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jfos's avatar

Do you know of any famous grammatical errors?

Asked by jfos (7370points) May 17th, 2010

One that I always notice is in Pink Floyd’s song “Comfortably Numb”. One of the verses is:

Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working good.
That’ll keep you going for the show.
Come on, it’s time to go.

‘Good’, an adjective, can not be used to describe the verb ‘working’... Unless it’s used as its own sentence, such as ”I do believe it’s working. Good.” That isn’t how it sounds, though.

Anyway, have you noticed any grammatical errors in famous works?

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29 Answers

bob_'s avatar

If Pink Floyd say they “don’t need no education”, they’re disproving their own point.

Trillian's avatar

@jfos, I agree with that one, and I always thought of it as a second, one word sentence. That is the only way that it would be proper. One always expects the British to speak proper English, and is always surprised when it fails to happen. Speaking of the British;
I’ll stop at one that always puts me writhing on the floor, especially considering the source, from whom one would expect better. From Live and let die, “And in this ever changing world in which we live in….”
Are you serious? “In which we live in”? Come on Paul. I’m surprised you could bring yourself to say it.

jfos's avatar

@bob_ True.

@Trillian Good one! I didn’t notice that, but now I see it.

Blackberry's avatar

Any famous rapper will spit them out like it’s going out of style. Although with some, their skill is so tremendous that it can be ignored lol. One of my favorites is when Jay-Z says “The magnum revolve like the sun ‘round the earth…”. I really hope that was a mistake and Jay-Z actually knows it’s the other way around lol.

bob_'s avatar

@Blackberry I’m just happy he knows there’s some revolving taking place.

Thammuz's avatar

@bob_ I lol’d hard

bob_'s avatar

@Thammuz You lol, you make me a sandwich. Or, in your case, a panino would also be acceptable.

Thammuz's avatar

@bob_ Done. It will take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive there. Also it will probably get lost in the mail.

Seek's avatar

“I can’t get no satisfaction.” So what’s your problem?

“They said you was high class, that was just a lie.” Uhm, ‘were’?

“I’m the one that jaded you” – “Who”, Steve. Try again.

“Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man.” – John, I know what you’re trying to say, but it’s really coming off that you’d rather your girlfriend be dead than to be gay himself.

bob_'s avatar

@Thammuz I knew Poste Italiane wasn’t to be trusted…

Zen_Again's avatar

@jfos I do believe it’s working. Good. Is correct.

jfos's avatar

@Zen_Again I know that way is correct in terms of grammar (no pun intended), but I don’t know if that is the way it is intended. That is, it might be intended to be “working good.”

Primobabe's avatar

“What if G-d was one of us…” instead of “What if G-d were one of us.”

Primobabe's avatar

How about just a widespread, longterm misuse of a word? “Ain’t” is the contraction of “am I not.” It’s grammatically correct to say “Ain’t I going with you?”, but it’s wrong, wrong, wrong to say “Aren’t I going with you?”. Nobody would ever say “I are going.”

gasman's avatar

“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” (should be “as”)

Seek's avatar

“Ain’t” is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I want to blow something up every time I hear it. There is a far better way to fix “Aren’t I going with you” than to use “ain’t”. How about “Aren’t we going together?” or “May I come with you?”

As far as word misuse, things like “a whole ‘nother” cause instant facepalm.

tinyfaery's avatar

Should lyrics really count? The words are to compliment the music, and sometimes odd word placement (or bad grammar) just sounds better.

gasman's avatar

Lyrics from The Girl from Ipanema:
”...But each day when she walks to the sea / She looks straight ahead not at he…” (should be “him”, but of course that ruins the rhyme).

Primobabe's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr You and every other educated person. After something’s been so grossly misused, it can’t be reclaimed for its good and true purpose. A case in point—the swastika is an ancient symbol of good fortune, but the Nazi party appropriated it and turned it into something terrible.

Primobabe's avatar

Let’s not forget about people who use “like” instead of “said.”

So, he’s like, “Do you want to come with us?”, and I’m like, “No”, and he’s like, “Why not?”, and I’m like, “I have other plans”, and he’s like…

Seek's avatar

“And I says to Travis ‘Oh my go-od!’ and he was all ‘No way’ and I was like ‘Uh huh’ and I says ‘and that’s a whole nother story’.”

ubersiren's avatar

Woe is me should be Woe is I.

Side note: I find incorrect grammar in pop music perfectly acceptable.

Primobabe's avatar

Here’s my own version of fingernails on a blackboard—conversation peppered with the word “like.”

“Can I, like, borrow, your bicycle for, like, an hour because I, like, need to, like, go somewhere and, like, my car’s, like, not working.”

This affectation started years ago among teenaged girls. The boys didn’t speak that way, and the girls dropped the habit, and learned to communicate effectively, shortly after high school. Today, however, both the boys and girls are addicted to “like,” and they carry the habit into adulthood.

The greatest problem is that bad habits are difficult to turn on and off; we revert to comfortable and familiar behavior during stressful situations. Try to imagine a 27-year-old employee in a meeting with his/her boss—usually an anxious experience—and slipping into, “well, the client, like, told me redo our proposal because we, like, missed some of the, like, key points and didn’t, like, meet expectations.” Believe me, I’ve seen it happen.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Trillian – Oh, that one actually hurts my ears to hear. Shame on Paul!

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Mission Accomplished. Geo. Bush.

morphail's avatar

@ubersiren No, “woe is me” is the standard phrase. It’s a continuation of the Old English phrase, where the pronoun was in the dative case, so it literally meant “woe is unto me”.

the100thmonkey's avatar

It’s not a grammatical mistake and I believe Waters would probably punch you if you accused him of making one.

The line should be:

I do believe it’s working , good.

“good” here is a reduced comment clause – i.e. “I do believe it’s working, that is good.”

I’ve never interpreted it as anything else.

morphail's avatar

“Good” has been an adverb since the 13th century. It’s usually found in speech and not formal writing. I don’t see what’s so objectionable about using adverbial “good” in a song.

Dwelleth with us, whil yow good list, in Troie. – Chaucer’s Troylus and Cryseyde

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I used to live in Pittsburgh, and the most famous grammatical error there was to drop the verb “to be.” For instance:

“The car needs fixed.”
“The dog needs walked.”

As @Seek_Kolinahr said, it’s a definite facepalm.

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