…as recommended by my Instagram group!
On Valentine’s Day last week I asked my group to share a love song that had helped them learn English.
Thank you to everyone who posted an idea!
We ended up with about 300 songs, so I’ve whittled them down to an essential list, but if yours isn’t there, and you really think it helped you learn English in some way, please leave me a comment and I’ll add it to the list.
I tried to avoid going for too many of my favourite ‘golden oldies’ but they’re just easier to understand!
Also, I know there is so much more to them than grammar – so many vocabulary items, themes, pronunciation/connected speech examples that I can’t list them all here.
So in order of simplicity…
1. Present Simple
Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been. Lives in a dream. Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door. Who is it for?
Does he wash up? No he never washes up! Does he clean up? No he never cleans up!.
2. Present Continuous
Is it me you’re looking for?
I am sitting in the morning at the diner on the corner. I am waiting at the counter for the man to pour the coffee.
3. Present Perfect
I have climbed the highest mountains. I have run through the fields. Only to be with you. I have run. I have crawled. I have scaled these city walls. Only to be with you.
4. Present Perfect Continuous
Lately I’ve been thinking I want you to be happier.
So long I’ve been looking too hard I’ve been waiting too long. I’ve been waiting for a girl like you to come into my life. I’ve been waiting for someone new to make me feel alive.
5. ‘Will’ for promises
So I’ll go, but I know, I’ll think of you every step of the way.
6. ‘Will’ for predictions
Never mind I’ll find someone like you. Don’t forget me I beg, I’ll remember you said sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.
7. ‘Going to’ for plans and intentions
Next year, Things are gonna change. Gonna drink less beer and start all over again. Gonna pull up my socks. Gonna clean my shower. Not gonna live by the clock but get up at a decent hour. Gonna read more books. Gonna keep up with the news. Gonna learn how to cook and spend less money on shoes.
8. First Conditional
If you wait for me, then I’ll come for you. If you dream of me, if you miss me once in a while, then I’ll return to you. I’ll return and fill that space in your heart.
9. Second Conditional
Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven? Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
If I could, then I would. I’ll go wherever you will go.
If I were a rich man, ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I’d biddy biddy bum, if I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard, ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich, yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.
10. Future continuous
Wherever you go, whatever you do I will be right here waiting for you. Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks, I will be right here waiting for you.
Every move you make I’ll be watching you.
11. Past Simple
Well I found a girl beautiful and sweet. I never knew you were the someone waiting for me. ‘Cause we were just kids when we fell in love
I read the news today oh boy. About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad Well I just had to laugh. I saw the photograph.
12. Present Participles
What would I do without your smart mouth drawing me in, and you kicking me out. Got my head spinning, no kidding.
13. Should have + 3rd form: regrets
Bruno Mars – When I was your man
I should have bought you flowers and held your hand
I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key. If I’d known for just one second you’d back to bother me.
14. Could have + 3rd form: possibility in the past
Oh, I could have stayed at home and gone to bed. I could have gone to see a film instead. You might have changed your mind and seen your friends. Life could have been very different then.
15. Must have + 3rd form – modals of deduction in the past
I must have left my house at eight because I always do. My train, I’m certain, left the station just when it was due. I must have read the morning papers going into town. And having gotten through the editorials, no doubt I must have frowned. I must have made my desk around a quarter after nine with letters to be read, and heaps of papers waiting to be signed. I must have gone to lunch at half past twelve or so. And still on top of this I’m pretty sure it must have rained the day before you came.
So many to choose from here – Eminem was a big favourite with Rap God (too many explicit lyrics to post here sorry!)
17. Phrasal verbs and prepositions
Father wears his Sunday best. Mother’s tired, she needs a rest. The kids are playing up downstairs. Sister’s sighing in her sleep. Brother’s got a date to keep, he can’t hang around.
18. Pronunciation of ‘th’
Thunder th-th-thunder (repeat!)
19. Used to
Whatever happened to our love? I wish I understood. It used to be so nice. It used to be so good.
You didn’t have to stoop so low – have your friends collect your records and then change your number. Guess that I don’t need that though. Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.
As sly as a fox, as strong as an ox. As fast as a hare, as brave as a bear. As free as a bird, as neat as a word. As quiet as a mouse, as big as a house.
21. Word formation
When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily, oh joyfully, playfully watching me
22. I wish + past simple
I wish I was a little bit taller.I wish I was a baller
I wish I had a girl who looked good and if I did I would call her.
23. ‘A little’ (for uncountable nouns – see images below)
I need a little time – The Beautiful South (I need a little space, I need a little room, I found a little courage)
A little loving – Nicole (a little patience and understanding, a little sunshine, a little peace)
Got any more ideas? Please share in the comments below if there’s a song you use to teach English, or one that helped you learn English.
Thank you to everyone who contributed:
Liliana, Serife, Alimzhan, Shiny Sharma,Fatih akd, Mervan, Carollilian, Catsman, Cadore B, Lucasz, Mauu, Divyarajsinh, Uranbaigall, Oudghiririt, Waqas, Rina P, Alimorad, Hannie, Arun J Joseph, Yash T, Mohitturn, Afraz, Sunny E, Wisstud, Kulveer, Prabh K, Seinz, Pao C, Sagargupta, Yusuf, Adeep, Hossain SDM, ShimulJr, Deep Brarbra, Ngoc TT, Khatoonmasum, Mohit Sach, Miriam Z, Ablsw, Diene RC, Akshaya T, Dia Manta, Shirin, D, Bangarbh, Ciireeniit, Sonugarwal, Niijjar, Jas, Tiarma .H, Jujuxdiary, 24anshikaraj, Bazarbekov, Ramuneth, Amargoraya, Harold N, Yonnie, K., Mahi, M18, 3109, Teena R, Rinazhe, BGabriela, Destinoz,Ubaidarostomajla, Cmaoamri, Babak, Gutniskaya, gimorandi, Ilyasint, Mary SH, Mahta Nadafian, Akhilreekumar, Rodaynaashraf, Magdalinie, Manti Munoz, Saladinos, Ingram K, Saleem CH.
The British Council have their own version here!
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