merry christmas, baby

frequently spanish speakers will translate 3:30 a.m. and other half-hour times directly from spanish and say “3 and half” or “3 and a half” in english.

half past three on a clock
half past three

there is a decent chance that this style of expressing the half hour will become standard in american english in the future as spanish speakers become a bigger portion of the u.s. and canadian populations, but for the moment three-thirty or half past three are the expressions to use to be understood.

half three is used in many parts of the english speaking world too, but not in american english.

santa coming down the chimney

santa going down a chimney

the christmas song merry christmas, baby has an example of half past. the version below is by otis redding. at 1:05 the lyrics say

santa came down the chimney
half past three, y’all

y’all is a contraction of you all which represents you in the  plural.

merry christmas, babyotis redding

fun elt practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

a couple of other interesting observations from the second verse of merry christmas, baby….

at :48 the lyrics say

feel mighty fine, girl
i got music on my radio, oh, oh, oh
i feel like i’m gonna kiss u
standing beneath that mistletoe

mighty means extremely. i got is a reduction of i’ve got, the structure that can replace have. gonna is a reduction of going to. beneath is under. mistletoe is a plant. it’s a christmas tradition to hang it and steal a kiss from anyone standing under it.  truthfully, though the tradition is mentioned in christmas songs such as the christmas song, holly jolly christmas, i saw mommy kissing santa claus, and it must have been the mistletoe, i have never actually seen it hanging anywhere. the first t in mistletoe is silent, like in listen or wrestling. DON’T pronounce it.


mistletoe (

are there any other lyrics in the song that are confusing?  post a question about the lyrics under leave a reply




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