Category Archives: Music

Is that a question, Jessica?

This is the cover of Jessica Simpson’s new country album.  I could say something, but I’ll leave it to my favorite blogger: Michael K of Dlisted.

Doesn’t the title need a question mark? Wait, I get it. Jessica’s dumb face is the question mark.

LOVE IT!  Here’s the rest of what Michael K wrote.  It’s hilarious, but it’s a tad off-color for this blog.

This is a perfect example of the kind of stuff that irks me.  What does the record company gain from leaving off the question mark? What does Jessica Simpson gain?  Does leaving the question mark off really make the cover better?

I don’t think that it does.  If there are any graphic designers or marketing professionals out there (hell, I’m a marketing professional!) who disagree, please let me know.  I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Punctuation Contest — SEXY CAN I

I enjoyed your corrections to “Everything is super when you don’t you think I look cute in this hat?” so much that I’ve got a new one for you.

Let’s try this sentence, a gem of a lyric from singer and amateur porn star Ray-J’s hit song and McCulley favorite, “Sexy Can I”:

Sexy can I just pardon my manners girl how you shake it got a player like oh

Man, I love that song.

How would you punctuate it?

There seem to be a lot of possibilities…

The winner will get a chance to plug his or her favorite thing on this blog, whether it be the winner’s own blog or anything else!

Let’s see what we’ve got!

All I wanna know is — SEXY CAN I?

Gripe of the Day

While in Starbucks today, I came across the following album:As if country music didn’t have enough grammatical errors already.

I bet this album was marketed by the same people who did the “RUN EASY BOSTON” Reebok ads.

This is BEAUTIFUL.

I saw this on Ticketmaster the other day, and it made me delirious with happiness.

The Final Year
Fewer than 50 performances left! Don’t miss Celine Dion in Vegas!
Beautiful.
BEAUTIFUL.
In a land where virtually every grocery store seems to have a lane for “12 items or LESS,” it’s a rare treat to see the word fewer used correctly.
Ticketmaster, I applaud you!
Now, if only the Brood can get to Vegas before Celine’s show ends….

Worst Grammar Offenses in Pop Culture

I was perusing the discussion boards on the “Good Grammar Is Hot” group on Facebook, and I came across a discussion of the worst grammar offenses in pop culture.

Here are some of them:

John G:

Okay, mine is from Justin Timberlake’s song “what goes around.” He actually
says, “my heart BLEEDED, girl”

Well, there aren’t too many words that rhyme with cheated. Did I mention that I swore up and down that I thought I saw him driving through Powderhouse Circle the other night when he was in town?

Joaquina G:

How about the song “the way I are”

Alexa already brought that up! Timbaland doesn’t even sing that line anywhere in the song! It’s just the title!

Caleb T:

“How you doing?” ……………..stupid Joey

Heh.

Marc Z:

That rap tune that goes “is you is or is you ain’t” is pretty bad. Also, The Doors song, Touch Me, features the lyric:
“I’m gonna love you
Till the stars fall from the sky
For you and I”
Which has always bothered me.

I cannot STAND it when people use I instead of me. The people who do this tend to emphasize the I, and many probably think that they’re being intelligent, speaking better than anyone. Well, all of you know that they’re wrong.

Ellen A:

Does anyone else hate Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry?”
“I’m not gonna miss you, like a child misses their blanket.”
It grates, and I have to change the station until the song is over.

I completely agree. This line of the song bugs me SO much! It ruins the song for me, and the song isn’t even that great. (I think Fergie should stick to the crazy/strange dance numbers.)

Abigail B:

backstreet boys “all i have to give”
“does his friends get all your time?” and “does his gifts come from the heart?”
gee, i DOESN’T know… DOES THEY??


This is for the Brood, my best friends from home. We used to make music videos to this song and “I Want It That Way.”

Yoni B:

In a rap song (the rapper’s name eludes me at the moment):’Do your chain hang low? Do it wobble to the floor(read “flo”)? Do it shine in the light? Is it platinum, is it gold?’He’s managed to rhyme ‘low’ with ‘floor’ and ‘gold.’ Quite the feat.

