Almost, nearly, amiable, amicable – it’s Q & A time!

Thank you for your great questions! In this lesson we answer your questions about the adverbs almost and nearly, the English Show, the adjectives, amiable and amicable and the curious case of American scissors. Plus more!


Look we’re back in our room with interesting things.
You know what that means.
It must be a Q and A?
Yes, it’s question and answer time.
Thank you all so much for sending us questions.
We love reading the comments and questions you leave for us. It’s very motivating.
Please keep them coming.
OK, what’s the first one?
It comes from John Benson and he asks can you tell us about two time adverbs ‘almost’ and ‘nearly’?
Oh great question. Thank you John Benson!
Yeah, almost – nearly. Do they mean the same thing?
Well, they often mean the same thing. For example, if we’re counting things. Like, what’s the time?
The time? It’s nearly three o’clock. Or it’s almost three o’clock. They mean the same thing.
Yeah, same meaning. And we use them both if we’re measuring progress too. So we’re almost finished. We’re nearly finished – same thing.

Come on, Jay. You’re nearly there.
Keep going! You’re almost there.

I think that in American English we say ‘almost’ more than we say ‘nearly’.
Yes. There’s a difference between British and American English here. Almost is more common in American English, but both words are possible in American, right?
Yes, I could say both, but normally I say almost. But here’s the question. Are there situations where almost and nearly are different?
Yes. We don’t use ‘nearly’ before negative words like no, nobody, nothing, none, never… With negative words we say almost.
So, almost none… almost nobody… almost never….
Yeah.
So we almost never say ‘nearly’ with those words!
Yeah, with negative words, say ‘almost’.
Great. OK! Next question?
Yeah, what’s next?
Erm… We had a couple of questions about the English Show.
Oh
People wanted to know when the next show is.
Oh.
For those that don’t know, we had live shows this year with our friend in Paris, Jason R Levine – Fluency MC. But we haven’t had one for a while. What’s happening Vicki?
Well – the background. We had problems because sometimes the live stream didn’t work.
The technology was unreliable, so we tried making some edited shows, and they worked really well.
Yeah, but the main problem is time because they take me a long time to edit.
So, have you given up on the idea?
No, I don’t think so and we have lots of things we plan to do with Jason. So, can you ask me again in a couple of months? Ask me a different question now.
OK. This one’s from Shreelata Rao and she said:
Hi Vicky and Jay. I love all your videos. You mix learning with fun and that makes it all the more interesting. I have a question… What is the difference between amiable and amicable?
Amiable and Amicable. They’re both adjectives and they have very similar meanings.
Yes, you could say a person is amiable. Like, I’m an amiable person. I’m friendly and easy to like.
Yeah right. Shreelata, the difference here is about what the two adjectives describe. We use amiable to describe people who are pleasant, and we use amicable to describe relationships and agreements.
So for example, Vicki and I have an amicable relationship.
Yeah. So you could say someone is amiable, but you could say two people have an have an amicable divorce. They reached an amicable agreement or settlement. So they felt friendly and didn’t want to quarrel.
Like us. We never quarrel.
Let’s have another question.
OK. Here’s one from Marcio Oliveira and he had a question about a scene in our video on the word ‘Actually’. Let’s roll a clip.

Do you have some scissors I can borrow?
No, sorry.
Oh. OK.
Oh, wait a minute. Actually I have one here.
Oh, thank you very much.
You’re very welcome.

Now Marcio said, ‘I would like to ask, Jay says “I have one” for some scissors. Is that OK to a native to a pair of scissors like that, I mean, as a singular thing? Thanks, and congrats for the nice job!’.
Oh wow! Well spotted Marcio. In my opinion, (I’m British) no, what Jay said was totally wrong and grammatically incorrect!
And in my English, because I’m American, it was perfectly correct.

Actually I have one here.
Oh, thank you very much.
You’re very welcome.

It’s a British – American difference. They are scissors – in British English it’s a plural noun.
But scissors are one thing in American – a cutting instrument – one thing!
Wel, one, two blades. So you say scissors with and s at the end, but it’s not a plural noun.
No, I have one scissors.
I have some scissors.
No, I have one scissors.
Plural nouns can be tricky in English. There are lots of plural nouns that are plurals for both of us but singular things in other languages. Like glasses and binoculars.
Yes, we say glasses and binoculars in American too.
And then there are trousers and knickers.
You mean pants and underwear.
But scissors are special in American because you see them as a singular and you’ll say one scissors.
Yes.
I’ve lived in America for nearly twenty years but I didn’t realise you said that until we shot that scene.
Yep.
So well done Marcio for spotting that and thank you for that question. What’s next?
Lots of people told us about English words that they found hard to pronounce like thaw and though and island and lots more. So thank you for that.
Yeah, we made two videos about words that are hard to pronounce and I’ll put a link here because I think it’s going to turn into a series when we add all your words.
Thank you for all your suggestions. They were really great.
We’re working on more videos now, so subscribe to this channel and hit the notification bell so you don’t miss them. And if have other requests for other videos you’d like, please tell us. Another question?
OK, I’ve saved this one for last because it’s a little different. It comes from Sebastian Alegria and he says ‘What things do you like more from your work as a teacher?’
So he means what do I like most about being a teacher. That’s a completely different kind of question.
Yes it is, but what do you think?
Well, I know that for lots of people, learning English is a like chore. It’s a job you have to do. It’s not because you want to do it but you must do it. And I want to help and make it as easy, and enjoyable and efficient as I can. So you don’t waste time and you can learn fast as possible. So what I like most is helping. What about you?
Oh I feel the same. And I see technology and the internet as a way of bringing the world together so we can all communicate.
Yeah, we both love that – helping people to communicate and I think we both love having the opportunity to be creative together too.
Yep. Thank you for that question Sebastian. It was one that really got us thinking.
Yeah.
We should stop now perhaps and get this edited.
Yes, thank you everyone for all your questions. They were great.
Now, please keep them coming and see you all next week! Bye.
Bye.
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