8 Popular Songs With Glaring Grammatical Errors You Might Not Have Noticed Before
Mar 3, 2021   •   Kel Fabie
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Mar 3, 2021   •   Kel Fabie
Nobody’s perfect. Even after carefully proofreading this 8List, I’m almost sure I a few words out. This realization extends even to some of our favorite songs, because if they keep claiming poetic license as an excuse, where exactly can I get one of those licenses, because I sure as heck need ‘em for my job.
Here now are 8 songs we really love, but unfortunately have grammatical errors that we just can’t get past.
The Error: I can’t get no satisfaction (ad infinitum)
The Correction: I can’t get any satisfaction (ad infinitum) or I get no satisfaction (ad infinitum)
The Rolling Stones may be one of the most legendary rock bands of all time, but they sure like their double negatives. And if you think the Beatles are that much better than the Stones, well, “She’s Got A Ticket To Ride (and She Don’t Care)” would like a few (grammatically incorrect) words with you.
The Error: I feel good (dundundundundundundun) I know that I would now…
The Correction: I feel well (dundundundundundundun) I know that I would now…
James Brown’s feel-good anthem is, unfortunately, a key violator of the rule that you should never modify a verb with an adjective, which the word “good” happens to be. In this case, “well” was the correct word, but would it sound anywhere near as good? We think not. See? We’re doing it, too!
The Error: What’s love got to do, got to do with it?
The Correction: What does love have to do, have to do with it?
We’re beginning to think that grammar really needs to take a backseat to better lyrical flow, but yeah, the contraction “what’s” is short for “what is” or “what has,” neither of which go well with the word “got.” Love’s got nothing to do with it, but contractions certainly do!
The Error: Two less lonely people in the world, and it’s gonna be fine…
The Correction: Two fewer lonely people in the world, and it’s gonna be fine…
No, Air Supply, it won’t be fine until you recognize that people, in this case, happens to be a count noun and not a mass noun, literally because you’re referring to two specific people. And the minute you do that, there will be fewer lonely people, not less. It seems Air Supply has better luck with their songs when they’re about breaking up, but I digress.
The Error: If I was a rich girl, Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na…
The Correction: If I were a rich girl, Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na…
Gwen Stefani was clearly not paying attention to the Fiddler on the Roof when he sang “If I Were a Rich Man,” which is literally just one word different from her song.
Even Beyonce remembered that rule about hypotheticals when she sang “If I Were A Boy,” and that’s the girl who just some years ago, was so forgetful, she needed to ask people to “Say My Name.”
The Error: I’ll be your crying shoulder…
The Correction: I’ll be your shoulder to cry on.
Everybody could use a shoulder to cry on. When times get tough, having someone who’ll be there for you no matter what can really change your life. What people don’t need, though, is a crying shoulder, because who wants a shoulder that cries?!? And don’t even get us started on wondering what a “love’s suicide” is.
Rumor has it that Ed McCain has only this one hit because immediately afterwards, the Grammar Police took him away.
The Error: I don’t care if he buys you nice things, does his gifts come from the heart?
The Correction: I don’t care if he buys you nice things, do his gifts come from the heart?
Ever since Donald Trump got elected, we’ve discovered that the Backstreet Boys is a house divided unto itself because B-Rok and Howie D can’t quite agree with Kevin and AJ over Trump or Biden, while Nick is a headache no matter where you stand (just ask his brother).
Well, we now know why they can’t get along – their subjects and verbs don’t agree, either! This error occurs twice in the song: as shown here in the first verse, and in the second verse that goes, “Does his friends get all your time?” Guess this is why they’re the Backstreet Boys, and not the Backstreet Men, even in 2021.
The Error: Oh, God, give me a reason – I’m down on bended knee…
The Correction: Oh, God, give me a reason – I’m down on bended knee… [Oo, same lang talaga.]
Whoops! So much for men being better than boys. Boyz II Men may have taken the world by storm in this monster of a hit way back in 1994, but it’s by sheer force of will that a word that is considered archaic still exists to this day. The word “bend” is an irregular verb and its simple past tense is “bent,” but a century or two ago, the word was “bended,” until it fell out of vogue.
In fact, “on bended knee” is so appropriate and so perfect lyrically that nobody dared to question it then, and for all intents and purposes, the phrase pretty much lapsed back into usage thanks to this song’s sheer force of will. So is it an error? It was a minor one, since using archaic terms is pretty obnoxious most of the time, but this usage was far from obnoxious, and now that it’s back in the lexicon, it’s far from an error today.
TL;DR – It’s always “bent” unless the words are literally “on bended knee,” which is the only time the word is acceptable, and that’s mostly thanks to Boyz II Men.
Got any other songs with bad grammar that we didn’t include in the list? Tell us about ’em in the comments!
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