Friday, March 23, 2012

When In Rome...

Hello, and welcome to "Fun Friday"! Also, welcome to this blog's 100th post! Thanks to everyone who's been following Sitzman ABC and liking it on Facebook! If you know anyone who might be interested in this site, please tell him or her about it.

Since the last two "Fun Fridays" were not especially "fun" (unless you're a geography nerd like I am!), I decided I'd put up a video today. It's a song called "The Promise" by the group When In Rome:

The song is from 1988, but it became popular again a few years ago when it was featured on the soundtrack for Napoleon Dynamite, a 2004 comedy. Let's look at the lyrics and find some good vocabulary (you can also just read the lyrics while listening to the song, since the video hasn't got too much interesting stuff going on except a lot of bad late-80s fashion):

If you need a friend,
don't look to a stranger,
You know in the end,
I'll always be there.

And when you're in doubt,
and when you're in danger,
Take a look all around,
and I'll be there.

I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
But if you wait around a while, I'll make you fall for me,
I promise, I promise you I will.

When your day is through,
and so is your temper,
You know what to do,
I'm gonna always be there.

Sometimes if I shout,
it's not what's intended.
These words just come out,
with no gripe to bear.

(Repeat Chorus)

I gotta tell ya, I need to tell ya, I gotta tell ya, I gotta tell yaaaa ...

(Repeat Chorus)


stranger - A stranger is a person that you have not met. It's different than a strange person; a strange person is someone who isn't normal for some reason.
Example: "A stranger walked into the room and introduced himself as 'Robby Smith.'"

doubt - My students often confuse this word with "question"; it's similar to a question, but it's not the same. If you are in doubt or if you doubt yourself, then you are not confident about your abilities or your understanding. Also, notice that the "b" is silent, and the word rhymes with "out."
Example: "It's pretty late, and I've barely started this project. I doubt I can finish it by tomorrow morning, but I'll try."

fall for (someone) - If you fall for a person, it means that you fall in love with him or her. It can be fast and sudden, but often it's a gradual process.
Example: "At first Tina thought Charlie was arrogant and mean, but after she got to know him, she fell for him and they eventually even got married!"

temper - Temper refers to your mood, but it's most common in the phrase lose (your) temper. If you lose your temper, you become angry and impatient, and sometimes begin to yell or shout.
Example: "Kate was very patient with the kids she was babysitting until one of them spilled juice on her. Kate lost her temper and sent the children to their rooms."

gripe to bear - Honestly, this phrase is very rare, and you'll probably never hear it outside of this song. But I mentioned it because it stood out and I was sure someone would ask about it if I didn't. If you bear a gripe, it means that you complain about something. The word "gripe" generally means to complain, and it's more common.
Example: "I don't mean to gripe about this, but we really need to get some new coffee mugs. All the ones we have are broken."

Finally, the band's name can illustrate an interesting vocabulary point.
The phrase "When in Rome..." is a shorter version of:

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

This phrase means that if you are visiting a different culture, you are the person who should adapt, and that you shouldn't expect the culture to adapt to you.

For example, if you go to Japan and notice everyone bowing as a greeting, instead of shaking hands or kissing on the cheek, you can say, "Well, when in Rome..." and bow like everyone else:

An American military officer bowing in Japan, following local customs. (Image credit)

So, that's it for today. I hope you liked the song. If you have any questions or comments, please join in the conversation by leaving a comment. Have a great weekend!


  1. Hi Ryan is Johnsen, really I like this blog`s and I thinks that are an exellent for practic.

    Good web....

  2. Hi Johnsen! Thanks for checking out the blog. If you're on Facebook, you can also "like" it there to get updates.

    See you on Saturday!


  3. I remember this song back in 1988, did not pay it much attention then. I just happened to hear it last week when my kids were watching the movie. I ended up getting an mp3 of the song. Strange coincidence you posted this the same week.

  4. Hello Anonymous,

    Thanks for the comment, and for checking out the site! I think I was about the same as you, where I only noticed this song the second time around.

    Have a good one, whoever and wherever you are! :)



Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! If you have a specific comment about this post, please tell me. If you have a general question about the site or a common error suggestion, you can also use the "Contact" link at the top of the page.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.