Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com. Don't make these mistakes. Let's talk about it. Have you ever watched an English TV show and realized, whoa, these guys speak way different than any English I ever heard in my English class? Yeah, it's pretty true that English spoken in real life is way different than textbook English. But never fear, today I'm going to help you with three pairs of commonly-misused words, and I hope if you misused these words before this lesson, I hope you won't misuse them afterwards. Let's start. The first pair of commonly-misused words are either and neither. Did you learn in your classroom English that you should use either for positive sentences? I want either cake or ice cream for dessert. And that you should use neither for negative sentences? I want neither cake nor ice cream for dessert. Well, even though these sentences are both grammatically correct, that second sentence, oh boy, we hardly ever use that in daily spoken English. In fact, if you said, "I want neither cake nor ice cream for dessert," people would look at you with little slits in their eyes and say, "What? Is he a literary professor from the 1800s?" So what should you use instead? Well, we usually just simply use or for negative sentences. Take a look at what happens to this sentence. I don't want cake or ice cream for dessert. We use the negative word not, I don't, that's a contraction using do and not, and then instead of using the kind of archaic neither/nor comparison, we're going to instead use just or. Or, we could say this in a shortened way. I don't want either. There's a word that's actually omitted here, but it's understood. That means that we know it's there, but we don't say it. Do you know what that should be? I don't want either option. We don't need to say the word option because either already implies that there is at least two things here, so you can say, "Oh, I don't want either," meaning I don't want care or ice cream. Now that you know we shouldn't say neither nor, is there ever a correct and natural way to use the way neither? Yes. Let me tell you. The most common situation to use neither is if I said, "I don't like politics," and you responded, "Me neither." You're agreeing with my negative statement. But, here's the tricky part. I could say, "I don't like politics," and you could say, "Me either." You could use this positive word to agree with my negative sentence. So which one of these is actually correct? Well, we have a negative sentence, "I don't like politics," so we need that negative word to respond to it. "Me neither." Technically this is correct, and you should probably use this in maybe business situations or those kind of formal situations, but in daily spoken English, you are definitely going to hear people say, "Me either." This is grammatically incorrect, but native speakers use this a lot. And I don't know exactly why, but I kind of feel like it's because we feel a little strange using the word neither because we don't use it that often, and we use the word either a lot. So maybe people just feel a little more comfortable saying, "Oh yeah, me either. I don't like politics, too." But technically, it should be me neither. So in this situation, you've got two options, but technically me neither is a little better. The second pair of commonly-misused words in English is actually and now. If you speak a Romance language, listen carefully. I'm going to give you a sentence, and I'm going to give you two options, so you can guess what this sentence means. I can't believe that I actually fell asleep on the plane. I never fall asleep on flights. Does this mean, number one, now I fell asleep? Or number two, in reality I feel asleep? What does this mean? Think about that word actually. Well, don't listen to your heart when you're trying to guess which one's correct. It's going to lead you astray. If you speak French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, a Romance language, you probably have a word in your language that looks like the word actually, like the word “actuellement” or maybe “atualmente.” I don't know how to say it in Portuguese. But there's a word that looks almost exactly like the word actually and it means no in your language. But, in English, don't listen to your heart. In English, this means in reality. It does not mean now. So we are comparing something to reality. Let's take a look at a couple examples. The food looked strange, but actually, it tasted good. Here we have a comparison between the way the food looked, which was strange, and the way the food tasted, which was good. So we have reality, the taste, and the way it looked, maybe the way I perceived it in my mind. The other day I was going to go to a museum, and I said, "Oh, we can't go to the museum because I saw that it's closed on Mondays." And my friend said, "Actually, in the summer it's open on Mondays." So she was comparing my reality to her reality, that well, in reality, it's open on Mondays in the summertime. So she was correcting my reality. Or, you might say, "She's actually dating someone? I can't believe it." This is a shocking reality, like in our first sentence. "I actually fell asleep on the flight?" You could say, "She's actually dating someone?" Here we're comparing what I thought would happen, that she would never date someone, to the reality, "Who, she's actually dating someone." What about the word now? This means in this moment, at this moment. This is a little more straightforward and easy than the word actually. But, let's talk about a couple sample sentences anyway. I can't watch the movie because I have to study now. At this moment, I have to study. He finished his degree, and now he's a mechanical engineer. All right, let's go to the last pair of commonly-misused words in American English. I have a little test for you. I want to know which one of these two sentences do you think is correct. Although it was raining, we still went on a hike. Though it was raining, we still went on a hike. The two words here are although and though. Which one of these feels the most correct to you? I have some bad news. This was a trick question. Both of these are grammatically correct, but we use neither of these in daily conversation. The word although is rarely used in daily conversation. It feels a little bit formal. The only way that I use it is when I'm talking about changing my mind. I could say, "Oh, the wedding was so boring, although the food was pretty good." So I'm changing my mind about the wedding. The wedding was boring, okay, although the food was pretty good. So there was one thing that was good about it, the food. This is almost the same as adding the word but. The wedding was boring, but the food was pretty good. What about the word though? What's wrong with saying, "Though it was raining, we still went on a hike." Well, we hardly ever use the word though at the beginning of a sentence. It sounds too stiff and formal. Though it was raining ... No, we hardly ever use this. If you want to use the word though at the beginning, it's better to add the word even. Even though it was raining, we still went on a hike. That sounds much more natural. Let's go back to that wedding example, the boring wedding. You might say, "The wedding was boring, but the food was pretty good though." We're using the word though at the end to indicate that there's kind of an exception. Oh, the wedding was boring overall, but the food was good though. You could even take out the word but and make two sentences. The wedding was boring. The food was good though. Okay, great. If you'd like to study the word though in depth, I recommend checking out this lesson that I made up here that uses a lot of examples and all of the different nuances of the word though. All right, before we go, let's do a quick review. I don't want cake or ice cream for dessert. I don't want either. I don't like politics. Me neither. I can't believe that I actually fell asleep on the flight. The food looked strange, but it was actually good. Actually, the museum is open on Mondays in the summer. I can't watch a movie because I have to study now. The wedding was kind of boring, although the food was pretty good. The wedding was kind of boring, but the food was pretty good though. Even though it was raining, we still went on a hike. I hope you enjoyed this quick but intense common mistakes correction lesson. I want to know in the comments which one of these mistakes did you used to make but now I hope you won't make it anymore because you know the correct way to use these commonly-misused words. Thanks so much for learning English with me, and I'll see you again next Friday for a new lesson here on my YouTube channel. Bye. The next step is to download my free e-book, Five Steps to Becoming a Confident English Speaker. You'll learn what you need to do to speak confidently and fluently. Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more free lessons. Thanks so much.