Bob Dylan – Blowing in the Wind

This song comes with a worksheet to use in the classroomPractice the modal verbs “must” and “can” as well as the interrogative in your ESL class with this classic song, Blowing in the Wind by Bob Dylan. There are 6 examples of “must”, 4 examples of “can” and 9 different questions with “how many times” in these song lyrics.

There is a suggestion on how to use this song in your ESL classes below, but for more ideas, click here.

YouTube player

Lyrics

How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, and how many years must a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea?
And how many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, and how many times must a man look up before he can see the sky?
And how many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’til he knows that too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Suggested activity: correct the mistakes

Download this exercise (PDF)

Listen to the song and try to identify the mistakes in the lyrics below.
Can you correct the wrong words?

How many streets must a man walk down before you call him a man?
How many oceans must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the bombs fly before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

Yes, and how many years should a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea?
And how many years could some people exist before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how often can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

Yes, and how many times must a man look up before he can see the sun?
And how many ears must one man have before he can hear children cry?
Yes, and how many deaths must it take ’til he knows that too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

Bob DylanAmerican singer-songwriter (born 1941)

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter. Often considered to be one of the greatest songwriters in history, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture over his 60-year career. He rose to prominence in the 1960s, when songs such as “The Times They Are a-Changin’ (1964) became anthems for the civil rights and antiwar movements. Initially modeling his style on Woody Guthrie’s folk songs, Robert Johnson’s blues, and what he called the “architectural forms” of Hank Williams’s country songs, Dylan added increasingly sophisticated lyrical techniques to the folk music of the early 1960s, infusing it “with the intellectualism of classic literature and poetry”. His lyrics incorporated political, social, and philosophical influences, defying pop music conventions and appealing to the burgeoning counterculture.