Cups

Last week, we already focused on the first conditional but here’s another great example and if you want, you can also learn how to do this cup thing.

I have many students who struggle with this structure (not to understand it but to actually spontaneously say it properly), so next week, I’ll give you one last funny (and charming (…)) example. So sing sing sing! and it will definitely be easier to remember.


I got my ticket for the long way ’round
Two bottles of whiskey for the way
And I sure would like some sweet company
And I’m leaving tomorrow. What do you say?

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna * miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my hair
You’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my walk
You’re gonna miss me by my talk, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ’round
The one with the prettiest of views
It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers
It’s got sights to give you shivers *
But it sure would be prettier with you

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my walk
You’re gonna miss me by my talk, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my hair
You’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh
You’re sure gonna miss me when I’m gone

* When I’m gone – future time clauses
This week’s point is the same as last week’s, so out of laziness, I’ll just copy-paste what I wrote then:

_ Structure = when + present simple, future
OR
future + when + present simple

The structure is the same with before, after, as soon as and until. It’s also pretty much the same structure as the first conditional (with if instead of when):

  • If it rains, we won’t go to the beach.

  • She’ll buy a new car if she gets the job.

    In this structure, the future can be expressed in different ways:

  • will future
    When they arrive, I’ll call you.

  • be going to
    I’m going to be alright when you come back to me.

  • may/might (to express a possibility = Maybe you will do something.)
    When you finish this book, you might want to see the movie.

  • the imperative
    Call me when you get there.


_ Common mistake = ++ I’ll call you when I will be at the airport. ++
=> NO NO NO!!! => I’ll call you when I am at the airport.

The idea that you express is indeed that of a future action. However, in English, you cannot use the will future after ‘when’ (if when is a conjunction – stay tuned, next week and the week after, we’ll see more of that!).
If you are a Spanish-speaking person, think about what you’d say in Spanish and you’ll realize that it’s almost the same: no future (=> subjunctive).

Although this song became quite popular in 2012 when Anna Kendrick covered it for Pitch Perfect‘s soundtrack *, it was originally written and recorded in 1931 by the Carter family.

In 2009, it was first performed with cups for percussion by Lulu and the Lampshades.

And if you want to practice this cup thing, here’s a link (chosen randomly, there are dozens of them on YouTube). Enjoy!