Can You Spot the Grammatical Errors in These '80s Songs?
By: Sameena Mughal
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!
"Who" should be "what." We are talking about ghosts, not people.
"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.
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.
"The winner takes it all" should be "The winner takes all."
"And someone way down here…" Conjunction at the beginning of a sentence? Nope.
"A" is singular. "Dice" is plural. Not good English. Good thing ABBA was Swedish.
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…"
"To walk along the lonely street of dreams." You can just "walk the street of dreams." Can't you?
"'Cause" is a completely different word than "because."
"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?
"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!
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!
"London Calling." Who is London calling?
Two "I"s joined together by just a comma isn't a proper joining.
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.
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 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?
"So come and take your time and dance with me."
"Must have been" is proper English. "Musta" is for a busta.
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."
"Send it in a letter, baby." Do people still write those?
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.
"No place to hang out the washing." Not convenient.
"And I can't blame all on the sun." Why would you?
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.