Nothing compares
No worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes
They are memories made.
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?

These are some lines from the lyrics of "Someone Like You" by Adele. At first, I must tell you my question isn't about some deep interpretation, but it's about the syntax it holds. I had a disagreement with my English teacher discussing the syntax of the fourth line.

Some days before, she brought the class the song in question and interpreted the whole syntax and translated the meaning in our language. She said that the line I've got problem with means, to put it back to English, "They're what memories made.";that regrets and mistakes are what memories made. After which, I asked the teacher, "Isn't it 'They're memories which have been made'?" She replied no. Should I interpret the line as "They're what memories made" or "They're memories which have been made"?


  • They are memories [that have been] made. – Jim Mar 14 '15 at 17:49
  • (almost) Anything goes in poetry. – Mitch Mar 14 '15 at 17:55
  • @Mitch: Did you see any poetry? – Robusto Mar 14 '15 at 19:04
  • Unclear and vague formulation and you can interpret it how you want. At first glance I would guess she meant: They/These are memories of mistakes I have made. But I think with such a vague formulation you can't say this interpretation is right and that one is wrong. – rogermue Mar 15 '15 at 2:59

"Memories made" does indeed refer to (the) memories (that have been) made, in this case from the "regrets and mistakes" that the singer is refusing to forget. Adele uses the same phrase on her website, which talks of her "soul-tinged songs of love's lost [sic] and memories made."

The other interpretation that "memories made" means "made by memories" doesn't quite work, as one would naturally use the singular form "memory made" instead.

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