Things that you have to do to survive

There are many things that we have to do to survive in society.

Do we have to hide our love?

John Lennon says that:

You’ve got to hide your love away

in the song of the same name.

Question

What do you think he meant?

Sometimes love is taboo. If you love another person’s husband or wife, love is not allowed. If you are gay and it is illegal in your society, you have to hide your love.

What do you think John Lennon meant?

Personal “you” and General “you”

“You” has two meanings. It can refer to you personally:

Do you speak English?

or “people in general”:

How do you pronounce this word?

How do people pronounce this word?

How do you get to the station from here?

How can anybody get the station?

Listen to the song and read the lyrics and write your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of the page?

An Analysis of the Language

Let’s analyse the language that Lennon used in this classic Beatles’ song.

You’ve got to hide your love away
You have got to hide your love away.
You have to hide your love away.
You must hide your love away.

Each of the four variations have the same meaning.

Contractions

The first one is a contraction of the second one:

You’ve got to hide

You have got to hide

Have Got

“Have got” is a present perfect form of “have” as in possession from American English, which has colonised the rest of the language.

Originally people said:

I have a car

but

I have got a car

has replaced it in many varieties of English.

Have and Must

These two phrases are roughly parallel:

You have to hide your love away.
You must hide your love away.

“Must” is a little more formal and perhaps stronger than “have to” but the difference is of around 1 to 5 per cent so the two phrases are extremely similar.

Obligations, Necessities and Duties

Must” and “have to” belong to the vocabulary of necessity, obligation and duty.

Learn more about them at this link: Obligations

John Lennon and Love

Why did John Lennon say that we have to hide our love away?

Some things that we have to do are concrete physical things like finding food and water and shelter. Some things that we have to do are social or emotional things that we have to do to survive in society.

But why do we have to hide our love?

Perhaps, when he wrote the song, he felt that life is tough and people are weak and vulnerable and they have to adopt a tough exterior to survive.

What do you think?

Phrasal Verbs

Did you notice that the verb “to hide something away” is a phrasal verb?

Look at these variants:

to hide something
to hide something away

Lennon could have written:

You have got to hide your love

and the loss of the word “away” would not have changed the meaning.

The phrasal verb “to hide something away” is more American in tone.

The Influence of American English

American English is the language of the largest economy and the most dominant military power in the world. Of course it has had and continues to have a major influence on world culture and language. Over time we see the increasing modification of other forms of English to mimic American forms.

Follow the Links to More Lessons

Phrasal Verbs Story

Vocabulary is the Key

Types of Verbs – Living and Dying
Obligations

Liverpool Accent
Modals of Deduction

The Law page – Things you are not Allowed to do

Art and Love
Present Perfect Tense

The Water Car

The Thing Page

Link to Listening Lessons

Beatles’s Songs

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