Rock and Roll Grammar

Grammar. Is it surprising that song writers are intrigued with it? Probably not, considering they are manipulating language to suit their needs. Often grammar goes out the window when it comes to creating a good rhyme. Strangely enough, I heard two songs this weekend that referenced grammar in some way.

Underwhelmed by Sloan. This song has been around since I was in high school but I don’t think I really clued into what it was about. It’s allllll about grammar. First, he says underwhelmed isn’t a real word, then he corrects his girl friend’s grammar and she doesn’t realize it. His fastidiousness drives a wedge between them. She, fed up, writes a story about her life and their relationship. He tells her “affection has two f’s.” This is a doomed romance, obviously.

North Star by Joel Plaskett Emergency. Just a quick reference- he’s working on his grammar while driving his Chevy.

My thanks to Laina who pointed out that Oxford Comma by Vampire Weekend is about, well, the Oxford Comma. Who gives a fuck about the Oxford Comma? I do. I use it all the time.

There must be more. Do you know of any?

For kicks, here’s Underwhelmed. I’m not sure if I should feel really old or young again.

Keep working on your grammar, people, or you’ll end up in a song.

(Brought to you by the letter D, for Don’t want to write a review.)


  1. The Oxford Comma? I care about it, and I always use it for words in a series. As a matter of fact, I edited some work for publication yesterday and explained to the writer (in a long note) why she needed it before the last item in every series. Half her "mistakes" (in my opinion) were about the possible confusion to readers for lack of that comma.

    I even sent her a blue link to the Wikipedia article, telling her to note especially the example under Ambiguity:
    "To my parents, Ayn Rand and God."

  2. Dang it, I was going to suggest Oxford Comma. I agree with Sloan, how can you date someone who spells affection with one f?


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