was successfully added to your cart.


Learn English with Taylor Swift Songs

Love her or hate here there is no denying that Taylor Swift makes great pop songs. As well as being catchy, Swift’s songs are great for learning English. She uses lots of idioms and enunciates words well. Swift also has a huge back catalogue of songs, so if you like her style, you have a lot of content to learn from.

It’s super easy to learn English with Swift songs on LingQ. Here are the steps to creating your lessons:

  1. Find the song you wan to learn from.
  2. Import it into LingQ using the FREE LingQ Importer browser extension (available for ChromeSafariEdge and Firefox).
  3. Start studying!

Translate as you listen and level up your English with TayTay!

Need some help deciding which song to start with? Let’s look at some of Swift’s most unforgettable lyrics and what they mean to give you some ideas…

“You did a number on me / But honestly, baby, who’s counting?” – “So It Goes…” from “Reputation”

Have you heard the phrase “to do a number on”? It means to treat someone poorly or damage them in some way… not something you should do to the pop star who writes songs about her love life!

Fun fact for any fellow word nerds: the phrase originated in the 19th century and was used by boxing commentators. Punches were numbered and if a fighter was dominating it was hard to keep count so the announcer would say he was “doing a number on them.”

More examples:

“My business partner emptied the company bank accounts and left the country. He really did a number on me.”

“I fell down some steps earlier and really did a number on my leg. It’s all bruised and bloody,”

“You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes” – “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” from “Lover”

This one is maybe easy to figure out but it’s fun term nevertheless. If you make bad decisions and act in an immoral or shady way, you will face the consequences. There is a more explicit version of this phrase that is also widely used: “F%*$ around and find out!” It means the exact same thing.

More examples:

“Michelle plagiarized her essay on Hamlet and the teacher figured it out. She’s going to be expelled! You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”

“Mike cheated on his wife with his secretary who is half his age. Now he’s losing the house and the dog. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

“Cold was the steel of my axe to grind for the boys who broke my heart / Now I send their babies presents” – “Invisible String” from “Folklore”

If you have “an axe to grind” you have a strong and selfish opinion that motivates your actions. You have a grievance against someone: they did you wrong in some way and you want people to know about it.

More examples:

“I have an axe to grind with my boss; he won’t let me take time off to go to my sister’s wedding.”

“My mum is always complaining about the noise from our neighbours house because she has an axe to grind for not being invited to their last Christmas party.”

“Familiarity breeds contempt / So put mе in the basement / Whеn I want the penthouse of your heart” – “Bejeweled” from “Midnights”

You know how we are sometimes the cruelest to the people we know and love the most? Like when you snap at your longterm partner for not cleaning up, or respond harshly to your parents when they ask when you’re going to get married. We would never speak to someone we don’t know very well in this way, and that’s the meaning of “Familiarity breeds contempt”.

More examples:

“He’s been working in this office for 15 years and he now hates everyone here it seems. He used to be social and friendly. Familiarity breeds contempt I guess.”

“I just can’t stop criticizing my girlfriend’s bad habits. I love her, but I wish she wouldn’t leave our apartment in such a mess. Every time I come home to it, we have a big argument. Familiarity breeds contempt. I’m gonna break up with her.”

“The skeletons in both our closets plotted hard to f— this up” – “Cowboy Like Me” from “Evermore” 

Skeletons in the closet! No, this isn’t a Halloween thing. If someone has skeletons in their closet, they have a secret that they do not want to get out. This is usually a secret that could damage the person in some way.

More examples:

“I would never run for office. Too many skeletons in my closet!”

“This guy I’ve been dating won’t tell me much about his family or his past. He keeps avoiding my questions. I’m a little scared to find out what skeletons he has in his closet.”

“The road not taken looks real good now” – “‘Tis the Damn Season” from “Evermore” 

Ahh the road not taken. The choices you didn’t make that you will always wonder about. What if you had gone to film school? You might making Hollywood blockbusters right now. What if you hadn’t broken up with that one guy? Maybe you would be happily married with a couple of kids right now. It is, of course, easy to think of the positive “what could have beens” when you didn’t actually live that life to know how it would have turned out.

More examples:

“I often wonder how my life would have turned out if I had travelled around Europe in my twenties. I bet I would have some amazing memories. Oh well, the road not taken…”

You can’t keep dwelling on the road not taken. It’s hard seeing seeing that your ex is getting married, but you stopped dating her for a reason. Your Mrs Right is out there!”

“I used to switch out these Kens, I’d just ghost / Rip the Band-Aid off and skip town like an asshole outlaw” – “Hits Different (Taylor’s Version)” from “Midnights (The Til Dawn Edition)”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard of the Barbie movie. Maybe you even saw it and know that a “Ken” is a guy who is handsome and charming but maybe not too smart. The word “ghost” used as a verb here means to end a relationship by suddenly cutting off all commmunication. Harsh!

More examples:

“I’m sick of dating these Kens. I need a serious man with a career who doesn’t spend more money on cosmetics than I do!”

“Everything was going well. We’d been on a bunch of dates and I though she liked me too, but then she ghosted. I’m taking a break from the dating game.”

“I bury hatchets but I keep maps of where I put ’em.” – “End Game” From “Reputation”

To “bury the hatchet” means to make peace, but it doesn’t seem like Taylor is sincere about that if she’s leaving it open to dig them up!

More examples:

“Look, we’e been fighting about this for too long. I love Taylor Swift, you think she sucks. Let’s just agree to disagree and bury the hatchet.”

“Leah and I buried the hatchet. We’ve been friends since we were toddlers. I don’t want to end a friendship over a political disagreement.”

Leave a Reply