What is ChatGPT: The ULTIMATE Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever wished you had a friend who could answer all your questions, do your tasks, and even make you laugh? If yes, ChatGPT might just be what you are looking for.

ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot that can understand natural human language like no other. You can talk to it just the way you would talk to your friend.

It doesn’t only understand natural language, but it can also put together human-like sentences with surprising accuracy. If I showed you a response generated by ChatGPT, you would think it was written by a person.

ChatGPT takes things a step further by remembering your previous chats and using that information in future answers.

Its ability to remember past conversations helps it do crazy things like play chess or follow the steps of a long process.

ChatGPT made a big splash across newspapers because it acquired 1 million users within just 5 days of its launch. It is important to learn about it because it will probably change the way you use the internet.

In this blog post, I will explain everything — what is ChatGPT, how to get started with it, how to use it, what it can and cannot do, and its limitations.

We have a lot to talk about, so let’s get going.

What is ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a free-to-use chatbot released by OpenAI on 30th November 2022. There is also a paid plan of ChatGPT that starts at $20/month but you don’t probably need that right now. You can get by with the free version.

To get started with ChatGPT, you will have to open an account on OpenAI’s website. Clicking this link will take you to this page —

What is ChatGPT, you have to create an account on OpenAI's website.

Click the “Sign up” button which will bring you to the account creation page:

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Enter your email, press continue, and then type a password to create an account.

After you have created an account, you will be taken to this page —

What is ChatGPT? Chatgpt is an AI chatbot that can talk to you like a real person would.

This is the home page where you will be having your chats with ChatGPT.

You will type your query or question in the textbox at the bottom. In AI chatbot terminology, your query or question is generally known as a “prompt”. Don’t get bogged down by the terminology though, it’s just a fancy way of saying things.

Now, let’s have some fun with ChatGPT, but first things first.

ChatGPT can understand over 25 languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Chinese. You don’t have to talk to it in English if you don’t want to.

You can politely ask it to switch to your language of choice. If it supports that, it will reply in that language —

ChatGPT can talk in a number of languages including French, Spanish, german, italian, hindi, Chinese and more.
ChatGPT can talk in more than 25 languages.

You can then continue the conversation.

Let’s start with a joke about Barack Obama:

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That was easy! What about a rhyming poem about Donald Trump?

Peom about Donald Trump about ChatGPT

Now, let’s try something new. I haven’t yet read the novel “Animal Farm” by George Orwell nor do I have time to read it completely. Let’s just ask ChatGPT for its summary —

summary of the book "animal farm" by ChatGPT

Hmm, that’s interesting. I think my 10-year-old niece should also know about this, but I don’t know how to explain such big ideas like “totalitarianism”, “Individual freedom” and “Equality”.

Why not just ask ChatGPT to rewrite this summary for a 10-year-old:

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Yes, it’s good enough. Notice that ChatGPT took out all the big words and put in simpler ones that kids can understand.

However, the most noteworthy thing here is our request. I asked ChatGPT to rewrite “that” but didn’t specify what.

It automatically understood what I meant based on our chat so far. It could do so because it remembers the chat history and uses that to refine its output in future responses.

Its capability of remembering previous conversations is going to be super helpful to you as a user. You can fine-tune its outputs without rewriting your entire query again.

Let’s understand this with an example. I will start by asking ChatGPT to put together the names of all American Presidents in a nice markdown table —

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Now, I want the names of only those presidents who were born after the 1900s. I can ask ChatGPT to filter these names based on these criteria.

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It took some names off the list, but it also made some mistakes. The first three presidents on this list were all born before 1900. It just shows that AI technology isn’t perfect yet and will only get better as time goes on.

Still, we can keep going through our example and make this output even better. Let’s now generate the names of those presidents who served two terms.

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It again made a mistake: it omitted Barack Obama who served from 2008 to 2016.

Still, I hope you got what I meant: ChatGPT can carry on a conversation without being spoon-fed every time you ask it something.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the other things you can do with ChatGPT.

