A Song with ‘going to’ (gonna) for Future Predictions based on Evidence & ‘had better’ for Warnings

Today, I’m focusing on the  song, Street Boy, by Rodriguez to highlight the use of ‘going to’ for future predictions: predictions based on evidence.

Click on the picture for the video. Rodriguez has an amazing voice and you will hear every word clearly.

I’ll also explain some common idioms in the song and the collocation ‘had better’.

1. BE + going to + base infinitive for Predictions based on Evidence


First, some revision from an earlier post on ‘going to’:

♦ *We OFTEN use BE + going to + base infinitive for Future Plans (see my post April 8, 2013).

♦ When we use   BE + going to + base infinitive, it often sounds like ‘gonna + base infinitive. You see  gonna‘ written a lot in songs.  This is okay for song writers. However, it is NOT okay to write ‘gonna’ in your English writing.

♦ *We ALSO use BE + going to + base infinitive for Predictions based on evidence (when there is evidence.)  For example,

  • you look at the sky and see dark clouds: you say “Oh no, it’s going to rain!” – You know it’s going to rain.
  • you’re feeling sick because you drank too much beer: you say ” I’m going to be sick!” You know you’re going to throw up (vomit).
  • you’ve gambled a lot of money on a horse race and while you are watching the race, you can see that your horse is winning easily: you say ” He‘s going to win!” You know he’s going to win.

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ 

In the song, Street Boy, Rodriguez predicts that the street boy is ‘going to end up alone’ if he continues to live a ‘dead-end life’ on the streets, (evidence – he knows what’s going to happen).

He also predicts that the boy will never find or meet a street boy who has beaten the streets. However, Rodriguez has no evidence so he uses ‘will’. He also uses ‘will’ for a promise when he states, ‘There’s one last word then I’ll conclude …’ He has one last word of warning for the boy, a bet, and then he will stop giving advice. He keeps his promise. 

Song: Street Boy by Rodriguez

Chorus
Street boy,

You’ve been out too long.
Street boy,
Ain’t you got enough sense to go home?
Street boy,
You’re gonna end up alone.
You need some love and understanding,
Not that dead-end life you’re planning
Street boy.

You go home but you can’t stay
Because something’s always pulling you away.
Your fast hellos and quick goodbyes,
You’re just a street boy
With the streetlights in your eyes.
You’d better get yourself together;
Look for something better.

Chorus

Your sister says that every week
You just come home to eat and go to sleep,
And you make plans you never keep
Because your mind is always in the streets.
You’d better get yourself together;
Look for something better.

Chorus

There’s one last word then I’ll conclude
Before you pick up and put on your attitude.
Bet you’ll never find or ever meet
Any street boy who has ever beat(en) the streets.

Street boy x 6
Sweet boy

🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸


2.
Idioms

IDIOMS MEANING
You’ve been out To be ‘out’ is to be outside a particular building, usually the home, as in this song. It could be your work place. Click here for more meanings and sentence examples.
end up (alone) To ‘end up alone’ means to be alone at the end of one’s life. ‘End up’ means finish/ result in. Click here for more meanings and sentence examples.
dead end life A ‘dead end life’ is a life with no positive future as suggested in the song. ‘Dead end’ can mean no exit, boring, monotonous, hopeless, with no possibility of progress.
something’s always pulling you The street boy always feels the ‘pull’ or ‘attraction’ of the street life. It pulls him away from his home and away from a better life.
the … in your eyes To have something ‘in your eyes’ means that the ‘something’ is all you see, your top priority.
get yourself together Rodriguez advises the street boy to ‘get yourself together’- to take action to improve his life; to change his ‘dead end’ lifestyle.

🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸


3.
had better & base infinitive

Had better‘ includes the meaning and advice ‘should’. However, it is always used as a warning: ‘It would be better if … ‘  It means that if you don’t follow the advice, something bad will or could happen. The unfortunate result of not following the advice is sometimes stated, and usually understood:

You’d better not drive home. (You’ve had too much to drink.)

We’d better not be late for the theatre or we’ll be locked out.

My boyfriend had better remember my birthday! (or I’ll never forgive him!)

You’d better take your studies seriously or you won’t pass.

The warning may be very mild:

You’d better take some fruit with you or you’ll get hungry.

I’d better go to bed now or I’ll be tired tomorrow.

We’d better clean the house before your mother arrives.

We usually use the contraction – ‘d better – perhaps because this collocation is used for warnings when speaking, and contractions are common when speaking. Written warnings use more formal or academic styles. The contraction is difficult to hear and as a result many people (yes, even native speakers) think the expression is just – you better, we better, he better, etc.

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ 

I hope you enjoy this wonderful song and I hope it helps you understand how to use  BE + going to + base infinitive for predictions based on evidence. For another song featuring BE + going to + base infinitive for predictions, check out an earlier post here.

Sixto Rodriguez has other equally wonderful songs which will help you in your English-learning journey. My favourite is I Wonder. Click here for the music video I Wonder. You will also see a playlist of his other songs.

🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸🎸 🎸

This entry was posted in Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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