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Bang Bang – you shot me down

Guns and Shooting

This is a complex song. “Bang bang” is the sound a gun makes whe children play. What is the sound a child makes when he fires a toy gun in your language?

The singer reflects on a childhood game of shooting guns. Later she talks about wedding bells. Is she reflecting on a childhod love?

What do you make of the song? What do you think it is about?

It is not about the money!

Children play cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians because of Hollywood influence.

Society is so violent. People shoot each other. Why can’t we all learn to live together?
Why can’t we learn to understand each other and learn to love each other?

How can we solve this problem?

Link to a conversation with children.

The Original Version without Lyrics

You have listenind and read the lyrics. Now try to sing along without reading. Focus on your ears this time, rather than your eyes.

Now sing along with Nancy Sinatra

Listening to Songs to Learn English

Was this lesson helpful? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below.

Here are some links to more songs:

I have never seen anything like you.

Please pick up the telephone

Time after Time

How long do we have left?

Which way should we go?

I want to break Free

Can you see clearly?

How does she know that you love her?

Do you have a dream?

Man in Black

You are Beautiful.

What song are you listening to?

Share your thoughts...

What do you know about Adani?

Adani is a huge mining company which wants to start the largest open-cut coal mine in the southern hemisphere.

What do you know about this company?

Listening Comprehension Questions

Watch the video and write answers to the questions in the comments section below.

How many mines does the company plan to build?
How big will they be in area?
What type of mines will they be?
Where will they be located?

Public Debate

“Public debate” means “public discussion” about current issues which concern all citizens of the planet.

Join the discussion and tell us what you know in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Research Questions

What is the difference between open cut mining and underground mining?
Does the world need more coal?
Is it possible to end the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels?

If you do not have first-hand knowledge, you can use wikipedia to research your answers.

Link to information about Adani on Getup

Link to Adani website

Share your thoughts...

Songs about Money

We live in age of rampant materialism. What can we do about it?

How can we change it?

It is not about the money

When we say “it is not about the money” or “it is not about the car”” or it is not about the dog” we mean “that is not the whole point” or “that is not the focus of what we want to say”.

Price Tags

“Everybody has got a price” means “everybody is for sale”.

Do you think everybody has got a price? Is everybody for sale?

How has money come to dominate the world?

What can we do about it?


“He can’t sleep at night” means “He has a guilty conscience because he did something wrong and he is not following the dictates of his soul”.

Do you sleep well at night?

Here is a version from the original singer:

Try and sing along with her.

Learning to sing in English is a great way to learn vocabulary and also pronuciation and intonation and to get a feel for the language and the cultural context. Language is connected to culture and ideas and you can get lost in the content and forget the medium. Stop thinking about English – just use it and be happy. Lose yourself in the song.

A Version from Bulgaria

Here is another version of the song:

A Different Point of View

Abba has another song about money. Check it out. Read the lyrics and the answer the questions below.

What were the two songs called?
Which song is older?
Which song is in favour of money?
Which song is against money?
How do you feel about money?

Write your answers in the comments section below.

Link to the Money Page

Share your thoughts...

Would you like to be a Flight Attendant?

Passive Voice

A flight attendant is trained to handle anything from the routine to …

Check to see that your seatbelts are securely fastened.

to the terrifying.

Open your seat belts! Get out!

and when that happens, training saves lives.

They call it boot-camp. And we are … I mean … merciless.

First Conditional with “going to”

I am going to feel like a huge failure if I do get sent home today.

Before any flight attendant takes off she must be prepared for the possibilites no-one likes to think about.

Because keeping passengers comfortable is easy. Keeping them safe: That is the hard part.

The preparation begins at flight attendant school.

In this episode of Flight Attendant School:

Reason for Removal

One out of every three of our students will be removed because they cannot maintain our academic requieremnt or meet the standards of conduct.

I am afraid we are going to have to let you go tonight. We will have to escort you out of the building.

Denver Colorado

Home to Denver International Airport.

Keep listening. Do not worry if you do not understand the whole text. Listening is a complex skill. Identify the phrases you know. Do not worry about the phrases that you do not know. Go!

Share your thoughts...

Do you like to dance?

Is dancing popular in your society?

This song is about a young girl dancing at a disco. She is “having the time of her life”. She is very happy. She is young and beautiful and happy. She is in the prime of her life.

Have your attitudes changed as you have grown older? Are you the same person now that you were were ten years ago, twenty years ago, more ..? Tell us about your thoughts on age-ing and the stages of life. Is youth the best?

Write your opinion in the comments section below. How did the song make you feel? Did it remind you of something?


Some people say dancing is the oldest art. Is there traditional dancing in your society? Do men and women dance togther? How is modern dancing different from folk dancing?

Link to the art page

Share your thoughts...