What can ChatGPT do?

ChatGPT is insanely versatile. It can do many things, some of which you might not even think of.

Here are the most important ones, with an example of each:

Write an entire blog post (or an essay)

Write a blog post titled “How to create a website in 7 easy steps”. First, write an outline and then expand upon each of the bullet points. Format headings properly and bold text wherever necessary.

Generate headlines or titles

I am writing a blog post on “Health benefits of drinking hot water in the morning”. Suggest me some click-worthy headlines for it.

Explain difficult concepts

Explain the working of stock market in simple language. Give lots of examples and analogies. Avoid jargons or complex language.

Write a Twitter thread

Write a twitter thread of 7 tweets on “affiliate marketing for beginners: A case study”

Simplify mathematical concepts

Explain pythagorus theorem in detail. Give real life exampls of how it is useful. Use only simple words. Also, derive the theorem using visualization.

Generate an outline for your ebook

Write an outline of 17 chapters for an ebook on “Digital Marketing 101”.

Write Quora answers

Write a Quora answer for the question “Which company is most ethical among Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft?”. Write at least 400 words.

Write ads

My company has launched a new pair of earphones, which have large 12 mm drivers and cost just $29. Write me a compelling Facebook ad description in 125 characters.

Write marketing email

I have just launched a new course on “Online Security”. Write a marketing email to my subscribers pursuading them to buy the course while it is at a discount for the first 7 days. Craft a suspenseful yet non-clickbaity subject line to boost the open rate of email.

Write a sarcastic resignation letter to your boss in Shakespeare’s style

Write a sarcastic but humorous resignation letter to my boss in Shakespeare’s style. Directly blame my boss for my resignation.

Convert features into benefits

My company has launched a new two wheeler which is lightweight and gives excellent mileage. Its driver’s seat may be lowered by 4 inches, making it suitable for short individuals. Convert these features into benefits for customers.

Play games

Let’s play tic-tac-toe. I play first. My first move is “X” into the center square.

Write code (or excel formulas)

I have a column “Full name” in my excel sheet. I want these names to be broken apart into three columns, “First name”, “Middle name”, and “Last name”. The first name and last name column can contain only one word whereas the middle name column can have any number of words (including 0). For example, if a person’s name is “Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi”, then first name is Mohandas, middle name is Karam Chand and last name is Gandhi.

Write me an excel formula which will break the full name column in these three columns as per my requirement.

Troubleshoot (any problem related to anything)

Everything on my computer is small. How to zoom in. I am on Windows.

Ask for advice

My girlfriend faked a break up with me. Is it a red flag? Should I leave her?

Plan an itinerary for a vacation

I am going to London for a week. I am a history buff. I will have 3 days to myself. Plan my itinerary for 3 days. What places do you suggest I should cover?

Get creative ideas

I am celebrating my 20th marriage anniversary next month. What gift should I give to my wife? She is a chef by profession and likes to play Chess.

Prank ideas

I am planning a harmless but funny prank on my friend. What do you think I should do?

Ask for custom names

I was blessed with a son last week. I need some suggestions for his name. The name should start with ‘A’, not more than 8 letters and should be on a famous historical or mythological figure with positive connotation.

Give me some name ideas for my son and also explain about them in two sentences each.

Convert a sentence into an emoji

Convert this sentence into emoji-speak: “I don’t like my job anymore. Want to resign.”

Do scientific calculations

What is pi multiplied by (sin(48) + (cos(23))^2″?

Solve math problems and equations

A work was completed by three persons of equal ability, first one doing m hours for m days, second one doing n hours for n days (m and n being integers) and third one doing 16 hours for 16 days. The work could have been completed in 29 days by third person alone with his respective working hours. If all of them do the work together with their respective working hours, then they can complete it in about how many days?

Write recipes for ingredients that you have

I have tomato, potato, cauliflower and salmon in my fridge. Suggest me some dishes that I can prepare with these ingredients. I prefer salty flavour.

