5

I was listening to some of Taylor Swift's songs and one song is titled "You belong with me". I include part of its lyrics:

If you could see
That I'm the one
Who understands you.
Been here all along.
So, why can't you see
You belong with me. You belong with me.

What is the difference between to belong to and to belong with? Is there any difference in their meaning?

  • 3
    It means "Your proper place is with me". – StoneyB Jan 14 '16 at 22:56
  • 1
    Committed relationship would be another phrase that one could use here. – JB King Jan 14 '16 at 23:03
  • @StoneyB, thanks! Appreciate your comments, answers. – Turdaliev Nursultan Jan 14 '16 at 23:07
7

You belong with me.

This refers to someone being in the right place (generally because the speaker and the person being spoken to are in love) when they are with the speaker. This "being together" is of course not necessarily a matter of being physically near to each other, and instead it can refer to 2 people being in a committed (and ideally monogamous) relationship with each other.

You belong to me.

In this sentence, the speaker is expressing "ownership" of the person being spoken to. It's more one-directional, almost ignoring the other person's opinions on the matter.

I guess if we were to read into this a little further, the first sentence implies a sense of "correctness" in the two people being together, as if the circumstances make them suitable for each other, in addition to their mutual attraction. Call it "destiny", if you want to.

The second is definitely more egocentric, stating that the speaker claims (ideally exclusive) ownership of the person being spoken to, and therefore also claiming the right to govern their actions. But this unbalanced power situation also implies that the speaker may also "own" other people (i.e. lovers), and that the person being spoken to is powerless to change that.

1

The usage by Taylor Swift of

You belong with me

is a statement of desire or wanting or wishing that she yearns for the boy to be with her in a relationship. It is being said about a potential not actual relationship.

Contrast that with Carly Simon's

You belong to me

where she is already in a relationship (implying a type of ownership) which is being threatened by her partner's actions with another woman

  • In Taylor Swift's song, the narrator is in a relationship with the male character. The male character does not realize it is a romantic relationship -- he thinks his only romantic relationship is with the "cheer captain". – Jasper Jan 15 '16 at 1:46

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