A Song containing Relative Clauses – by Shakira: #3

SHAKIRA sings a song called You’re the One which contains  several Relative Clauses. They are highlighted in bold in the lyrics below.

A Relative Clause is a part of a sentence which contains (at least one) Independent Clause and (at least one) Dependent Clause. An Independent Clause is okay by itself – it doesn’tShakira-school-inauguration-colombia-650-430 need help; just like an independent person. A Dependent Clause is not okay by itself – it needs help because it is not finished. Let’s look at one of the sentences in the song:

You’re the one  I need.

This sentence contains an Independent Clause“You’re the one.” This is a complete sentence because it has a subject and a verb and meaning.

This sentence also contains a Dependent Clause – “I need.” This is not a complete sentence. It has a subject and a verb, but no clear meaning. “I need ….” (Need what?) This is not a finished sentence. It is just a Clause. It (I need) relates to (describes) something or someone in the sentence so we can call it a Relative Clause. A Relative Clause is always a Dependent Clause. (“I need” may be a sentence in your language, but it cannot be a sentence in English. The verb NEED is transitive: it must have an object. )

The Relative Clause Pronouns (Markers) which often  mark the beginning of Relative Clauses have nearly all been  omitted (removed / left out) in the song. This is okay. A Relative Pronoun can be omitted when it is the object of the Relative Clause. Shakira could sing, “You’re the one that I need.” The Relative Clause Pronoun ‘that’ can be left out because it is the object of “I need”. ( I need that.) The BE verb can also be omitted in lines like “… there’s nothing like your smile (which IS) made of sun.”

Shakira could sing, “You’re the one. I need you.” These are two very simple sentences.  Often  we combine simple sentences to make the meaning clearer and the language more efficient and complex. If you use only simple sentences all the time, you will sound like a child! Don’t worry! If you can understand what you are reading now, you will be able to make complex sentences, as I am writing both simple and complex language!

Shakira doesn’t include all the Relative Clause Pronouns in her song because they don’t all fit the rhythm. It’s that simple! Olivia Newton-John sings “You’re the one that I want” in the Movie GREASE. The Relative Clause Pronoun ‘that’ is included because it fits the rhythm.

* There is more information about Relative Clauses below, after the song lyrics.

Below are the lyrics to the song with the Relative Clauses in bold, and here is a link to the Youtube video featuring Shakira: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiBuM5NX6HA

Song: THE ONE  by Shakira

So, I find a reason to shave my legs each single morning.

So, I count on someone on Friday nights to take me dancing,

And then to church on Sundays;

To plant more trees and someday think of kids,

Or maybe just to save a little money.


You’re the one I need.

The way back home is always long but if you’re close to me I’m holding on.

You’re the one I need.

My real life has just begun

‘cause there’s nothing like your smile/ made of sun. (2 Relative Clauses)

In the world full of strangers, you’re the one I know.

So, I learned to cook and finally lose my kitchen phobia.

So, I’ve got the arms to cuddle in

When there’s a ghost or a muse that brings insomnia;

To buy more thongs and write more happy songs.

It always takes a little help from someone.

[Chorus 2X]

You’re the one I need.

You’re the one I need.

With you my real life has just begun.

You’re the one I need.

You’re the one I need.

(There’s) Nothing like your smile /made of sun; (2 Relative Clauses)

Nothing like your love,

Nothing like your love,

Nothing like your love.

* You can also link to other songs with Relative Clauses by Shania Twain  and One Republic


* Relative Clauses (Dependent Clauses) are shown in bold,  and the Independent Clauses are shown in red.

WHO –     Ellen Degeneres is a person who (or that) has her own TV show.

WHOM –  The singer whom Ellen is speaking to is called Shakira. (You hear native speakers use ‘who’ in sentences like this. This is not grammatically correct because ‘who’ is a subject pronoun, and ‘whom’ is an object pronoun. Ellen (subject) is speaking to Shakira (object). Who is speaking to whom?)

THAT –      “The ELLEN Show” is a popular TV Talk Show that (or whichis on Monday to Friday.

WHOSE –   A celebrity is a person whose popularity is decided by the public.

WHICH –   The TV Talk Show which (or that) I watched this morning was really amusing.

For more information on Relative Clauses, go to this site: http://www.tesol-direct.com/guide-to-english-grammar/relative-clauses To test yourself, go to this site: http://www.learnenglishfeelgood.com/elt-adjective-clauses-mixed2.html#

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This entry was posted in Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Relative Clauses, Songs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Song containing Relative Clauses – by Shakira: #3

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