Is the world ‘fruit’ only used in the singular sense and ‘vegetables’ only in plural?

Unit 23

Hi everybody, this is Misterduncan in England. How are you today? Are you ok? I hope so! Are you happy? I hope so!

Welcome once again to another edition of Ask Misterduncan, where you get the chance to ask Misterduncan. That’s me!

Another selection of your e-mail questions and comments have been stuffed into my pigeon hole, for me to pick and choose. So without any more playing for time, let’s have our first question for today!

1. What are the differences between ‘would’ and ‘might’?

This question comes from Merve, who lives in Turkey. A country I have visited in a past lesson.

The easiest way to separate these words would be to say that one expresses certainty, while the other suggests uncertainty. ‘I would like to see you tomorrow.’ ‘That would be great.’

‘Would’ can also show the intention, followed by a refusal. ‘Would you like to come to my party?’ ‘I would love to come, but I’m busy that day.’

The most positive way of showing that something will happen or occur is to use ‘can’. ‘Can I see you tomorrow?’ ‘Yes you can.’ “Would’ often expresses the desire before it occurs. ‘Would like’ means ‘want’. ‘I would like to see you again.’

On its own ‘would’ is always positive. ‘I would’ ‘He would’ ‘She would’ ‘they would’.

Would is often used instead of can. ‘Would you like to?’ ‘Yes I would.’ ‘Can you?’ ‘Yes I can’.

The word ‘might’ shows a definite doubt about whether something will happen or not. ‘I might see you tomorrow, if I have time.’ ‘I might be late for work tomorrow.’ We can also use ‘may’ to express this possibility. ‘I may see you tomorrow.’ Or 'maybe',‘Maybe I will see you tomorrow.’ So ‘might’ can show that something may possibly happen. The opposite of ‘might’ is ‘might not’. This shows that there is a chance that the action or event will not occur. ‘I might not come to your party.’ ‘I might not be able to make it.’

2. What are the differences between ‘confident’ and ‘confidence’?

This question comes from Muzamil in Pakistan. Both of these words relates to the same thing. A self-assured feeling about an ability or skill you have. To do something with ease and without worry. To be without doubt. You are confident. The word ‘confident’ is an adjective. It shows the state you are in. A confident mood. A confident frame of mind. You are confident.

Confidence is the noun. It is the word that names the feeling of being self-assured and comfortable with one’s own abilities. You have confidence. As a verb confidence shows the action of deceiving someone by getting their trust. A confidence trick. You ‘con’ someone by pretending to be their friend. A person who does this can be described informally as a ‘con artist’.

3. In sentences when can we use ‘at the’ and ‘in the’?

This question was sent in by Manoela, who lives in Brazil. As prepositions ‘at’ and ‘in’ can cause a lot of confusion.

When we use ‘at’, we are showing where we situated. We are giving our location. ‘I’m at the supermarket’. ‘I’m at the bank.’ ‘I’m at work.’

The word ‘at’ gives a clue as to our location, but it is only as precise as the information we give. For example – ‘I’m at the supermarket’ could mean the front entrance, or the meat section, or the bakery, or the checkout.

Of course we can also use ‘in the’ as well. ‘I’m in the supermarket.’

Another good example is ‘At the hospital’. This is often used if you work there or are just visiting. However if you say ‘I’m in the hospital’ or ‘I’m in hospital’, the other person will assure that you are ill or injured and must stay in the hospital for treatment.

Having said that, we cannot always use both. For example ‘I’m at work’ and ‘I’m in work’ have completely different meanings. ‘I’m at work’ shows my location, while ‘I’m in work; means ‘I have a job’.

It is common to use ‘in’ when expressing a precise location. ‘I’m in bed’ ‘I’m in the bathroom’ ‘I’m in my garden’ ‘I’m in town’ ‘I’m in Birmingham’ ‘I’m in England’ ‘I’m in Europe’.

We often use ‘at’ when we are on the move going from one place to another. While driving – ‘I’m at the traffic lights’ ‘I’m at the junction’. While on a train – ‘We’ve stopped at Birmingham’.

The simple rules are that if your location is a building, you can be ‘in’ or ‘at’ it. If it is an action then use ‘at’ – ‘at rest’ ‘at play’ ‘at work’.

If it is a place, then you are most likely to use ‘in’. ‘In’ England’ ‘in Wales’ ‘in the bathroom’ ‘in the bedroom’.

It’s that time again.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, lads and lasses. That beautiful moment has arrived again, when everything becomes all warm and fluffy, just like a kitten in a tumble dryer. It’s here again to fascinate and flabbergast you right in to space! Don’t forget to say hi to the I-S-S on the way up.

It’s is the word of the week.

This week’s word is esoteric.

This is an adjective and describes a subject where the content can only be understood by those who are knowledgeable of it.

Only those who understand will know and only those who know will understand.

If you hear a group of people talking about something that seems cryptic, mysterious or obscure, then the discussion could be described as being esoteric.

Is the world ‘fruit’ only used in the singular sense and ‘vegetables’ only in plural?

This interesting question was left for me on Facebook and comes from Mosharaf in India.

In everyday English the word ‘fruit’ is used to show one item or many. ‘A fruit shop.’ ‘A delivery of fruit.’ However in formal English we can use the plural, when discussing groups of fruit. For example ‘tropical fruits’. The mass noun ‘fruit’ is the one most commonly used. One a side note, ‘fruit’ can also describe the reward for hard work or great effort. ‘The fruit(s) of your labour.’

The use of the word ‘vegetables’ is a little more tricky to explain as we often use the plural in everyday situations. This is mainly due to the fact that usually you will serve vegetables as a quantity. Carrots, Peas, Potatoes, Beans, are plural, so more often than not ‘vegetable’ will be used in the same way. Do you want more vegetables?’ ‘Are the vegetables organic?’ ‘Eating vegetables everyday will keep you healthy.’ So as you can see, the plural is used often. In its singular use ‘vegetable’ defines the group of plants which can be eaten whole or in part, such as the leaf or root. Some cooking recipes use ‘vegetable’ in their names. ‘Vegetable Curry’ ‘Vegetable Soup’ ‘Vegetable Lasagne’. Oh, all this talk of food is making me hungry!

Time to say goodbye!

Before I leave you today, I would like to say a great big ….hello! to all those who have joined me on Facebook and a big hi to all my new subscribers here on You tube. The world of English is a fun and exciting place to be. Welcome everyone to my big happy classroom, otherwise known as planet Earth. I will see you all again for another English lesson very soon. Until then, this is Misterduncan in England saying thank you for watching me, answering you and of course, ta-ta for now.
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Fuckyou guys :)
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