IF there’s one thing musicians ain’t not bothered about, it’s grammatical accuracy. Here are some song lyrics that have grammar Nazis absolutely fuming.
Brown Eyed Girl
Not content with displaying a breathtaking lack of understanding of science, Covid crackpot Van Morrison does the same with the rules of grammar, missing the hyphen between brown and eyed. He should have spent his lockdowns studying grammar instead of knocking scientists.
You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog
This Elvis Presley classic leaves grammar Nazis crying all the time. Translated into grammatically correct English, the double negative ‘you are not nothing’ means the subject of the song is not a hound dog. A good editor would have stripped it all back and left the line simply as ‘You are not a hound dog’.
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Not only do The Rolling Stones butcher the English language by using the egregious phrase ‘off of’ instead of simply ‘off’, the song was written as a follow-up to the equally heinous ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’, which needs to be rewritten as ‘I can’t get any satisfaction’.
Famously, none of the items listed in Alanis Morissette’s song ‘Ironic’ is irony. From the old duffer dying the day after winning the lottery through to the good advice you just didn’t take, none of them is ironic. Although if she deliberately included non-ironic incidents to wind up grammar Nazis, it would be kind of ironic that the world thinks she’s a grammar dunce when, in fact, she really knows her stuff.
If I lay here
Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ makes a mistake that a six-year-old would rightly earn detention for – confusing the past and present tenses of the verb ‘to lie’. The lyric should read ‘If I lie here, if I just lie here’. Had it been correct, it might have reached higher than number six in the UK charts when it was released.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ features the lyrics ‘you need an education, got to go to school’. Grammar Nazis would agree wholeheartedly, provided that education includes remedial grammar lessons needed to correct the lyrics to ‘You haven’t seen anything yet’.
Dean Martin’s classic features the line ‘when you dance down the street, with a cloud at your feet’. Anyone knows that clouds can only form high up in the atmosphere. If it’s at your feet, it’s fog.