Can You Spot the Grammatical Errors in These '80s Songs?

By: Sameena Mughal
Estimated Completion Time
11 min
Can You Spot the Grammatical Errors in These '80s Songs?
Image: RichVintage / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Music went to the next level in the '80s. MTV created a whole new generation of music heads. Who doesn't remember The Police and Bon Jovi? Remember the hair bands like Whitesnake or New Wave bands like A Flock of Seagulls? Classic rock bands like The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith were leaving their mark in the '80s, too. 

The songs from this time come up in our lives every day. We hear them in commercials and movies. When we're out, we hear them at weddings, restaurants and cafes. How many people have "Livin' on a Prayer" as their go-to karaoke song? Catchy songs like Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and Dexy's Midnight Runner's "Come on Eileen" are etched on our brains. Most of us have a memory attached to at least one of these songs.

But have you ever paid attention to the grammar in some of these musical gems? You can snap your fingers to it, but your English teacher would cringe at some of the fun with words in lyrics. Missing letters, extra letters, wrong words and plain made-up words abound in these songs. Take our quiz and see if you can spot the grammar mistakes! Have fun!


"Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!" Call the grammar police and tell us the grammar mistake!
Ghostbusters is two words.
The exclamation mark after Ghostbusters isn't necessary. Why would that be exciting?
"Gonna" should be "going to." Proper grammar should scare a ghost away!
"Gonna" is slang. "Going to" is actual English.
"Who" should be "what." We are talking about ghosts, not people.

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"Everytime you go away…" You take a piece of the English language. Tell us the mistake!
"Every time" should be written as two words.
"Everytime" is not like "everyday." It is two words.
Don't be so picky! There isn't one!
Instead of "go," the songwriter should have used "went."
"Everytime" should be "all the time."

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"Hungry eyes. I feel the magic between you and I." Give us the magic and name the error!
You don't need "the" before magic, duh!
I don't feel magic between "you and I." I feel magic between "you and me."
"Between" is a preposition. "Me" is the object of a preposition, not "I."
How can eyes be hungry?
Hungry eyes is not a complete sentence. The grammar gods are not pleased!

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"Every little thing she does is magic. Everything she do just turn me on." Where does the magic stop? Where's the mistake?
"Everything" is two words.
She "do magic," not "does magic."
"Little" doesn't belong. It should be "everything" because everything she does is magic.
"Does," not "do." "Turns," not "turn." The bad grammar turns off.
Subject-verb agreement is the magic rule here. "Does" agrees with "she." "Turns" agrees with "everything."

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We're not halfway there. But we're still "Livin' On a Prayer." What's wrong with that title?
"With" is better than "on" here. We all live with something, right?
The apostrophe shouldn't be there. Let it fly!
Are we "livin'" or "living?" We're living.
"Livin'" is informal and also spelled incorrectly. It's all about enunciation!
There should be an "S" after "prayer." Who lives on just one?

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"I Wanna Dance With Somebody. I wanna feel the heat with somebody… With somebody who loves me." But I have to understand them first. What's wrong with these lyrics?
"Dance with somebody." How about "someone?"
"Feel the heat?" How about "feel heat?"
"Who loves" or "who love?"
"Wanna" what? "Want to!"
"Wanna" is pure slang. "Want to" is the accepted way to say and write that. It's not catchy, but it's correct.

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"Don't Stop Believin'. Hold on to that feeling." Hold on to your words. Can you spot the error?
"That feeling" or "this feeling?"
Seeing is believing. Don't stop "believing."
The word is "believing," not "believin'." Where's the beef? Where's the "G?"
Is the word "on" really necessary? "Hold to that feeling."
"Don't stop believin'. Hold on to that feeling." Are we missing the subject?

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"I can't get no satisfaction. I can't get me no satisfaction." You'll get no satisfaction with grammar here. Can you tell us the mistake?
"I can't get me..." We already know it's you. Don't put "me" in it.
"Can't" or "can not?"
"I can't get no satisfaction." I can't get any satisfaction. Too bad!
You don't use "no" in a negative sentence. Ahh… the logic of the English language!
No mistake here. I'm satisfied!

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In "Sweet Child O' Mine," that "Sweet love of mine… And if I'd stare too long, I'd probably break down and cry…" Can you see the mistake?
"O'" is a letter. "Of" is a word.
The word is "of," not the letter "O." Use your words and your letters!
What about the sweet child? Where's the rest?
"I would" instead of "I'd."
"Breakdown" instead of "break down." Space makes a difference.

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"She knows just what it takes to make a pro blush. She got Greta Garbo stand-off sighs… She's got Bette Davis Eyes." She'll make an English teacher blush, too. Where's the mistake?
"What it take," not "what it takes."
"Just" is not just here.
"She has." Not "she got." She has sighs and eyes. No one gave them to her.
"Has" when you possess something; "got" when someone gives you something. It's all about having and receiving.
Is Bette Davis really an adjective?