Table generator (in Markdown)

Give me a table of top 10 countries (by population) with these coloumns: Name, population, area, average household income ($), average population density.

Translate text

How do you say “I would love to visit your country sometime” in Japanese?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. ChatGPT can do a lot more than what I have shown here. It can write code in more than one language, act like a terminal, manipulate Excel sheets using plain English, shift subtitles forward or backward, make ASCII art, and do a few other cool things.

If you want to learn about all the nifty things that ChatGPT can do, be sure to check out the linked article.

ChatGPT is also trained to decline inappropriate or harmful queries. If you ask it questions about suicide, porn, or some other offensive topic, it will politely decline.

One important thing to remember is that ChatGPT can only work with text. It can only take text as input and spit out text as output. So, whatever you want it to do, it must be able to do that using text.

For example, when you play chess with ChatGPT, it does not show you any fancy graphics or animations. Instead, it uses text symbols and characters to make the chessboard —

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This may change in the future if OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, decides to add pictures or videos to the chat. This is what we have until then.

How does ChatGPT work?

Now that we have seen what ChatGPT can do, let’s see how it works.

ChatGPT works the same way as your phone’s autosuggest feature but it’s a little more advanced than that.

When you type a sentence, autosuggest uses Natural Language Processing to figure out what word you might want to use next.

See what autosuggest, well suggests when I type this sentence: “I worked hard for 8 hours. I am feeling very __________”.

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It came up with the words “good,” “sick,” and “much.” All of these words are correct in terms of grammar and sentence structure but anyone with common sense probably won’t choose either of them because neither of them makes much sense in the sentence.

See what happens when I ask ChatGPT the same thing:

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ChatGPT got the word “tired” right.

This is because ChatGPT uses Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to understand the context and guess the next word.

ChatGPT does this by using a language model called GPT-3.5 which has been trained with a lot of data. Now is a good time to mention that GPT in ChatGPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer”.

“The ‘pre-training’ in its name refers to the initial training process on a large text corpus where the model learns to predict the next word in a passage…”

Wikipedia, in this article.

This model computes the probability of every word that can come next in the sentence.

It did some complex calculations using the words already present in the text and found out that the most likely word to come here was “tired”.

This is a very simplistic explanation but should be enough to get you started. By the way, in Natural Language Processing, we don’t use the word “word” to mean a word. We call them tokens. (1000 tokens ~ 750 words)

It should be clear by now that the more data a language model is trained on, the better it will be at figuring out what the next token will be.

The largest language model is GPT-3.5, which has 175 billion parameters and needs 800 GB of storage space. There are other language models too such as Google’s LaMDA, Open AI’s GPT-3, BERT, T-5, and ELECTRA.

Depending on their training data and methods of computing probabilities, different language models might produce different results even for the same query.

Issues and Limitations of ChatGPT

AI technology is still in its infancy, it still has a long way to go. Here are some limitations and shortcomings of ChatGPT

Trained only up to September 2021

ChatGPT has been trained only for the data up to September 2021. So, it has limited knowledge of events that happened after this date.

When you ask it something that it believes might have changed after September 2021, it generally gives a warning that its data is not up to date.

Cannot access Google or the Internet for real-time data

ChatGPT cannot look up information on the Internet. It can provide information only from what it has learned during its training phase. (It’s a pre-trained transformer, remember?)

It means that if you ask it to give you news or discuss the latest trends or topics, you will be disappointed.

There are however other tools like Microsoft Bing Chat (free) and ChatSonic (paid) that do have the ability to connect to the Internet and give you real-time data.

AI content can be detected

If you are motivated to write your next essay or a blog post using ChatGPT, hold your horses.

AI tools like ChatGPT create content with a unique “watermark” that can be easily detected by tools like Originality AI and Writer.com.

Because ChatGPT puts words together by using mathematical formulas, the text has a clear pattern. These AI tools, which were also trained on the same language model, can spot this pattern.

Sometimes it may produce incorrect answers

ChatGPT can sometimes write answers that aren’t factually or logically correct. For example, the code or Excel formula you ask it to write might not work right away. You might have to change it a little bit to get what you want.

