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, 14 April 2013

Bruno Mars- "When I Was Your Man"

This week we listen to a great heart-rending ballad sung by Bruno Mars, "When I Was Your Man", the latest hit released from his lucky "Unorthodoxy Jukebox". Here I decided to work on conjunctions but the lyrics can be also useful if you wish to teach or learn phrasal verbs, US colloquial English, present continuous and so on.

Level: elementary

Grammar focus on: conjunctions

Activity: fill in the gaps exercise (non prompts provided)

When I Was Your Man

Lyrics taken from:


Linguistic aspects: let's take a close look at the verbs and at the phrasal verbs that you find in the song. Firstly, talking of you tears me down is an other way of saying that talking of you makes me feel very sad. Broadly speaking, this verb is referred to a structure or a part of it collapsing down. 
Secondly, I should have given you all my hours is to say that I wish I had devoted myself to you, i.e. a regret expressed for something that wasn't done in the past.
Thirdly, someone walks out of your life when he/she leaves you alone and goes away perhaps even when you need him/her most or you grapple with a difficult situation.
Fourthly, if a friend suggests that you should clean up the mess, he is clearly telling you that you should put your life into order
We conclude by quoting "it haunts me every time I close my eyes", where the verb haunt means that the very thought of my ex-girlfriend is always on my mind.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Robbie Williams- "Be A Boy"

As stated by Robbie Williams himself, "Be A Boy" is definitely "a song of empowerment".  Everytime I select one of Robbie Williams' songs, I have to puzzle a lot over the meaning of his lyrics and sometimes, even after a long time, I really enjoy reading teachers' comments whether it is a good idea or not to propose them to teenagers. Honestly, I think that it is a personal choice based on their audience and more specifically, they have to ask themselves whether their students are already well motivated or not. And what's more they need to consider if their pupils are sensible and mature enough to deal with spicier let me know!

Level: pre-intermediate

Grammar focus on: reported and direct speech

Activity: fill in the blanks exercise + turn reported into direct speech

Be A Boy

Lyrics taken from:


Linguistic aspects: I would like to say only a few words about this song, starting exactly from bout, usually used as a noun to refer to a very short period that someone can devote entirely to himself. Here I guess it is a colloquial form for "about", but I am not so sure!

Secondly, you carve your name into the street when you become very important and a whole street is named after you!Yet, in English you can also say that a plan, idea or suggestion is carved in stone or on tablets of stone if it has been fixed and cannot be changed for any reason.

Finally, the expression it takes a big man to be someone is probably a quotation of an other saying or song that means that without someone who is very rich and powerful at your back, you cannot become famous.