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Are These Songs Sneakily Sabotaging Your Grammar?'

Whimsical collage of a woman shooting bubbles with a stereo in the front

I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t EVERY song sneakily sabotaging my grammar? How could you even narrow it down?”

Here’s the deal: I didn’t include songs with obvious errors, the ones so egregious they’re basically just creative license. 

Instead, I focused on errors that I actually hear people make. When people sing these songs, they're sneakily sabotaging their own grammar by repeating something they believe is correct...when it isn't!

Let’s be clear before we dive in: I have nothing against these songs or artists! We’re just talking about grammar here.


The line?

“You and me are thrifty, so go all you can eat…Fill up your bag and I’ll fill up a plate.”

You and ME are thrifty?

I think not!

It should read: “You and I are thrifty…”

It doesn’t have the same ring to it, but here’s the trick to knowing which pronoun to use: take the other person out of the sentence. Would you say ME is thrifty or I am thrifty? (The verb can change to reflect who’s speaking).

Since “I am thrifty,” it’s “You and I are thrifty!”


The first time I heard this song, I literally groaned.

I was driving to tutor some students and had a sickening sensation that, some years down the road, we’d start hearing kids everywhere begin to butcher the English past tense.

The part of the song in question?

“You probably think that you are better now (better now)

You only say that cause I’m not around (not around)

You know I never meant to let you down (let you down)


In the normal past tense, “gave” is fine, like “I gave you everything.”

But that “woulda” changes things. Presumably it’s short for “would have,” which means we’re getting into conditionals and participles, so GAVE becomes GIVEN!

“[I] would have given you everything” is the grammatically correct line!


In all fairness to Justin, almost no one properly uses the subjunctive, myself included. The line I’m talking about?

“If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go.”

The subjunctive is slightly different in every language, but in English, people tend to confuse it with the past tense.

We say, “I was your boyfriend,” so when it becomes conditional, we also want it to be, “If I was your boyfriend.”

However, there is an IF! This is no longer something that happened in the past! It’s subjunctive now!

The correct line would be:

“If I WERE your boyfriend, I’d never let you go.”

In general, it’s “I was,” but “If I were…”

Dive deeper on the Vocabbett podcast!

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