I detest this song.

Kandi R:

John Cougar Mellencamp, “Small Town”. I’m a Hoosier from a small town myself, and I love the song, and I love the Coug, but one of the lines is: “and I cannot forget from where it is that I come from”.

Oh, God. Beyond redundant.

I’m not going to comment on the specific writing of these Facebook posters.

Why not?

I’m here to talk about grammar errors made by companies, businesses, groups and institutions with the financial means to afford an editor. I don’t go after individuals unless the errors are jaw-droppingly egregious, and I don’t turn up my nose at every email I receive. (So many of you write to tell me that you’re afraid of what I’ll say about your writing — relax!!)

That being said, however, I am a bit surprised that some of the people in a group called “Good Grammar Is Hot” have no qualms about posting a sentence full of errors.

That is all.

It’s late and I have to be at work in just over nine hours….I only got home from work an hour ago. OH, NO!! I just realized that I missed Barack Obama on The Daily Show!!

I have some plans for tomorrow night — I’m going out to Union with my friend Lisa, as they still have their Restaurant Week menu (for more on Restaurant Week, visit Kate’s Adventures) — and then we may try to visit the Beehive or just do our usual Hong Kong thing. Either way, I won’t be posting tomorrow night.

Have a great few days!

ATGV: "Hip Hop" or "Hip-Hop"?

I received the following question from a beloved reader:

Hi, Grammar Vandal,

First, let me say that I’m delighted to share the same city with you. Of any city in the US, Boston should be putting its best linguistic foot forward. And when it doesn’t, it deserves a little corrective vandalism.

So, here’s my question: “Hip Hop” – I know that it is currently correct to use it both withand without a hyphen, but what about when it’s a modifier? Does it behave like any other compound? E.g., he was well known vs. he was a well-known person. So, “I’ve been doing hip hop for a decade now…”vs “The hip-hop scene has changed a lot since Tupac was shot.”

Actually, I guess we could pose the question of capitalization aswell, although since rock, disco and reggae don’t get special capitalization status as a music genre, I don’t think hip hop should either.

Any thoughts or suggested web references? I have the Chicago Manual of Style, AP Style Guide and US Govt Manual of Style on hand here as physical resources but none of them seem to care much about hip hop.

Many thanks for your advice!

MollyMac in Brookline

You know, I thought that this would be so easy. I thought that all it would take would be a few quick searches to find an answer. Not so much.

Like MollyMac said, neither hip hop nor hip-hop are listed in any of the aformentioned guides. Because of this, I’m going to do a survey of modern music information sources and tally what they use.

Here we go:

Hip Hop: NONE!

Hip-Hop:
–iTunes
–Amazon.com
–Billboard
Rolling Stone
Blender

Both:
–Wikipedia
Vibe

To add in a few literary sources, I checked out the American Heritage Dictionary and Random House Unabridged Dictionary. Both use hip-hop.

MollyMac, I think you have your answer! This is pretty interesting. I always preferred to use hip-hop, and I’m glad that it’s the default of so many major music sources.

Thanks, MollyMac. I particularly love the comma you used after “Hi.”

Lily Allen: Great Music, Questionable Grammar

Greetings, all! I just got back from a few days away at White Lake State Park in Tamworth, New Hampshire. (This is my 24th summer there, and considering that I’m only 23, you can tell just how hardcore my family is for this place! I first visited when I was 12 days old!)
On the way back, I listened to Lily Allen’s album. I like her — she’s unique and one of the best British artists to have a hit in the U.S. in the past few years. Her music is reggae-influenced pop, and her lyrics are witty and sometimes slightly inappropriate.
I do not, however, like her grammar.
The title of the album is Alright, Still. We’ve had this discussion more than a few times, but I contend that it should be All Right instead of Alright.
Here are two of the song titles (and two of my favorite songs):
4) Everythings Just Wonderful
12) Nan You’re A Window Shopper
Regarding #4, is it so hard to add an apostrophe to Everythings? Does it add anything to the song to remove it?
(For the record, I noticed on Amazon.com that the song title has the apostrophe. It does not on my iPod or on iTunes.)
Regarding #12, comma! COMMA!! Please add it after Nan.
Ugh. Lily, I know that you’re upset that Amy Winehouse is getting all the love, but maybe using correct punctuation will increase your good karma here in the States. It will with my blog readers, at least.

