When Grammar Goes Bad…So Does Romance?

I have a Facebook friend who, I think, is the head of the Grammar Police in our neck of the woods. He always has these posts that set me off on grammar review sprees. Today, this is his status:

The first thing I did was to google (yes, I used that as a verb) the lyrics of Bad Romance.  So why did my friend write that note to Lady Gaga?  Here are some lines from the song:

I want your love, and I want your revenge.
You and me could write a bad romance.

I suppose I can write a lengthy explanation about why the sentence is incorrect, but suffice it to say that “I” is the proper word as it is the subject of the sentence.  Although as one commenter said, if Lady Gaga had used “I” instead of “me,” the song would probably have not been as catchy. So does bad grammar make for bad romance? Probably not.

So this simple Facebook status determined my grammar post for this week: song lyrics that have questionable grammar.

Name this song: ((Run to You by Bryan Adams))

She says her love for me could never die;
but that’d change if she ever found out about you and I.

Now this is the exact opposite of Lady Gaga’s song.  This should be “…you and me.”

Here’s a quick tip for sentences following the two structures above: remove the “you” and check whether “I” or “me” works better.

The next song needs no guessing, I suppose, but I will share the video with you. It will certainly make your Monday brighter. Just make sure that you “look out” for the subject-verb agreement mistake. ((Every Little Thing She Does is Magic by The Police))

Every little thing she does is magic.
Every thing she do just turns me on.

The English teacher in me cringes every time I hear the second line – so much so that when I sing it, I unconsciously say “does” – but this song is too catchy and The Police too cute that I end up not minding the mistake.

Let’s face it – LOTS of song lyrics out there are grammatically unsound.  They will make us cringe or shake our heads, but many will argue that they are covered by artistic freedom.  I leave you with this question: where do you draw the line between artistic freedom and correct grammar?



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5 responses
  1. Joy Avatar

    When it comes to music, artistic freedom reigns. Without it, we wouldn’t have ever heard the words “doo-be-doo-be-dooooo” come out of Sinatra’s mouth.

    Grammar is an important part of language. In our quest for mastery over words, let’s not forget the aim of language, which is the conveyance of ideas. A talented writer or song lyricist has the ability to manipulate language beyond conventional rules – something that both Lady Gaga and Sting can do.

  2. Issa @ Ajeva Avatar

    Haha… you made me laugh here. I bet there are a lot of songs out there that will make you cringe for a year. But I’d like to salute Lady Gaga for having a total of 1billion views on YouTube – and she’s the very first to have accomplished that. Anyway, I think you will also see these mistakes in many ad copies, all done for the sake of ‘brain itch’ so people can easily remember a brand, product, or service.

  3. steven Avatar

    This is the stupidest blog/post I’ve read in a long time. First, oral usage trumps written, the latter stemming from the former. Second, linguistically, language developes and changes over time and with the people. Speakers have a continual need to create and change, therefore so does the language. It was not handed down to us from some grammatical god, it was created by people and continues to be. Third, sting was an English teacher, and I’m sure a hell of a lot better one than the writer of this blog is. Poetry is about creativity, sound and meaning, as are lyrics. They arrangement and novelty of words bring truth and life to the songs, and to our everyday speech, which, most of the time, is ungrammatical. Get past your black and white and embrace words, their meaning, and the act of artful creation. If Shakespeare was here he’d slap you hard. Please don’t make any more children hate English with your stupid, outdated laws. It’s sad that people like this can teach anything. Teach math if you want to be a tool.

    1. Franky Branckaute Avatar

      The problem with comments like these is that you look like a moron when you make a typo. Just saying.

      Franky Branckaute.
      Splashpress Media CEO.

      1. David Avatar

        Why would he look like a moron? He’s suggesting that rules be thrown out the window for various mediums of communication. I would bet that steven would suggest that you allow a certain amount of leeway with grammar and spelling when commenting on a blog post.

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