4 Songs to AVOID in your ESL class!

4 Songs to AVOID in your ESL class!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Using songs in ESL classes is a tried and true method. It’s a fantastic way of learning new words and teaching grammar points . Students of all ages love listening to music and it makes a dull grammar class fun and engaging. But you need to be careful of the songs you use. The following songs are ones that you should avoid using in class.

“Get Me Bodied” Beyoncé

Umm…what is bodied?

Lyric – “a little sweat ain’t never hurt nobody”

Bad Grammar Alert 1 – Not only is “aint’” not a word, she said “ain’t never”, meaning “not none”

Bad Grammar Alert 2 – Everybody knows that there shouldn’t be more than one negative in a sentence, and then she ends it with “nobody”

Lyric – ” when we conversate”
Bad Grammar Alert 3 – “conversate” isn’t a word, the verb is “converse”

“Just The Way You Are” Bruno Mars

Lyric – It’s so sad to think that she don’t see what I see.

Bad Grammar Alert – The lyric should be “She doesn’t see”

“What Makes You Beautiful” One Direction

Lyric –
Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you….
Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed


Bad Grammar Alert 1 – “Everyone else but you”: It is redundant and incorrect to say “but you” in this sentence because the meaning is already implied by the phrase “everyone ELSE”.

Bad Grammar Alert 2 – “The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed”: It should be “I am overwhelmed by the way that you flip your hair” or “The way that you flip your hair overwhelms me”. The correct use of “overwhelm” is as a transitive verb and not an adjective describing a state or condition. So something can overwhelm a person or a person may be overwhelmed by something, but it is incorrect to say that something can get a person into an “overwhelmed state”.

“Under The Sea” – The Little Mermaid (Disney)

Lyric – What more is you looking for?

Bad Grammar Alert – It should be “What more ARE you looking for.”

I guess if you really love these songs though, you COULD use them as an example of BAD English grammar! Teach the students the rules and then show them how we break them in the name of “artistry.”


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