No chat export button

ChatGPT doesn’t have any download or share button. You cannot download or share your chats with someone. However, you can read this article to learn how to download your chats.

Sometimes it may show “Network error”

ChatGPT has a lot of users because it is crazy good and can be used for free while it is in research preview. Over 100 million people have signed up for this in just 2 months.

Such an unexpected flood of users has strained OpenAI’s infrastructure. Its servers can get incredibly busy at times, resulting in a “Network error” message.

It may also display messages such as “Error generating response” and “Too many requests”. Also, if the server is busy, it may be slow to give answers.

Don’t get disheartened. Give it some time and retry after a few minutes.

Word limit on input and output

There is no official information about this, but really long inputs don’t work well with ChatGPT. From my rough, non-scientific tests, I found that this limit is around 2200 words.

In the same way, ChatGPT doesn’t write answers that are longer than 600 words, even if you ask it to.

OpenAI might have put some limits on it because the technology is too expensive. Some sources say that the generation of 10,000 tokens costs about $3. When millions of people are trying your product, these costs add up fast.

If ChatGPT stops halfway through writing an answer, ask it to “continue” and it should pick up right where it left off.

Biased or opinionated

Language models learn from the data they are given. If their input data contains any bias or prejudice against a group, the language model “forms an opinion” based on that.

Because of this, ChatGPT may sometimes write answers that are biased or unfair toward a group of people.

Alternatives to ChatGPT

ChatGPT isn’t the only AI chatbot in the market. There are a few others, some are free, and some are paid. Some have more features than ChatGPT while others can also produce AI images right in the chat.

Let’s have a look at a few popular alternatives to ChatGPT —

Microsoft Bing Chat

Microsoft has also launched its own AI chatbot but it is still in the preview stage. During the testing phase, it is currently been given away for free to 1 million people all over the world.

Its most important selling point is that it can connect to the Internet. It can even write about things that happened yesterday. It scans the Bing search engine for your query and then puts together your answer.

I have access to it and played with it a lot. A great alternative to ChatGPT 👍.


Perplexity AI is still in its early stages but anyone is free to try it out. You don’t have to sign up or anything. Just hop on to Perplexity.ai and take it for a test ride. It also fetches real-time data from the Internet and cites its sources for each answer.


ChatSonic by WriteSonic is a paid tool that touts itself as ChatGPT with superpowers. In some sense it is.

It can connect to the Internet to give you real-time data, generate AI images from your text descriptions, can listen to your voice command and speak its answer aloud, have several avatars to fine-tune your prompts, and a chrome extension that works on every textbox across all websites.

It costs $19/month for 19000 words or $12.67/month when you subscribe to the annual plan, but you get much more than just an AI chatbot at this price. You will get a full-fledged AI writing assistant for all your writing needs along with an AI art generator.

Check out ChatSonic’s features.

Jasper Chat

Jasper AI is another tool that is very popular in the community. It also has a full-fledged AI chatbot that supports real-time data, fast response times, and helpful follow-up prompt suggestions to refine your output. Check out my detailed comparison of ChatGPT with Jasper Chat.

It also comes bundled with Jasper AI’s full suite of writing tools. Its price starts at $59/month for 50,000 words or $49/month if you buy an annual subscription.

Check out Jasper AI’s features here.

More resources

ChatGPT is a new technology. It can do amazing things, but only if you know what and how to ask.

In other words, you need to learn how to ask questions to get the most out of ChatGPT. You will have to learn the art of prompting.

Here are some resources which will help you get started —

  1. Learn Prompting
  2. Awesome ChatGPT Prompts
  3. The Art of ChatGPT Prompting


Here are a few questions that you might have about ChatGPT.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that can understand and reply in surprisingly human-like language.

What is the full form of ChatGPT?

GPT in ChatGPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer”. ChatGPT uses a language model (GPT – 3.5) for its data. This language model has been trained on a large amount of data which enables it to understand and reply in natural language.

