5. Just in my imagination

 

I was walking down the road the other day

When a woman appeared in front of me

She wanted to know where I was going

She wanted to know my name

I asked her why she wanted to know

But she didn’t say

 

I told her I didn’t want to answer

I asked her to leave me alone

Then I walked past her and continued along the road

But when I looked over my shoulder, she wasn’t there

One minute she was talking to me

Then she disappeared into thin air

 

Was she real or just in my imagination?

Did she speak to me or was it all a dream?

Was she real or just in my imagination?

Did she speak to me or was it all a dream?

 

I told my story to a policeman

He asked me if I was feeling OK

I could see he didn’t believe me so I began to walk away

But when I looked over my shoulder, he wasn’t there

One minute he was talking to me

Then he disappeared into thin air

 

Was he real or just in my imagination?

Did he speak to me or was it all a dream?

Were they real or just in my imagination?

Did they speak to me or was it all a dream?

All a dream

Words and tune by Ken Wilson

Musical arrangement and instrumentation by Richard Vranch

Vocals: Matthew Devitt

Note about the song

The song illustrates various forms of reported speech, and there’s also a chance to talk about ghosts and related topics.

Before I suggest an activity, I want to tell you something about the writing. The original lyric at the end of the first verse was:

I asked her why she wanted to know

But she wouldn’t say

For some reason, the editor persuaded me to change it to

But she didn’t say

The difference in meaning between those two phrases is enormous. She wouldn’t say indicates a reluctance to give the information. She didn’t say makes it sound much less important. In the context of the song, the original lyric would have been much better.

If you use the song with a class, I’d be happy if you tell them about that change and, if necessary, explain the difference between the two expressions.

Idea for using the song

Before listening to the song, I recommend asking the students to turn the examples of reported speech into direct speech. You can give them the first one and ask them to work out the rest themselves. Remember that She wanted to know is a disguised question:

She wanted to know where I was going

Where are you going?

This exercise isn’t as easy as it looks. There’s a reported command hidden in there:

I asked her to leave me alone.

Listening to the song

If students have already done the grammar-oriented exercise, they can forget about the grammar and think about the story when they listen. Is it a ghost story? Is it a dream? Is the singer having some kind of breakdown?? Ask the students to discuss the location and try to describe the characters.

2 thoughts on “5. Just in my imagination

  1. Hello, Ken,
    I’m an EFL Teacher in Rosario, Argentina, subscribed to your blog, and enjoying each and all your valuable posts, which I am also sharing with my private stds via Zoom/Skype. THANK YOU very much for this generous contribution, it’s a pleasure to be able to stay connected with likeminded people worldwide, all the more at these difficult times we are all going through.
    My best wishes, again, most gratefully,
    Rita Zeinstejer
    http://www.zeinstejer.com
    rita@zeinstejer.com

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