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"Push it. Push it real good!" They're pushing it with the bad grammar. Can you spot it?
"Really" instead of "real." Really!
"Well" instead of "good." Good!
Both are mistakes. They pushed it!
"Real" is an adjective, but so is "good." You need adverbs in both spots. "Push it really well" just isn't the same, is it?
Neither. Nothing wrong with those lyrics!

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"Now I know I've got to run away. I've got to." That's "Tainted Love," but it's tainted English, too. Where's the mistake?
The second "I've got to" is unnecessary. We got it the first time/
"I've got to?" No, "I have to."
"Have" means "must" here. "Got" means "to receive something." "Got" doesn't fit here. Let it fly.
"I have" instead of "I've." Enunciate!
It's fine as it is.

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"Buying bread from a man in Brussels. He was six-foot-four and full of muscles. I said, 'Do you speak-a my language?' He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich." They came from a land "Down Under." Can you spot the mistake?
"From Brussels" instead of "in Brussels." Be specific.
Isn't there always a comma before "and?"
Is Vegemite a thing?
"Speak-a?" How about "speak?"
Like "ain't" ain't a word, "speak-a" ain't a word, either.

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Madonna felt "Like a Virgin." She "made it through the wilderness…I was beat, incomplete… I'd been had. I was sad and blue." The grammar beat her here. Where's the mistake?
I don't see one. Don't pick on a classic!
"I was beat…" The word "beat" is incomplete. "I was beaten."
"I'd been had." I had been had. She meant "fooled."
Both are mistakes! She went big!
"Had" is informal in place of "fooled." "Beaten" is the needed adverb.

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"I'll do anything that you want me to do. I'll do almost anything that you want me to. But I can't go for that (No can do)." Can't do the grammar here. Can you spot the error?
"Can't" or "won't?" Won't.
"No can do." I can't go for that grammar.
If you can't do something, you can't do something.
"You want me to." "Do" is missing. Where did it go?
"I'll do anything that you want me to do." "That" is not needed.

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Queen couldn't handle "This thing called love. I just can't handle it… It shakes all over like a jellyfish. I kinda like it. Crazy little thing called love." But I can still spot the mistake. Can you?
Can a jellyfish shake?
What's the "crazy little thing called love" doing? Where's the verb?
"It shakes all over…" If it shakes, wouldn't be all over?
"Kinda?" "Kind of!"
Adding the letter "A" at the end of a word doesn't make it a word.

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ABBA knew "The Winner Takes It All." "The gods may throw a dice, their minds as cold as ice. And someone way down here loses someone dear. The winner takes it all." You'll be a winner if you can tell us the grammar mistake. What is it?
"As cold as ice…" Let's lose the first "as."
"The gods may throw a dice." A dice? Dice is plural. No "a." No way.
"A" is singular. "Dice" is plural. Not good English. Good thing ABBA was Swedish.
"The winner takes it all" should be "The winner takes all."
"And someone way down here…" Conjunction at the beginning of a sentence? Nope.

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Eurythmics knew "Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree? I travel the world and the seven seas." Can you spot the grammar mistake?
"Are made of this…" Made of what?
"This" is a pronoun that points to a noun. No noun here. We don't know what the "this" is in this song.
"I travel the world…" Is she doing it right now?
Both are incorrect.
Neither is incorrect.

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Whitesnake said, "Here I Go Again." "I never seem to find what I'm looking for. Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on. 'Cause I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams."
"You give me strength to carry on…" Are we missing a word? Like "the?"
"I'm?" How about "I am?"
"'Cause I know what it means…" should be "Because I know what it means…"
"'Cause" is a completely different word than "because."
"To walk along the lonely street of dreams." You can just "walk the street of dreams." Can't you?

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Musical Youth wanted to "Pass the Dutchie." "So I stopped to find out what was going on. How does it feel when you've got no food. The spirit of Jah, you know he leads you on…"
"The spirit of Jah…" Who's Jah?
"Pass the Dutchie." Who do you want to pass the dutchie?
"Music happen to be the food of love." It's the food of life, too!
"Music" is a collective, singular noun.
"When you've got no food…" should be "when you have no food."

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"I Melt With You." "(You should know better). Dream of better lives, the kind which never hate (You should see why). Dropped in the state of imaginary grace." But I don't melt over the grammar. Where's the mistake?
"Dream of better lives, the kind which never hate." An "S" is easy to forget, isn't it?
"Kind" is singular, so hates needs an "S."
"You should see why." Why what?
"(You should know better)." You should know better than to not have pointless parentheses.
"Dropped in the state of imaginary grace." Dropped what? Subject, please!

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The Clash talked about "London Calling." Their English teacher is calling. "Engines stop running, the wheat is growin' thin. A nuclear error, but I have no fear 'cause London is drowning. 'Cause I, I live by the river."
"Engines stop running." Can engines run?
"A nuclear error, but I have no fear." Is that a complete thought?
"'Cause London is drowning. 'Cause I, I live by the river." An extra "I" has it!
Two "I"s joined together by just a comma isn't a proper joining.
"London Calling." Who is London calling?

