A very popular song a few years ago was ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes. Let’s listen to the first verse together:
I'm gonna fight 'em off
A seven nation army couldn't hold me back
They're gonna rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back
And I'm talking to myself at night
Because I can't forget
Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette
Let’s read the lyrics together.
Let’s analyze the words together. The singer says ‘they’re gonna rip it off
’. ‘Rip off
’ in English has three meanings.
The first meaning is to remove something quickly. For example, ‘I’m going to rip off
The second meaning is to copy something illegally. For example, ‘I bought a rip off
DVD last week’.
The third meaning is to cheat someone out of money. For example, ‘I was ripped off
at the market today. The merchant only gave me $4 change when he should have given me $8!’
In this song, the singer also says ‘back and forth’. In English, ‘back and forth’ means when something goes from one place to another and then back to the same place again. For example, “The tennis players hit the ball back and forth for 10 minutes without stopping.”
Now let’s listen to the song again.
Now let’s try this exercise. I am going to say a sentence that uses ‘rip off’. I would like you to tell me if my meaning is:
1 – to remove something quickly
2 – to copy something illegally
3 – to be cheated out of money
Question 1 – At his house, I saw at least 30 rip off CDs.
Question 2 – The girl spread wax on her leg and ripped it off quickly.
Question 3 – Their kissing led to them ripping off each other’s clothes.
Question 4 – I was ripped off by a thief today!
Question 5 – In Dubai there is a lot of rip off clothing.