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  • Hi, everyone, and welcome to part eight of this Beginner English Phrases for Conversation series.

  • Today's phrase is "What does this mean?"

  • This is the most basic phrase that you can use when you don't know what something means in English.

  • When you don't understand a word or a phrase.

  • Please note that this question only asks about the meaning.

  • This question is not asking about the pronunciation or how to say a word.

  • When using this phrase, you can change the word "this" to other words.

  • For example, what does "that" mean?

  • What does "it" mean?

  • Let's pretend you hear a new word that you don't know, like, "icing".

  • You can say, "What does icing mean?"

  • Now, some different ways to ask "What does this mean?" are:

  • What is the meaning of this?

  • And "Can you explain the meaning of this?"

  • If someone asks you, "What does this mean?", how can you answer this question correctly?

  • Well, the first way is by saying "It means...", and then you describe the meaning.

  • Another way you can answer is by saying "It's a...", and then you describe the meaning or you describe the thing.

  • For example, if you asked me, "Shane, what does icing mean?"

  • I would say, "It's a mixture of butter, sugar, and water that you put on top of a cake to make the cake taste sweeter."

  • Or I could say the same thing, but start by saying, "Icing means...", and then explain the meaning.

  • Now let's have a look at some common mistakes with this phrase.

  • The first common mistake is when students say, "What is this mean?"

  • This is incorrect because we normally use the word "is" with a verb -ing, with a noun, or with an adjective.

  • But the word "mean" is none of these things; the word "mean" is a verb.

  • That means we need to use the word "does".

  • So to correct this sentence, we can say, "What does this mean?"

  • The second mistake is when students answer the question, "What does this mean?" by saying things like, "This is mean..." or "It is mean..."

  • But this is incorrect.

  • To answer the question, you just need to say, "This means..." or "It means...", and then you give your explanation.

  • You don't need to say "is".

Hi, everyone, and welcome to part eight of this Beginner English Phrases for Conversation series.

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