Just like all other languages out there, a wide range of confusing expressions exists in the English language due to minute grammatical differences.
The expressions “stay tuned,” “stay in tune,” and “staying tuned” are some of them; so, this article aims to explain these troublesome phrases inside out.
Now that we know what’s going on, let’s get right into it.
What is the difference between “stay tuned, “stay in tune,” and “staying tuned”?
“Stay tuned” means “keep posted,” “stay in tune” means “don’t mess the notes up,” and “staying tuned” means “the act of being observant.” Grammatically speaking, “stay tuned” and “stay in tune” are both verb phrases used in commands, whereas “staying in tune” is a noun phrase.
The grammar behind “stay tuned, “stay in tune,” and “staying tuned”
While the expression “stay hungry, stay foolish” is used for encouraging people to be more ambitious, “stay tuned,” “stay in tune,” and “staying tuned” are used in other contexts.
As these three expressions are a bit tricky to use, they make some of us feel like it is better to just err on the side of caution instead by choosing alternative phrases.
Language is both creative and ambiguous, and therefore, it is up to us, language users, how we make it more intelligible in actual use.
Now, let us try to learn the grammatical nuances in the three expressions mentioned earlier. Let’s begin with “stay tuned.”
This section makes use of bits and pieces of technical language; hence, please accept my apologies in advance. Nevertheless, rest assured you will still have a full grasp of this part.
“Stay tuned” is more or less the same as “keep yourself posted,” “watch out for more,” “keep listening,” “keep watching,” and “stick around.”
This expression is often used by program hosts especially before a commercial break (or any other forms of interruption) occurs.
Essentially, “stay tuned” is an expression with an encouraging tone and is unlikely going to be considered impolite in any context.
The sentence above is a command that is meant for anyone who reads the sentence – it is otherwise known as a direct address in English.
Using the verb phrase “stay tuned” means implying an imaginary “you” before the word “stay.”
The human mind allows understanding the implied “you” via context, and therefore, it is typically dropped both in speaking and writing.
But of course, technically speaking, it is still grammatically correct to use the pronoun “you” before the expression “stay tuned.”
In indirect speech or just any other typical declarative sentences, “stay tuned” is meanwhile used as an infinitive phrase.
Infinitives are verb-like phrases that can be used to replace nouns in a sentence, just like gerunds. Infinitives are preceded with the preposition “to,” while gerunds are suffixed with “-ing.”
The host coaxed the audience to stay tuned for the next episode.
Here are a few more sentences containing “stay tuned” for your reference:
Stay in Tune
Meanwhile, “stay in tune” is the same as “don’t mess up,” “avoid mistakes,” “don’t ruin the song,” or, more precisely, “hit the right pitch or note.”
This expression may be used by any band member during practice or a friend who has the guts to tell the other friend not to mess a song up.
That is to say, “stay in tune” would likely be considered rude or pejorative when used randomly towards a stranger who is singing or playing a musical instrument.
B: Leave me alone, Daniel. You got your voice from me.
The example statement using “stay in tune” above is also a command that is specifically meant for the addressee “dad.”
As the relationship between the two speakers is apparently close, the comment is unlikely to be misinterpreted by the addressee but rather be treated as a source of humor.
Just like “stay tuned,” “stay in tune” is typically used with an implied “you” that is understandable through context.
But then again, as explained earlier, using the pronoun “you” before “stay in tune” is still perfectly grammatical.
Other elements like the modal verbs “should,” “must,” “could,” or “had better” may also be added to adjust the amount of necessity conveyed.
To learn more about how to use “stay in tune” in context, here are a few more example sentences:
Singers building their vocal strength by lots of excercises. It allows them to stay in tune while performing.
Furthermore, “stay in tune” may also have a figurative meaning that suggests “being able to understand another person or any other entity well.”
This sense can be used in talking about relationships with the self, other people, state of affairs of society, religious beings, and so on.
Last but not least is the expression “staying tuned” – a noun phrase for “stay tuned,” as described earlier, which may also be used as a continuous verb form.
“Staying tuned” can suggest either the meaning “the act of sticking to a show or program” or “the act of continuing to pay attention to something.”
Noun phrases can be used as subjects or objects in sentences, thereby making “staying in tune” quite a flexible expression.
The example below uses “staying tuned” as a subject in the sense of “stay tuned” that means “sticking to something such as a show or a program”:
Meanwhile, “staying tuned” is used in the sense of “continuing to pay attention to something such as a piece of information” in the example below:
Apart from using “staying tuned” as a noun phrase, it can also be used as a part of a verb phrase in the continuous form.
As you may observe, the sentences in the example above may not necessarily be used in real-life conversations because they are a bit too formal.
In casual exchanges, the subject “I” and the auxiliary verb “am” are often dropped instead, just like when we say “thank you for your patience” wherein the subject “I” is also implied.
Alternatives to “stay tuned”
Among the three expressions discussed, “stay tuned” is the most frequently and widely used by people.
So, here are some alternatives to “stay tuned” with examples.
Watch out for more
On TV or over video streaming sites, “watch out for more” is particularly used to encourage viewers to continue watching whatever is being broadcast.
Meanwhile, “keep listening” is used specifically for audio-based media such as podcast and radio programs.
“Stick around” can be used in any media platform because the expression is not limited to either “watching” or “listening” to a program.
Hence, relatively speaking, “stick around” is the safest alternative for “stay tuned” among the expressions suggested in this subsection.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Stay Tuned” vs. “Stay in Tune” vs. “Staying Tuned”
Why do hosts say “stay tuned”?
“Stay tuned” is used by hosts because of the history of radio broadcasting. In the past, using a radio entails turning a dial (tuning mechanism) to find the right radio frequency.
What does “stay tuned for more to come” mean?
“Stay tuned for more to come” is a emphatic command that is likely used as an invitation to coax the audience to stick around and wait for the next show, piece of information, or event.
What does “to keep something in tune” mean?
“To keep something in tune” is phrase likely used to refer to the adjustment or regulation of a musical instrument. For example, a guitar can be kept in tune by replacing the old strings with new ones.
Getting interested in knowing the nooks and crannies behind tricky expressions like “stay tuned,” “stay in tune,” and “staying in tune” is awesome.
Not only does it stimulate the mind, it also goes to show how language can be as thought-provoking as a movie.
Stay frosty and stay tuned for more exciting language-learning blogs, everyone!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.