Why is ChatGPT so popular?

ChatGPT became so popular due to its unprecedented level of human-like interaction capabilities. It surprised people by being extremely versatile. It can write blog posts, emails, marketing and sales copy, tweets, Instagram photo captions, scripts, and even entire books. People are fascinated by it because it is a serious contender in the last 20 years that might change the way we use the Internet.

How long is ChatGPT free?

It is difficult to tell for how long will ChatGPT remain free. Although OpenAI has launched a paid plan at $20/month to meet the rising costs of server infrastructure, it is yet to be seen if OpenAI continues its free version or not.

Is there a word limit in ChatGPT?

There’s no official word limit on the input and output of ChatGPT. However, I have found in my unscientific tests that ChatGPT doesn’t work well for inputs longer than 2200 words. Also, it doesn’t write more than 600 words at a time, even if you ask it explicitly. You can read this article to manage character limit issues in ChatGPT.

How much does ChatGPT cost per day?

Some sources say that running ChatGPT costs around $100,000 a day, or about $3 million a month. This, however, is just a guess. The founder of OpenAI has only said that the costs of running ChatGPT are “eye-watering.”

Will ChatGPT replace the Google search engine?

ChatGPT will certainly make a tiny dent in Google’s business, forcing it to include ChatGPT-like features in its interface, but it’s unlikely that it will replace Google, at least not any time soon. Google is a giant behemoth. It has more firepower, experience, and one of the best talent pools in the industry. It isn’t sitting idle watching its core business erode.

In fact, Google has also developed several language models such as LaMDA and BARD, which it might launch to counter the threat of AI chatbots like ChatGPT.

If you want a glimpse of how Google might incorporate ChatGPT-like features in Search, here’s one from Microsoft Bing, which has already rolled out its AI chatbot and paired it with its search engine.

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Do remember though that Bing chat is currently available only for preview to only 1 million users worldwide.

Does ChatGPT give the same answer to everyone?

No, ChatGPT is designed to be stochastic, meaning its answers are based on random probability distributions. In simple terms, it won’t likely give the same answer to everyone even for the same query.

If you ask it to write a blog post about the same subject twice, it will come up with two different posts.

Which language model does ChatGPT use?

ChatGPT uses the GPT-3.5 language model developed by OpenAI.

Can universities detect ChatGPT?

Universities can detect ChatGPT content using AI detection tools like Originality AI, Writer.com, and Turnitin. However, these tools are not 100% accurate. Sometimes they fail to detect AI content (a false negative), and sometimes they mark human-written content as AI (a false positive).

I have also conducted a detailed case study of AI detection vs ChatGPT if you want to read about it in detail.

Are ChatGPT answers plagiarised?

I have tested more than 100 blog posts and articles using AI writing programs and chatbots but never I have seen one flagged as plagiarised.

AI programs are designed not to reproduce a piece of content word-by-word. Instead, they work in chunks of tokens chained together based on the highest probability. So it rarely happens that ChatGPT or other AI chatbots write plagiarized content.

Are ChatGPT responses copyrighted?

No, all the content that you produce using ChatGPT is free to use, even for commercial projects.

Can ChatGPT access the internet?

Nope, this is one place where ChatGPT lacks in comparison to other AI chatbots. It cannot look up information on the Internet. It can generate responses only for the data on which it has been trained.

Is ChatGPT the best AI?

ChatGPT is based on GPT-3.5, which is the largest and most powerful language model. I’ve also found that ChatGPT gives the most thorough and “thoughtful” answers. It was also the most considerate and respectful out of Bing chat, Jasper chat, and ChatSonic.

But it is missing a very important feature: it can’t show content that is up to date. It can’t connect to the Internet, so you can’t trust the facts it writes. It also doesn’t cite its sources, which makes it a terrible tool for research of any kind.

This sums up my thoughts on ChatGPT. I hope you found this beginner’s guide helpful. If you did, please share it with your friends on social media.

Thanks for reading.