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Love is a Losing Game (by Amy Winehouse)

Level: High. Language: Relationships vocabulary, Casino vocabulary, Probability

Task 1: Match the vocabulary from the song to its definition.

Vocabulary from the song


a flame  (1)

to destroy

to come


a frame

an ex-lover who was temporary  (1)

a good/bad hand

a plastic substitute for money in a casino

a chip



your cards when you begin a card game

to mar something

to reach a sexual climax


a single image from a film

Task 2: Now listen to the song and complete the gaps using the clues in brackets to help you.

For you I was a flame
Love is a losing game
_______  _________ fire as you came
(a fire as big as a building with a lot of floors)
Love is a losing game

One I wish I never played
Oh what a _______  ____  _________        
(we did it all wrong)
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game

___________  _____ by the band            
(phrasal verb: the singer stops, the band continue)
Love is a losing hand
More than ____  ________  _________              
(I was able to tolerate)
Love is a losing hand

Self professed, profound
'til the chips ________  ___________            
(the bets were placed)
(I) know you're ____  _____________  ______    
(a person who bets a lot)
Love is a losing hand

Though I'm rather blind
Love is a fate ______________                        
(an unchangeable destiny)
mar  _____  __________            (spoil my thoughts)
Love is a fate ______________

Over _________ odds              
And laughed at by the gods
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game

Task 3: Talk to your classmates or you teacher to answer these questions about the song. Remember to use lines from the song to support your answer.

1. Why does she compare love to a game?

2. How does she feel about the relationship she's singing about?

3. How do you think the man acted in that relationship?

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1. For many reasons. Amy's ex sees her as a "flame" - an ex-lover who was only temporary. Maybe love is just a game to him, even if Amy would prefer it to be something more permanent. She feels disappointed by love. We start new relationships even though we know that they're never going to bring us a happy ending. It's like starting a game of cards when you know your cards aren't good enough to win: a "losing hand".

2. She wishes she had "never played" the game. She feels like she was "blind" to the obvious. The relationship was a painful experience for her and more than she could stand.

3. Amy seems to suggest that the man used her for sex but never saw their relationship as more than a game ("I was a flame ... Five-storey fire as you came"). It seemed to be a genuine, "profound" relationship until the man needed to make a decision ("the chips were down"). Maybe he needed to choose between Amy and another person. But he's a "gambling man" so he enjoys the game, even if he hurts other people.

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