Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/2997
Grammar Gaffes in Popular Music. Is Grammar in Popular Music Deteriorating?
In this dissertation, I hope to examine two aspects of grammar in pop music.
First, I will discuss the perpetual and ever-so heated debate between the prescribers
and the describers (which are two different views on grammar), and I will be
reconciling these two view points in order to discuss the notion that grammar in
popular music is getting worse with each passing year, a feeling that I have divined
from various online texts and discussions with friends in the music business. It is my
opinion that grammar is just as good as it was in popular music 20 years ago, and I
hope to establish a usage trend in popular music through the last two decades or so by
reviewing the lyrics of the top 5 billboard songs every year from 1988 to 2008 in an
attempt to answer the question whether or not the grammar of lyricists is becoming
worse; my thesis being that grammar is in fact not getting worse in popular music, but
simply that there is a certain status quo which at times might sway from its epicenter
but will more or less remain the same through the years. Second, I hope to connect
some of those grammar gaffes with popular examples of grammar mistakes in the
past, in an attempt to reach some sort of definitive conclusion regarding grammar in
pop music today. I will be relying mostly on Bryan Garner’s recently published book
Garner’s Modern American Usage for thoughts and opinions on various aspects of
American English grammar.