One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other Music Songwriters – Should You Use Good Grammar When Writing Your Lyrics?

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Songwriters – Should You Use Good Grammar When Writing Your Lyrics?

Use good grammar

Unless you have a good reason to deviate from the normal rules of grammar, you shouldn’t. Thinking about the grammar of several songs makes it difficult to hear the lyrics.

One of those songs is “More Than Words” by Extreme. The song begins with the line, “Say ‘I love you’ is not what I want you to hear.” If you had written that sentence on a high school paper, your English teacher would still be slapping you to this day… and rightly so. love” would have made more sense from a grammar point of view, especially since it’s the first line of the song and sets the tone for what’s to come.

What comes after that doesn’t get much better. Another line in this quote says, “To make it real, you have to do more than words.” I don’t even know how to fix it. But you can see how that makes for rough listening.

I love “More Than Words” so I’m not trying to beat “Extreme”. However, for no reason other than not being familiar with grammar, grammar mistakes are better here.

Using bad grammar

After reading what I just wrote, you might think that you should never stray from the rules of grammar when writing songs, but that’s not the case at all.

As a singer, you are the character of your own story. Different characters speak in different ways. For example, Amy Winehouse sings the line “I ain’t got no time, if daddy thinks I’m alright” in her song “Rehab.” Of course, using the word “ain’t” is considered ungrammatical, but in the context of this song, it’s fine. Fits Amy Winehouse’s “character” in this song. He’s tough and rough around the edges, so of course he uses the word “is” when he doesn’t want to do something. It makes sense.

A similar thing happens in the title track of Winehouse’s Me and Mr. Jones. Of course, from a grammatical point of view, the line is incorrect. However, putting “me” first is a common mistake that Winehouse’s character uses. Besides, if he had used the correct grammar, the song would have been called “Mr. Jones and Me,” and Counting Crows already had a big hit with that song.

That’s not to say Winehouse doesn’t run into grammatical problems in other lines of her song, as we saw in the Extreme example. However, in the cases we’ve talked about here, it doesn’t bother me because it speaks to his character.

The same idea applies to lines like “I can take no satisfaction.” Sure, that line is a grammatical nightmare, but that’s okay because it suits Mick Jagger’s angry persona. I hope we talk about his character like that. Likewise, I wouldn’t expect Eminem to make a grammatical mistake in a song.

That’s why you shouldn’t repeat your entire song and try to rewrite lines that use made-up words like “”.will be,” or “I want,” because people say these things in North American English. That’s okay. Most of the time, the lyrics are as conversational as these “fake” words. Most of the time, hearing “I” sounds weirder. ‘s going to’ that it would to hear “I’m gonna” because that inflection has become so common.speak your mind.

Also, it would be wise to know the difference between “your”, “you”, “there”, “they”, “their”, etc., but since we only hear sounds, it is not even audible. When writing lyrics, have someone come for you unless they see the words you’ve written. In this case, it’s helpful to know when to use them so you look like you know what you’re talking about.

Last note

As you can see, grammar mistakes are common when writing songs (but don’t tell your English teacher I told you so!). If you’re twisting the normal rules of grammar to make one of your poems work, you’re using the wrong grammar for the wrong reason. If your character is doing it because that’s how they talk to someone, that’s fine.

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