Music Monday ~ I or Me and Thank You Led Zeppelin

National Poetry Month is coming to a close this week, and I’ve been talking about “poetic license” in songs. It’s the last Monday to highlight some bad grammar.

I grew up being taught never to say “You and me.” It should always be “You and I.”

Hmm … a friend and I had a discussion on this last week, and we all know the English language is full of exceptions.

Take, for example, the incorrect use of “I” in Paula Cole’s song “I Don’t Wanna Wait.” Her song begins with:

So open up your morning light // And say a little prayer for I …

Really? That is just bad.

Or how about Bryan Adams’  “Run To You”?

She says her love for me could never die // But that’d change if she ever found out about you and I …

Again … incorrect. It should be you and me.

And the way to figure it out is easy. In Bryan Adams’ song, just remove the the “you and” in the phrase, isolating the “I” and see if it sounds correct.

In his case, it would be: “But that’d change if she ever found out about I.” 

When you read it like this, it’s much easier to tell that it’s wrong.

Led Zeppelin got it right with their lyrics in “Thank You,” so I’m happy to highlight their song this week. Enjoy,

~eden

* * * *

If the sun refused to shine
I would still be loving you
When mountains crumble to the sea
There would still be you and me …

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31 Comments

Filed under Musical Mondays

31 responses to “Music Monday ~ I or Me and Thank You Led Zeppelin

  1. I grew up hearing; if it sounds right use it.

  2. raymondboltonauthor

    Thank you, Eden Baylee.

  3. Useful tip there Eden. I often get confused on that one. Doesn’t apply to the Rastafari when they say “I and I”, but that’s a specialist usage used to express the spiritual equality of human beings. Plus it sounds cool in a Jamaican accent.

    Mike ;)

    • Thanks for reblogging Mike. I get confused with it too, and isolating the object or subject of (you/me) helps me (not I, haha).
      Yes, the Jamaicans are just cool that way. I can’t pull it off ;)
      eden

  4. That is a good way of sounding out the sentence Eden.

  5. Rob Hyman

    Eden,
    Thank you for the lesson.

  6. Unless Paula Cole intended to say “So open up your morning light // And say a little prayer, for I //…am glad to see the end of night”, I’d say that’s pretty crass. No rhyme imperative there, methinks?!?

    As for “She says her love for me could never die // But that’d change if she ever found out about you and I …” to hell with the rhyme! It should be me, or change the words.

    On the face of it, the rule on subjective and objective pronouns is straight forward, but there are contexts (or exceptions) where it isn’t so clear. For example with the verb to be, should it be: “It is me” or “it is I”. The former, methinks, unless we were living 400 years in the past! Then, “there was always a solution, but it wasn’t I / me(?), who found it”. The former (“I”) applies here. There are probably plenty more, but I’m sure the tumbleweed is already drifting across your view, Eden ;)

  7. That’s the way I learned it.

    I seem to remember snatches of a Led Zeppelin concert at the Civic Auditorium in Honolulu. Don’t recall considering their grammar. :-P

  8. Like you, I used music, mostly rock, to help me along the way. When I got to college and started minoring in English, I realized how dumb I was about the rules. One of my favorite classes at Alabama was Technical English. I learned so much. You would have loved it, being a word nerd, like me.

  9. If me were a carpenter, me would hammer in the morning… What really tees I off is when me look over one of my books and finds ‘noun-verb’ disagreement and other careless and clumsy der-goofs! AND THAT’S AFTER THEM THINGS HAVE BEEN DONE PUBLISHED! Aw, you know what me means! :-)

  10. Nicole Chardenet

    I and you and a dog named Boo (and Julio down by the schoolyard) would like to point out that sometimes you have to be grammatically incorrect or it doesn’t rhyme. :)

    • Great one, Nicole … I love that song … agree it’s all in the rhyme for most of these songs.

      I’m not a lyricist, but a writer. If there’s a sentence I’m writing that doesn’t sound right, I rewrite it until it does. I don’t bend the rules of the language. Sometimes that means expressing myself differently. Maybe it’s more difficult for musicians because they have other variables to worry about, but a little more creative diligence would help, as opposed to using “I” (when it’s clearly incorrect) just because it rhymes with lie or why or sigh, no?

      I don’t take anything away from the musicians, as their songs have been ingrained into our brains with the errors.

      I’m just amused to learn of them. xox

      eden

  11. Well, lyrics must rhyme, after all!

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