Listening to music is one of the best ways to learn English idioms. Songs often explain feelings and communicate ideas in a more creative and poetic way. They don't just say "our relationship is over." Instead, they say that it's at the "end of the road." Here are 4 popular songs from the 1990s that have commonly used English idioms in the title.
Have you heard these songs before? Do you know what the idioms mean? Since native speakers often uses these expressions, it's important to understand what they mean, even if you don't use them yourself.
Idiom: End of the Road
The idioms "end of the road" and "end of the line" mean the end of a long process. That process could be the a project at work, a long trip, or the end of a relationship.
It's the end of a relationship that Boyz II Men sing about in their song "End of the Road." They don't want the relationship to end, and wonder if there's a chance to save it. What do you think about the song? Is it too sweet, or do you find it romantic? By the way, this was one of my favorite groups when I was 10 years old. I even had their CD, as that was back when people actually owned CDs instead of having their music on their smartphone.
Idiom: Live and Learn
When do people use the expression "live and learn"? Usually it's after someone has experienced something bad. Perhaps they planned a camping trip but forgot to bring a lighter for the campfire. Maybe they bought a car from a stranger without checking to see if it actually worked. The saying basically implies that, yes, something bad happened, but that's life and you should learn from your mistakes. What do you think about this saying? Is it helpful?
Rapper Joe Public sings about this idiom, asking you to examine your life and see if you are really learning while you are living. Do you like it? I really enjoy bobbing my head to the beat.
Idiom: Out of My Head
The idiom "out of my head" means that you are crazy or out of control. It basically means that you aren't thinking straight.
In this Fastball song, they wonder why they were acting the way they did. Was it really them, or were they out of their head?
Idiom: Closing Time
"Closing time" refers to win a bar or restaurant closes for the day. It's a typical expression that you will hear if you spend time late at night in American bars. Does that sound like something you would do if you visited the US?
I really like this song by Semisonic. It was a really popular song when I was in high school, and was often the last song played at parties and school dances. Had you heard it before? What do you think about it?
It's definitely possible to explain all of these ideas without idioms. However, native speakers use them quite often, so they are important to learn. Remember, though, that you can always ask the person to repeat themselves and explain the meaning if you don't understand what they are talking about.
Time to Practice!
Practice using these idioms by writing sentences with them:
1 - end of the road
2 - live and learn
3 - out of my head
4 - closing time
Do you have any other questions about the song or video? Any ideas for songs I should teach in the future? Let me know!
All the Songs!
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