Monthly Archives: February 2012

Lesson Idea: Edit the Lyrics

Some song lyrics are notorious for their semantic or syntactic errors. These errors can be used in the ESL classroom as editing exercises to reinforce learning certain elements such as subject-verb agreement, pronoun errors (subject, object, reflexive, personal, relative, etc.), verb tenses (e.g. present progressive vs. simple present), adjective-adverb confusion, spelling, redundancy, confusing words (lie vs. lay, rise vs. raise, etc.), made up words to make a rhyme.

The ability to find mistakes committed by native speakers is very empowering for second language learners and the fact that the students get to listen to the songs as well is an obvious bonus.

Here are some examples:

I believe in the power of you and I (Nikki Yanofsky, “I Believe”) pronouns

Me and some guys from school/ Had a band and we tried real hard (Bryan Adams, “Summer of 69″) pronouns, adjective-adverb confusion

But that’d change if she ever found out about you and I (Bryan Adams, “Run to You”) pronouns

There’s a wren in a willow wood/Flies so high and sings so good (Anne Murray, “A Love Song”) adjective-adverb confusion

Believe it or not everyone have things that they hide (Nickelback, “Believe it or Not”) Subject-verb agreement

Coined words:

conversate (Beyonce, “Get me Bodied”)

bestest (Gwen Stefani, “Bubble Pop Electric”)

See this website for a hundreds of other examples.