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


By: Sameena Mughal

7 Min Quiz

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!

"Gonna" is slang. "Going to" is actual English.


"Everytime you go away…" You take a piece of the English language. Tell us the mistake!

"Everytime" is not like "everyday." It is two words.


"Hungry eyes. I feel the magic between you and I." Give us the magic and name the error!

"Between" is a preposition. "Me" is the object of a preposition, not "I."


"Every little thing she does is magic. Everything she do just turn me on." Where does the magic stop? Where's the mistake?

Subject-verb agreement is the magic rule here. "Does" agrees with "she." "Turns" agrees with "everything."


We're not halfway there. But we're still "Livin' On a Prayer." What's wrong with that title?

"Livin'" is informal and also spelled incorrectly. It's all about enunciation!


"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?

"Wanna" is pure slang. "Want to" is the accepted way to say and write that. It's not catchy, but it's correct.


"Don't Stop Believin'. Hold on to that feeling." Hold on to your words. Can you spot the error?

The word is "believing," not "believin'." Where's the beef? Where's the "G?"


"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?

You don't use "no" in a negative sentence. Ahh… the logic of the English language!


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?

The word is "of," not the letter "O." Use your words and your letters!


"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?

"Has" when you possess something; "got" when someone gives you something. It's all about having and receiving.


"Push it. Push it real good!" They're pushing it with the bad grammar. Can you spot 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?


"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?

"Have" means "must" here. "Got" means "to receive something." "Got" doesn't fit here. Let it fly.


"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?

Like "ain't" ain't a word, "speak-a" ain't a word, either.


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?

"Had" is informal in place of "fooled." "Beaten" is the needed adverb.


"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?

If you can't do something, you can't do something.


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?

Adding the letter "A" at the end of a word doesn't make it a word.


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?

"A" is singular. "Dice" is plural. Not good English. Good thing ABBA was Swedish.


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?

"This" is a pronoun that points to a noun. No noun here. We don't know what the "this" is in this song.


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."

"'Cause" is a completely different word than "because."


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…"

"Music" is a collective, singular noun.


"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?

"Kind" is singular, so hates needs an "S."


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."

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?'"

"Clothes" is plural. The pronoun and verb should be, too.


Billy Idol talked about his sister's "White Wedding." Can you spot the grammar error? "Hey, little sister, who is it you're with?"

"It" and "is" are not needed. "Who are you with" could say it all.


"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…"

Plural verbs go with plural pronouns. No mixing and matching.


"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."

"Go-go" is not a real word. At least not how they're using it.


"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."

"Slamming" is "slammin.'" Say your letters.


"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."

Subject and verb must agree. Everybody says.


"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."

"Ain't" ain't a word.


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…"

When you have, you have. When you get, you got.


"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."

He's doing two things. You join two actions with "and."


"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!"

"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."

How much do I miss you? So much!


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."

"A lot" or "lots." You can't have it both ways.


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."

"And we can dress really neatly." Adverbs are what's needed here.


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