We’ve talked a lot about how music is one of the best ways to support, even enhance your language-learning experience here on the blog, and in our Saturday Morning Music series. Now, Miranda González shares with us a creative way to learn some of the many idioms that the English language has in store for its learners – good advice for any language you’re learning, really.
Guest post by Miranda González
As an English learner, you have to dedicate a fair amount of time to learning idioms because there are just SO MANY of them. And of course, since there is no formula to build an idiom or predict the structure or the meaning, you are basically stuck memorizing them. You can make lists and flashcards, and sure, that works, but let me recommend one of my preferred methods: music. I’ve picked a list of six songs that repeat a common idiom in the chorus. (So much so, in fact, that you may never be able to forget the song or the idiom!) These catchy songs will get the idiom stuck in your brain, and the repetition will help you improve your own English pronunciation. Happy listening!
1. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
Idiom: To hear (it) through the grapevine
Meaning: To hear information from someone who heard it from someone else ( you didn’t hear it directly from the source)
Example: I heard through the grapevine that you were getting married.
2. “Take It Easy” by the Eagles
Idiom: To take it easy
Meanings: 1. to rest and relax 2. to be calm and not get too excited or angry 3. used as an informal goodbye
Example: Since you injured yourself at the gym, you should probably take it easy for the next few days.
3. “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake
Idiom: To cry someone a river
Meaning: (Used sarcastically) to cry excessively in someone’s presence to obtain sympathy
Example: You’re sad that I dumped you? Please! You should have treated me better. Why don’t you just cry me a river?
4. “Taking Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Idiom: To take care of business
Meaning: To do what needs to be done
Example: I don’t really want to go to work today, but you have to take care of business, right?
5. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
Idiom: To beat it
Meaning: To leave immediately (usually used as an order)
Example: I told you not to come around here. Beat it!
6. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Guns N’ Roses
Idiom: To knock on/at heaven’s door
Meaning: To be close to death, to be dying
Example: Our dog is over 15 years old, and he’s pretty sick. He’s knocking on heaven’s door.
Miranda is an English and Spanish teacher. Find her free English classes on Facebook every weekday at LiveEnglish with Livemocha. She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, where she and her husband are raising two bilingual children.