The song Parachute by Cheryl Cole is perfect for studying Future Tenses as well as First Conditional and Zero Conditional. She is not literally singing about a parachute. The parachute symbolizes ‘help’ or ‘rescue’.
We have various ways to talk about the future. You may like to read my earlier posts (Future tenses – part one , Future tenses – part two and The 12 English Tenses), before reading this.
Today, I will be discussing the future tenses and Conditional structures in the song Parachute:
2. Be going to + base infinitive,
3. Conditionals – First & Zero.
Future Simple (Will + base infinitive) is used for decisions, predictions, promises, offers, and schedules at some time in the future, which is not always stated. We do not use Future Simple for plans: This year, I will study Mathematics and next year, I will study Chemistry.
In the song, Cheryl Cole uses WILL for promises and/or predictions:
I won’t tell anyone. Promise
I won’t tell anybody how you turn my world around. Promise
I won’t tell anyone how your voice is my favourite sound. Promise
I won’t fall out of love. Promise / Prediction
I’ll fall into you. Promise / Prediction
I’ll hold onto you. Promise / Prediction
You’ll never win the fight. Prediction
2. Be going to + base infinitive
Cheryl Cole uses be going to + base infinitive for plans. ‘Going to’ is often written as ‘gonna’ because that is what it sounds like. It’s okay for songwriters, but please don’t start writing ‘gonna’ in your English writing practice.
You’re going to catch me. Plan
This is the plan. He is always going to catch her (help her) if she falls (needs help). Be going to + base infinitive always refers to the future. It is used for future plans, arrangements, and predictions with evidence.
This brings us to:
There are at least two parts (clauses) in a Conditional sentence. In First Conditional, there is a future possible situation and its future possible result. This is the structure:
If + Present Tense, will + base infinitive
Will + base infinitive if + Present Tense
You can also use: Might / Can / Be going to, instead of Will.
In the song, Cheryl Cole uses First Conditional to talk about a possible situation in the future and its future result.
You’re gonna catch (me) if I fall.
The singer and her boyfriend have a plan for future possibilities when she might need help.
3b. Zero Conditional
In Zero Conditional sentences, the focus is on situations which are true anytime, so we use Present Tense. This makes perfect sense because Present Tense Simple tells us about things, actions, beliefs etc. which can be true anytime, always, sometimes or never; it is used for facts, habits and routines. Often, we want to talk about the result of such things. This is the structure:
If + Present Tense, Present Tense
Present Tense If + Present Tense
You can also use: When / Whenever / As soon as / After, instead of If.
The singer tells us that she doesn’t need anyone to help her now. She has her boyfriend. He is there for her when she needs help.
I don’t need a parachute Baby, if I’ve got you. Anytime / every time
Baby, if I’ve got you, I don’t need a parachute. Anytime / every time
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To watch the Official Music Video of Parachute, click here.
To watch the Video of Parachute with lyrics, click here.
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