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The Beastie Boys wanted to "Fight for Your Right." They won't win with this grammar. "Don't step out of this house if that's the clothes you're gonna wear. I'll kick you out of my home if you don't cut that hair. Your mom busted in and said, 'What's that noise?'"
"Fight for your right."
"I'll kick you out of my home if you don't cut that hair." Where's the comma?
"You're gonna wear and your mom busted in…" Is your/you're right?
"If that's the clothes you're gonna wear." "Those are." Don't get started on "gonna."
"Clothes" is plural. The pronoun and verb should be, too.

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Billy Idol talked about his sister's "White Wedding." Can you spot the grammar error? "Hey, little sister, who is it you're with?"
"Hey" needs an exclamation mark!
"Little sister" needs a capital. He's calling her that.
"Hey, little sister," should have a period, not a comma. Period!
"Who is it you're with?"
"It" and "is" are not needed. "Who are you with" could say it all.

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"Bust a Move" and tell us the grammar mistake. "But you're standing on the wall like you was Poindexter. Next day's function, high-class luncheon…"
"But you're standing on the wall…" Starting a sentence with 'but." And that's not good.
"Like you was Poindexter."
Plural verbs go with plural pronouns. No mixing and matching.
"Bust a move." Slang much?
"Day's" or "days?"

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"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." Now go-go find the grammar mistake. "Don't leave me hanging on like a yo-yo… I don't want to miss it when you hit that high."
"Don't leave me hanging like a yo-yo."
"I don't want to miss it…" Miss what?
"Wake me up before you go-go." Did I stutter?
"Go-go" is not a real word. At least not how they're using it.
"When you hit that high…" Which high?

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"Straight Up." Find the grammar goof. "Wouldn't like to get my love caught in the slammin' door. How about some information, please? Straight up now, tell me."
"Straight up" what?
"Caught in the slammin' door."
"Slamming" is "slammin.'" Say your letters.
"How about some information, please?
"Straight up now, tell me." Comma or no comma?

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"Word Up." There's a grammar mistake. Can you spot it? "Come on, baby, tell me, what's the word? Oh, word up! Everybody say when you hear their call. You've got to get it underway."
"Everybody say when you hear their call…"
Subject and verb must agree. Everybody says.
"You've got to get it underway."
"Word up." What's it up to?
"Come on, baby, tell me, what's the word?" What IS the word?

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"Ain't Nobody" who likes a grammar goof. Where is it? "Ain't nobody loves me better, makes me happy, makes me feel this way."
"Loves me better." Who loves ya, baby?
"Makes me happy." Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!
"Ain't nobody." Enough said.
"Ain't" ain't a word.
"Makes me feel this way."

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The Pretenders had "Brass In Pocket." But they didn't have the grammar in pocket. Tell us the mistake. "Got brass in pocket. Got bottle… There's nobody else here, no one like me. I'm special, so special…"
"I'm special, so special." Tell him!
"There's nobody else here." Good to know.
"No one like me." Glad you know!
"Got brass in pocket. Got bottle..." Got milk?
When you have, you have. When you get, you got.

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"Start Me Up." Start checking the grammar. Where is the mistake? "I've been running hot. You got me ticking, going to blow my top."
"I've been running hot." That's not good.
"You got me ticking, going to blow my top." Easy there!
He's doing two things. You join two actions with "and."
Both have mistakes.
Neither are wrong. It's all good!

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"I Love Rock 'n Roll." But I don't love bad grammar. Where's the mistake? "I knew he musta been about seventeen… I love rock 'n roll, so put another dime in the jukebox, baby. I love rock 'n roll, so come and take your time and dance with me. Ow!"
"So put another dime in the jukebox, baby." Rock on!
"I love rock 'n roll." Who doesn't?
"I knew he musta been about seventeen." Jail bait much?
"Must have been" is proper English. "Musta" is for a busta.
"So come and take your time and dance with me."

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Janet Jackson said she "Miss You Much." She missed some grammar, too. Can you spot it? "Send it in a letter, baby. Tell you on the phone. I'm not the kinda girl who likes to be alone. I miss ya much… I really miss you much."
"I really miss you much."
How much do I miss you? So much!
"Send it in a letter, baby." Do people still write those?
"Tell you on the phone."
"Who likes to be alone."

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Let's check the grammar on "Electric Avenue." Can you spot the error? "Now in the street there is violence and a lots of work to be done. No place to hang out the washing, and I can't blame all on the sun, oh no. We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue."
"Now in the street there is violence."
"And a lots of work to be done." That's a lot of work.
"A lot" or "lots." You can't have it both ways.
"No place to hang out the washing." Not convenient.
"And I can't blame all on the sun." Why would you?

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Men Without Hats did "The Safety Dance." But they weren't safe with grammar. Can you find the mistake? "The night is young and so am I. And we can dress real neat from our hands to our feet… It's safe to dance. It's a safety dance."
"It's safe to dance." Always!
"It's a safety dance."
"The night is young and so am I." Me, too!
"And we can dress real neat." Neat!
"And we can dress really neatly." Adverbs are what's needed here.

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