Beyonce Teaches English Conditionals: If I Were a Boy… (Vocabulary Below)

Song: If I Were a Boy

Artist: Beyonce

Words to the song: In video


In the following song, Beyonce uses a lot of conditionals.

Ex: If I were a boy….

Notice that she uses the third conditional.  This form shows what isn’t real in the present.  It looks like past tense but it’s different.  Here the use of the past tense shows unreality.  Actually, the verb “to be” is an exception because you have two options: you can say, “If I was” (past) or “If I were” (subjunctive).  With other verbs in the third conditional only the past is possible.

Roll out of bed – a very common, casual way of saying “get out of bed” or “get up”

To throw on _____ –  another common and causal phrase meaning to put on clothes

To chase – to pursue – often while running.

Ex: Dogs chase cats.

To kick it – street English for relax

Ex: Tonight let’s kick it at home – I don’t feel like going out.

To stick up for – standard English for “defend” a person – often verbally

Ex: When I was young, I often had to stick up for my little brother in our neighborhood.

Swear – to promise very seriously

‘Cause – short for “because”

To take for granted – to not appreciate

Ex: When we are children, we take all of our parents hard work for granted.

To put something first – to make it a priority

Faithful –  devoted and not have other lovers

Ex: Bill Clinton was not faithful to his wife.

Come back –  a phrasal verb for “return”

To for forgive – accept someone’s apology


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