30th July, 2012

Songs with Grammar Errors

Have you ever thought about the grammatical correctness of certain song lyrics? Here are a few notable slip-ups.

Eric Clapton, Lay Down Sally

A frequent misuse of ‘lay’. You only lay down an object, like placing a book on a table. When we rest, we lie down. So, the request should be ‘Lie Down, Sally’.

Gwen Stefani, Rich Girl

If I was a rich girl…

This one’s not obvious. ‘If I was’ should be ‘If I were’ because something contrary or unlikely to occur is proposed. The ‘if-I-were’ phrase is a classic case of the subjunctive mood, an endangered species as grammar rules go. Oddly, the song gets the phrase wrong despite taking its tune from the grammatically correct ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ featured in the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

Bo Diddley, Who Do You Love?

The object of a sentence, and of one’s affection, always triggers a ‘whom’ – see Who versus Whom.

Beyoncé, “Get Me Bodied”

New word alert! According to GP’s homeboy sources, ‘bodied’ can mean to ‘impress someone with dance moves’ or ‘dance intimately’ (we’ll stop there). Like many modern recording artists, Beyoncé loves to coin new phrases. For a hilarious analysis of the entire song’s dubious grammar, click here.

Justin Timberlake, What Goes Around

When you cheated girl, my heart bleeded girl…

Enough said.

Leave a Comment