Ironic, Part II

Jeff, thank you so much for reminding me! How could I forget about Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic,” one of my favorite songs when I was in middle school?

I absolutely adored Alanis Morissette when I was in the sixth and seventh grades. That was around 1996, when Jagged Little Pill was topping the charts. Everyone in my school was listening to Alanis.

(Side note: Wow, now I’m thinking about all the other music I loved back then: Hootie and the Blowfish, Oasis, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and especially COOLIO! I couldn’t get enough of “Gangsta’s Paradise.”)

I remember sitting in a van with several fellow students in Atlanta, Georgia, when one of the boys said, “The thing about ‘Ironic’ is that it’s not ironic; it’s just bad stuff that happens to you.”

At the time, I spent more time observing that we always remember the bad things in life more than the good things. “It’s like rain on your wedding day,” sang Alanis. Yes, it’s too bad that it’s raining on your wedding day, especially if you had planned a lavish outdoor reception, but isn’t it wonderful that you just got married?

Here are some of the lyrics:

Traffic jam when you’re already late
A “No Smoking” sign on your cigarette break
It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams, then meeting his beautiful wife

It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
And who would’ve thought? It figures

This is a bit tough. At first glance, I see these lyrics as a juxtaposition of good and bad things than examples of irony. That juxtaposition doesn’t seem to be enough.

However, if some sentences are tweaked slightly, they make good examples of irony.

Some examples:

–”The T was running for free all evening following the fireworks. Ironically, I had filled my CharlieCard in advance, expecting to pay both ways, so I was unable to take full advantage of the free transportation.”

–”The only item I needed was a knife to cut the cake. Ironically, I couldn’t have asked for more spoons; there were enough for an army!”

What do you think?

Ironic, Part II

Jeff, thank you so much for reminding me! How could I forget about Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic,” one of my favorite songs when I was in middle school?

I absolutely adored Alanis Morissette when I was in the sixth and seventh grades. That was around 1996, when Jagged Little Pill was topping the charts. Everyone in my school was listening to Alanis.

(Side note: Wow, now I’m thinking about all the other music I loved back then: Hootie and the Blowfish, Oasis, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and especially COOLIO! I couldn’t get enough of “Gangsta’s Paradise.”)

I remember sitting in a van with several fellow students in Atlanta, Georgia, when one of the boys said, “The thing about ‘Ironic’ is that it’s not ironic; it’s just bad stuff that happens to you.”

At the time, I spent more time observing that we always remember the bad things in life more than the good things. “It’s like rain on your wedding day,” sang Alanis. Yes, it’s too bad that it’s raining on your wedding day, especially if you had planned a lavish outdoor reception, but isn’t it wonderful that you just got married?

Here are some of the lyrics:

Traffic jam when you’re already late
A “No Smoking” sign on your cigarette break
It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams, then meeting his beautiful wife

It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
And who would’ve thought? It figures

This is a bit tough. At first glance, I see these lyrics as a juxtaposition of good and bad things than examples of irony. That juxtaposition doesn’t seem to be enough.

However, if some sentences are tweaked slightly, they make good examples of irony.

Some examples:

–”The T was running for free all evening following the fireworks. Ironically, I had filled my CharlieCard in advance, expecting to pay both ways, so I was unable to take full advantage of the free transportation.”

–”The only item I needed was a knife to cut the cake. Ironically, I couldn’t have asked for more spoons; there were enough for an army!”

What do you think?