Showing posts with label idioms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label idioms. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Pink- "What About Us"

Sometimes some of my students are taken over by a sudden and unpredictable mood swing: maybe the day after they were peaceful and heedful, whereas the next day they look like somber, inattentive and careless, if not rude, to others' concern. I don't know if the same has happened to you, but in many cases this is due to love woes, which can have a "dramatic" impact not only on my student but  on all the other friends he/she has in the class! At times they want to talk about their sufferings and disappointment, but usually they don't and they don't want even join my lesson. What will I do then? Here's my suggestion to create a more relaxing atmosphere in the class, not being too intrusive or regardless their emotional state: "What about us", a song written and sung by the US pop star Pink, which is perfect to understand the sensations one may prove after breaking up, as here you can find lots of words related to feelings. Furthermore this song is also suitable to learn and practice phrasal verbs and colloquial expressions and that's the focus of my activity today. 

Level: intermediate

Focus on: phrasal verbs and idioms

Activity: fill in the gap

Lyrics taken from: Google Play Music 


Friday, 18 April 2014

American Authors- "Best Day of My Life"

As soon as you listen to this song, you will find it extremely familiar and that's why it has been chosen as soundtrack for many important events, as suggested by Metrolyrics  and Wikipedia. You can use "Best Day of My Life" for any class, no matter your students' level or age, because it can be easily fitted to your needs. In this case I'm putting forward a quick lesson plan on idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs, too, but you could think of other possibilities, as well!

Level: pre-intermediate 

Grammar focus on: idioms & phrasal verbs

Activity: circle the right option

Lyrics taken from:


Let's talk about: positive feelings and sensations. 1) Can you remember the best day of your life? 2)How would you imagine the best day of your life? 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Katy Perry- "Unconditionally"

We often select Katy Perry's lyrics, as they're highly motivating for our students, being easily accessible and catchy and her last "Unconditionally" is no exception at all. Our activity today is conceived as a brainstorming activity, that allows our students to elicit their previous knowledge and prepare them to check if their predictions were right.

Level: beginner/ pre-intermediate

Grammar focus on: idiomatic expressions, phrases

Activity: before listening, circle the right option. Listen the song once (this time without text) and then listen it again and check against.

Lyrics taken from:


Let's talk about: 1) do you believe in eternal love?; 2) Do you like love songs?; 3) Have you ever dedicated a love song to someone?

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Asaf Avidan- "Love It or Leave it"

If you love fresh and innovative music, please keep an eye on Mr Asaf Avidan. His cosmopolitan upbringing along with the years spent travelling around the word are extraordinarily reflected on his "Love It or Leave It", which I am sure you will enjoy a lot!

Level: beginner

Grammar focus on: present simple vs. present continuous

Activity: fill in the gaps (with base form of the verbs provided between brackets)

Love It or Leave It

Lyrics taken from:


Linguistic aspects: why don't we brush up our knowledge on idioms today? This song is perfect to learn and practise some of them. Let's start from the title "Love It or Leave It" : elsewhere you can also find "Take It or Leave It", quite the same expression to be used when you have to accept or turn down an offer without any possibility of compromise

Secondly, you bite your tongue every time you have to refrain yourself from saying something unpleasant or annoying towards someone else

Thirdly, you roll up your sleeve if you decide to get down to work or do something, therefore activating yourself.

In addition to this, there are also several verbs used metaphorically: a) you thunder your cries in case you say something with an angry or loud tone of your voice, b) reasons are strung if you mean that your intentions were not successful and to conclude c) waters are streaming any time you realize that events in your life are unfolding very fast.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Jutty Ranx- "I See You"

A very special duo called "Jutty Ranx" has released this song, "I See You", a mix of dance, pop and Caribbean rhythms that I am sure you will appreciate. Such lyrics are captivating and so rich in phrasal verbs and idioms that I couldn't help but choosing them for the below section "Linguistic Aspects"!

Level: intermediate

Grammar focus on: phrasal verbs

Activity: fill in the gaps (no words provided)

I See You

Lyrics taken from:


Linguistic aspects : let's separate this section into two parts, one on phrasal verbs and the other on idioms.

To start with phrasal verbs, you break through when you force your way among obstacles. 
You see through something when you realize that something is not true and you don't accept to be cheated at all, whereas you see something through (pay attention to the different word order!) every time you continue doing that thing until it is accomplished.
Further, whenever you are trying to catch someone's attention, by annoying or upsetting him/her, you are clearly trying to get to him/her. Also you fall upon something as soon as your eyes are attracted by that and you begin to notice it.
On the contrary you get behind something if you cannot keep pace with it. This phrasal verb is generally used in terms of payments, meaning that you cannot pay regularly.
Finally you look back on something (this is an example of a three part phrasal verb) when you think about a person, a place or an event which happened in the past.

Equally important are the idiomatic expressions: who knows what a tunnel vision is? It is a medical condition that causes you to see only what is in front of you. Therefore you give a tunnel vision in case you have a narrow-minded view of life. What happens instead if you die on spot? It implies that you are unluckily dying immediately  or  right away. 
Going further, the expression " You cross the party line" is pronounced  when you go against the tide and you oppose the official policy or common opinion of the establishment. 
Besides a nice compliment to say to someone is: "You make me moves" if you want to say that he/she is motivating you and further your agenda.
Let's consider then the expression "something comes into focus", used to describe a phenomenon or event that at a certain moment can be seen or understood clearly by anyone.
Besides an interesting pun is "my heart is an open book" that conveys the meaning that it is easy to guess what I am thinking or feeling and later on "You just take it off the shelf": a product is in fact taken off the shelves when it is no longer sold. Here it signifies that my heart is leaping again for you after a long time.
Let's conclude today with the idiom "It doesn't cost a thing/ a fortune/ the earth/ a bomb!" intended as something that you can easily do with no effort or risk of your own.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Kate Perry- "Wide Awake"

Today's song will guide you through Kate Perry's fantastic world, as "Wide Awake" starts from her live performance to go to a younger version of herself, but only if you watch the "The Making Of...", which I'm going to post, you will appreciate it for once!

