Learning English with Music: Somebody that I USED TO Know (Goyte)

I know you have all heard this song. It’s repeated on the radio numerous times a day, there are hundreds of youtube covers, and it has had more than 30 remixes from house music to dubstep.

The haunting melody of the song is so repetitive you probably find yourself humming it over and over again. But do you know the lyrics? Well, you are going to learn them right now.

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I’m going to turn this slightly repetitive song into an interesting and fun English lesson that you will never forget.

In this article you are going to discover how to use used to, learn some cool new vocabulary and common expressions related to break ups, and sing along to work on your pronunciation, that’s right, all that in 1 song.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the crazy clip.

[su_youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY” width=”700″][media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY” width=”600″ height=”400″][/su_youtube]

SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW (What is used to?)

Before we get too far into the vocabulary, you are going to learn about USED TO. You probably noticed it in the title and the main part of the chorus, I think he repeats it about 100 times.

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
SOMEBODYYYYY

USED TO

Used to is an auxiliary we use to talk about habits and routines we did in the past that we don’t do now. Just like we use the simple present to talk about current routines, we use the used toauxiliary to talk about past routines. Let’s compare the two tenses.

  • I listen to music everyday / I used to listen to music every day (when I worked less)
  • I like eating fast food / I used to like eating fast food (When I was a teenager)
  • Somebody that I know/ Somebody that I used to know (when they were dating)

When we make a reference to time, we always use an era of your life that has passed, not 1 specific time in the past.

I CAN’T SAYI used to play football this morning/yesterday/last week

The reason for this is because a specific time in the past is referring to just one action, not a habit or routine that happened repetitively. Used to, is referring to a repetitive action that happened during a different time in your life. Let’s compare used to with the simple past.

  • I walked to class yesterday (one time)/ I used to walk to class when I didn’t have a bike (repetitive action in past)
  • He played in the last World Cup (one event in the past)/ He used to play for the Brazilian national team (repetitive action in past)

Common time references for used to are:
When I was a child/ a teenager/ in prison I used to have long hair.
When I lived in Australia/ in that neighbourhood/ with my parents I
used to drive a car.

When using used to for a question or in the negative form, we simply take away the –ed from used and use the auxiliary verb DID/DIDN’T.

  • Did you use to live in Japan?
  • Did she use to know him?
  • I didn’t use to like that band.
  • She didn’t use to have long hair

Note* When used with the verb to be, it has a different meaning. We are talking about something we are accustomed to, for example.  

  • I am used to the weather in Brazil
  • They are used to waking up early

 

                                         Verse 1

Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

                                         Verse 2

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So, when we found that we could not make sense
Well, you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad that it was over

RELATIONSHIP EXPRESSIONS USED IN THE SONG

For the last verse, and the extended part of the chorus, you will notice he’s used a lot of expressions related to his bad break up. Nearly all of these expressions have a negative connotation, but hey, that’s life.

Look through to see how many of them you already know, then check the definitions below.

Note* The explanations are in reference to how he uses them in the song. Some of these expressions can have other uses and meanings.

                               Verse 3

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over1
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way, reading into2 every word you say
You said that you could let it go3
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up4 on somebody that you used to know

1. Screw someone over– To take advantage of someone, lie to someone, cheat on someone.
“His ex-wife really screwed him over when she got the house in the divorce.”

2. Read into something– To find more information about a subject or what someone says. In some cases it can mean the person has changed the meaning of your words.
“She always reads into my words, when I said I wanted a break, she thought I was breaking up with her.”

3. To let go
– To release; forget about a negative thought.
“I can’t let go of the fact that he stole her records.”

4. Hung up– When your mind is stuck on something; you can’t stop thinking about something.
“He’s really hung up on that girl.”

Chorus

But you didn’t have to cut me off5
Make out6 like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No, you didn’t have to stoop so low7
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need, that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

5. Cut someone off– To totally eliminate that person form your life.
“She cut him off. She doesn’t answer any of his calls or messages.”

6. Make out– To act; pretend.
“He was making out that he was ok, but I know he was really sad.”

7. Stoop so low– To do something with no morality.
“I can’t believe she stooped so low as to poison his dog for revenge.”

Now that you understand the vocabulary of this great Australian song, the next step is to start singing it.

Don’t forget how much music can help your English learning in areas besides vocabulary. In repeating and imitating songs and singers, you are developing the flow of the language, and ultimately making your English sound more natural.

And what about you? What song would you like to read about? What songs do you know that are both fun and helpful for English learners?

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