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The Imperative Voice Listening Practice: Tom Petty’s “Don’t Do Me Like That”

May 12, 2015

May’s Grammar Lesson of the Month is on the Imperative Voice, which we use to give commands and instructions. (Click here to read this lesson and refresh your memory.) To continue with the Imperative Voice, we are looking at a song which uses the Imperative in the negative sense. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ classic song, “Don’t Do Me Like That,” uses the DON’T + BASE VERB form of the Imperative Voice. It is a great way to see this language form in use.

You can listen to the Tom Petty song by clicking on the link below. The lyrics are also below, and the Imperative Voice is in bold. There are also some Conditional sentences: can you spot them? Scroll down to see which lines of the song contain Conditionals, and click here for more Conditional practice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYv6NuZKtWA

“Don’t Do Me Like That”

I was talking with a friend of mine, said a woman had hurt his pride
Told him that she loved him so and turned around and let him go
Then he said, “You better watch your step,
Or your gonna get hurt yourself
Someone’s gonna tell you lies, cut you down to size”

Don’t do me like that
Don’t do me like that
What if I love you baby?
Don’t do me like that

Don’t do me like that
Don’t do me like that
Someday I might need you baby
Don’t do me like that

Listen honey, can you see? Baby, you would bury me
If you were in the public eye givin’ someone else a try
And you know you better watch your step
Or you’re gonna get hurt yourself
Someone’s gonna tell you lies, cut you down to size

Don’t do me like that
Dont’ do me like that
What if I love you baby?
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t

Don’t do me like that
Don’t do me like that
What if I need you baby?
Don’t do me like that

‘Cause somewhere deep down inside
Someone is saying, “Love doesn’t last that long”
I got this feelin’ inside night and day
And now I can’t take it no more

Listen honey, can you see? Baby, you would bury me
If you were in the public eye givin’ someone else a try
And you know you better watch your step
Or you’re gonna get hurt yourself
Someone’s gonna tell you lies, cut you down to size

Don’t do me like that
Don’t do me like that
What if I love you baby?
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t

Don’t do me like that
Don’t do me like that
I just might need you honey
Don’t do me like that

Wait!
Don’t do me like that
Don’t do me like that
Baby, baby, baby,
Don’t, don’t, don’t

No!
Don’t do me like that
Don’t do me like that
Baby, baby, baby…

Oh, oh, oh

 

Useful Vocabulary 

  • let him go: end the relationship
  • watch your step: be careful (literally or figuratively)
  • cut you down to size: (make you feel small)
  • Baby, you would bury me: (“kill” me)
  • givin’ someone else a try: (think about dating someone else)
  • I can’t take it no more: (I can’t handle it anymore)

 

Examples of Conditionals

“Baby, you would bury me
If you were in the public eye givin’ someone else a try”

In this example, we see the construction “If + subject + were . . . subject + would.” This is an example of the Second Conditional. Click here to listen to Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy,” which uses this same form.

What if I love you baby?”

This is an example of a hypothetical situation. Although not exactly a Conditional, the WHAT IF construction commonly replaces Conditionals, and Click here for an explanation of “what if” and Conditionals.

 

 

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