Corpora are resourceful tools for linguistic observation, as they can provide quick statistics about a word compared with manual analysis. However, in some circumstances where qualitative analysis is needed, the use of a quantitative method may not produce the required results. Based on the keyword love, four types of materials were used to show the plausibility and implausibility of using corpora. First, romantic English songs were used to illustrate the kind of input students received from these songs. Second, we compared the songs to students’ essays on general essay topics. Then, we contrasted the first two sets of data to a native speakers’ corpus. Lastly, we showed how the creativity element can be reproduced by students through extended use of metaphors “Love is X”. While the students may have been exposed to more colloquial uses of love in love songs, their general essays showed a more neutral use, with fewer occurrences of love. In comparing the different texts, this paper will show how a corpus-based approach can be complemented by a qualitative examination of texts. Regarding pedagogical implications, corpora are a good resource of authentic materials and should be encouraged in the classroom as a reference for recurring language patterns.