The Top 10 Conditionals Song Lyrics





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Uploaded on Jul 11, 2009

10 clips of lyrics in four different conditional tenses (zero, first, second and third). Suitable for Intermediate+ level

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The songs are arranged in order to vary era, style and grammatical content.

Lesson plan 1
Give students the first half of each conditional and in pairs or groups get them to predict the second part. Help them with vocabulary and form and encourage them to be creative!

If I never had a cent...
If it hadn't been for Cotton-Eye Joe...
If my true love he was gone....
If I get locked up tonight...
If I can't have you
If you go...
If you don't know me by now....
If I knew you were coming....
If I were a boy...
If you leave me now...

Go over the predictions in open class and correct any errors. Then play the video and compare their answers to the real ones.

An optional extra before watching the video could be to give them some of the artists names and get them to match them to their predictions. They probably won't know all of them so it would be best to get them to guess which one belongs to just a few of them: Frank Sinatra (clue: cent-American currency), Eminem (clue: going to prison), Beyoncee (they'll all know that one). Or get them to match their predictions to a genres: rap, pop, rock, swing, dance and country.

Lesson plan 2
Students listen the first time and see how many of the artists they can name (If it's an adult class). Alternatively, for higher levels they could listen the first time and write down as much as they can understand.

The second time they can watch the video with the subtitles and then decide which conditional each song is.

[zero conditional]
if+ present tense, present tense

[First Conditional]
if + present tense, will/can/might/must + infinitive

[Second conditional]
if + past simple, would + infinitive

[Third conditional]
If + had + past participle, would + have + past participle


I have only subtitled the conditional part of the lyrics but in some songs you can hear more. This is to draw attention to only the conditionals and to give the students time to think about them.

2,8)[Second Conditional]
show two versions "if I were" "If (he) was"

9,3)" I'd've" double contractions, "I would have"

3) "If I knew you were coming", doesn't strictly follow the rules of the third conditional "If I had known", but this is the reality of how native speakers use the language. The second line "had you dropped me a letter" does follow the rule. (had you = if you had).

10) Frank SInatra, The Sunny Side of the Street
9) Rednex, Cotton-Eye Joe
8) The Silencers, Wild Mountain Thyme
7) Eminem, If I get Locked up Tonight
6) Yvonne Elliman, If I Can't Have You
5) The Pixies, Hey
4) Simply Red, If You Don't Know Me by Now
3) Gracie Fields, If I Knew You Were Coming I'd've Baked a Cake
2)Beyoncee, If I Were a Boy
1) Chicago, If You Leave Me Now

The opening music is from Flight of the Conchords.


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