Can you see clearly?

The Rain as a Metaphor

We can say “the rain is gone or “the rain has gone”.

We use the metaphor of a bright clear day with the sun shining to describe our feeling. How does the song make you feel Does it make you happy?

Tell us how you feel in the comments section.

Future “going to”

We say “gonna” instead of “going to” but we do not usually write it in academic or formal language. It is common in speech and in songs.

You can find more examples of this tense at this link:

Future Going to tense

Share your thoughts...

How does she know that you love her?

How does she know that you love her?

Don’t sing. Let’s just walk.

He knows the song too.

Present Perfect Tense

I have never heard this song.

Really nice work.

Ok. That is it.

Idiom – take somebody for granted

It is not enough to take the one you love for granted.

How do I know he loves me?

How do I know he cares?

Present Participle

Sending flowers when the sky is gray.

A little bit every day.

That is how you know.


I have seen quite enough. Let’s go.

You’ve got to show her that you need her.

Everybody wants to live happily ever after.

Everybody wants to know that true love is real.

Take these flowers to Nancy. Please.

What are you? Crazy? They are birds. They don’t know where she lives.

That’s how you know.

The Importance of Love

How important is love?

Link to the Love Page

Share your thoughts...

Do you have a dream?


“to cope” is the infinitive form of the verb.

Link to infinitive lesson

Crossing the Stream

A strream is a small river.


The song talks about believing in angels.

Do you believe in angels?


How important are dreams? And what exactly are dreams?

Some people say dreams are just mental garbage. They are just random images from your waking life.

Other people say that they are messages from another world. Some believe they are messages from your soul.

The Meanings of the Word – Dream

In English the word “dream” has two distinct meanings. One meaning is the mental images which we remember when we wake. They are the experiences we remember while asleep and they stay in our minds a while after we wake up but they often vanish quickly.
The other meaning of the word is “objective” or “ambition”.

If you have something you really want, it can be a dream or vision or goal.

What is your dream?

Tell us in the comments section below.

Are you familiar with the Martin Luther King speech?

I have a Dream

Link to Historical Materials

Share your thoughts...

Trading – Gambling or Investing

In this lesson we are going to look at two short videos. The first one is an anti-gambling advertisement by the Victorian Government. It is aimed at gambling addicts or problem gamblers.

gambling addicts
problem gamblers
people who have a problem with gambling

The second video is an advertisement for online trading. This advertisement is for a company called IG which provides trading in financial derivatives.

online trading
trading stocks
trading financial derivatives

Perspectives on Gambling

Note how one video portrays gambling as a problem but the other video glorifies gambling as a glorious exciting occupation. The first film shows images of a woman playing on slot machines or fruit machines but the second film portrays a man on a mountainside, in a lake and other natural places. Let’s watch the first video.

Questions About the Video

What type of gambling is pictured in the film?
Who is the film aimed at?
Is gambling portrayed positively or negatively?

Anti-Gambling Advertisement

Karl was always at work
He was never home.

a bit of fun at the pokies (poker machines – slot machines)

I won at first
I sold the watch he bought me, but he didn’t notice.

I even sold Gran’s things.

Jenny was worried about me.
She told her dad.

He was going to leave.

I decided I really needed help.

And listened.

Is On-line Trading Different from Gambling?

Before we look at the next advertisement let’s ask, is online trading or retail trading in financial derivatives a form of gambling? What do you think?

What type of gambling is pictured in the film?
Who is the film aimed at?
Is gambling portrayed positively or negatively?

Now look at the advertisement:

Advertisement for Prospective Traders

to be a trader
you need that spark inside
the courage … vision .. determination … and insight
the eye to see opportunity
and the wit to seize the right one
especially when it is right in front of you.
That is what it means to be a trader.
That is what it means to trade.

What do you think about gambling? Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.

Share your thoughts...

I have never seen anything like you

Non – Standard Language

I have never seen anything like you.
I have never seen nothing like you.

“anyone” focuses more emphasis on the identity of the person as a person, as opposed to as a thing.

I have never seen anyone like you.
I have never seen anything like you.

Present Perfect Tense

Note the pattern:

I have seen ….
I have seen
I have seen …

But I have never seen …

Present Simple Tense

Do you do you want my love?

Do you, do you want …. ?

Listening with Partial Comprehension

When you listen it is not necessary to understand one hundred per cent. Partial listening leads to full comprehension in time. But you have to start by actively listening. Listen to the parts you know.

Listen to the parts you recognise.
Then try to work out the parts that you do not know. Do it several times.

Link to more songs:

Man in Black

How Long do we have left?
You are beautiful
Do you know the Way to San Jose?
Time After Time

Link to Vocabulary Tests

Link to Real Conversations

Share your thoughts...