Level: intermediate

Grammar focus on: adjectives

Activity: gap fill (no items provided)

Wide Awake

Lyrics taken from:


Linguistic aspects: let's pay attention to the idioms of "Wide Awake". Firstly, if you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy. On the contrary, you are in a dangerous, threatening and unpleasant situation when you find yourself in the lion's den (literary a den is a shelter or lair for animals). 

Secondly, one is in the dark when he/she is in a state of ignorance (the opposite is to see clearly).
Thirdly, you can replace the expression with an open heart with the adjective open-hearted, meaning that someone is willing to express his feelings spontaneously.

Lastly, click on the following  "The Making Of" if you wish to improve your listening and learn more idioms, as well: 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Pink- "Raise Your Glass"

Pink's lyrics usually give me a thrill but this one seems like an energetic drink not only for its rhythm but also because it has a very interesting text from a linguistic point of view. By the way, Urban Dictionary has proved to be an excellent tool to understand the US slang and colloquial terms of the song and hereafter I will often refer to this updated dictionary written by a very large community that you can also emjoy and/or follow via Facebook and Twitter. So here's my suggestion to you: don't lose time, add it among your favourite online dictionaries!

Level: upper-intermediate / advanced

Grammar focus on: adjectives

Activity: circle the right option exercise

Raise Your Glass

Lyrics taken from:


Linguistic aspects: let's start right from the title of the lyrics, "Raise Your Glass", i.e. an invitation to drink together with someone and celebrate his/her success, happiness, health, etc. What's a dealeo? Urban Dictionary explains that is an Idaho expression for closing a tupper ware sales.
Let's pass now to informal expressions: if you are underdogs, it means here that you have little money and you feel depressed. The nitty-gritty is a detail that you have to specify. Besides the word gangster is here used to make reference to an illitterate inhabitant of a downtrodden ghetto who hangs around in gangs.
In conclusion let's analyse an idiomatic expression: if you are too school for cool you are very committed and prefer education or work over social life and friends.

If you want to know more about other informal expressions, please go to

Monday, 9 July 2012

Muse- "Survival"

How could I resist to dealing with the Olympic Games just around the corner? So that's the reason why today we are going to listen to Muse's anthem, "Survival". Written by Matthew Bellamy as official song for the London 2012 Olympics, it is going to reach your ears quickly, as it will be broadcast  every time  the athletes enter the stadium before the medal ceremonies and while the international journalists will be reporting the sport events (Wikipedia explains it very well).
 In my opinion this song is simply gorgeous: the more you will listen to it, the more you will love it!

Level: beginner

Grammar focus on: phrasal verbs, idiomatic expressions

Activity:  fill-in-the gap (pool of items provided)


Lyrics taken from:


"Survival" was premiered last 27th June on BBC Radio 1 followed by  Zane Lowe's  interview to Muse available at

Linguistic aspects: to start with, a race is a competition. You can take your vengeance when someone who has previously tried to harm you or your family becomes finally punished or you wish he/she had become.

You pull someone ahead when you do something well or better than him/her.
Generally you keep up with someone or , as Muse say,  you keep up the pace with somebody  when you move at the same speed as him/her or, more figuratively, when you learn or make headway at his/her speed.

To end with, it is interesting to focus on I will light the fuse, an expression hat originally refers to the electrical practice to let a string burn slowly before exploding. In the journalistic writing it is used metaphorically every time a dangerous or angry situation is getting worse, however in these lyrics I guess it means simply that you really want to succeed and make all the difference to the other competitors.

Of course I wouldn't get out without posting the link to the extraordinary official London 2012 website: Please don't miss the "What's on" section (which I am sure will delight those among you who don't care about sport at all)!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Scissor Sisters- "Only the Horses"

Are you ready to revise all the English verbal forms? Right then, you are at the right place!"Only The Horses" offers you the chance to work not only on comphrehension, but also on the ability to recognise different tenses. In this case you don't need to check your results against the original lyrics (although I post the link all the same to!) but simply open your grammar book or go to the links recommended on the right ban of this blog.
I hope you enjoy this activity :-)

Level: intermediate

Grammr focus on: revision of tenses

Activity: Only The Horses

Lyrics taken from:


Cultural hints: to understand the importance that horses have always had in the British culture, have a look at: where you' ll find lots of idiomatic expressions related to this animals!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Snoop Dogg- "Young, Wild & Free"

Today I am going to suggest an "energetic" hit: "Young, Wild & Free". I am sure all teenagers will love it! Anyway it can be studied above all by students with an advanced knowledge of English, as this song proposes lots of US colloquial words that are part of the youngsters' slang and are not usually dealt with at school. So why don't you try?

Level: advanced

Grammar focus on colloquial English

Activity: exercises on vocabulary

Young, Wild and Free

Lyrics taken from:

Video taken from: