Backstreet Boys, 1997
This grammar-based lesson for levels high beginning and up is a companion to the one for Sam Cooke’s song “Wonderful World.” You can do either lesson first. Like the lesson for “Wonderful World,” this lesson gives students practice using noun clauses without making it necessary to go into lengthy explanations or even using the words noun clause. The song that culminates the lesson,”As Long As You Love me,” repeats three simple noun clauses—who you are, where you’re from, what you did–and its chorus is easy (and fun) to sing.
Choose from the following activities:
Note: If you choose to explain what a noun clause is, you might find this definition from the website of the British Council helpful:
A noun clause is a clause that is used in the same way as a noun or a pronoun. Example: I know what he was doing there. A way for learners to identify a noun clause is for them to change the noun clause for ‘it’, ‘he’ or ‘she’ and see if it still works. Noun clauses are a useful area to explore with more advanced learners, who can make their language more sophisticated by extending the complexity of noun clauses they use.
- Pre-Listening Practice writing statements with simple noun clauses. In this worksheet, for levels high beginning and up, students ask questions about a Martian who shows up at a party. Permission granted to duplicate for classroom use.
- Listening Listen to the song while reading the lyrics below. (An audio-only version is on YouTube.) The lyrics are intended for nonprofit educational purposes only.
- Listening Listen to the song again. Sing the words in bold on the lyrics sheet. They are all noun clauses.
- Post-Listening Watch an official video of a live performance. (This performance is from 2016, almost 20 years after the song was originally released, so the Backstreet “Boys” are now grown men.) Sing along when you hear these three noun clauses: who you are; where you’re from; what you did. I printed out the three clauses in large font on individual pieces of paper (see below) and held them up at the appropriate times, using them as cue cards. Most of my students sang not just the three noun clauses, but the whole chorus.
- Post-Listening If you teach higher levels, you could use this lesson as an introduction to noun clauses, following up, for example, with Chapter 12 in Azar’s Understanding and Using Grammar. You could accompany an intermediate-level grammar lesson with the Twenty One Pilots song “Stressed Out,” which has many noun clauses. You’ll find punctuated, annotated lyrics in the Lesson Plan for this song.