Names and pronouns in popular music


John Russell: Hello, Dr. Jill!

Dr. Jill: Hello, John.

JR: Did you listen to music? [VISUAL: Dr. Jill turns off radio or music playing in background]

Dr. J: Yeah, I check the Billboard Hot 100 every week to see what songs are popular.

JR: Isn’t Justin Bieber very popular?

Dr. J: Yes, and the Kid Laroi.

JR: I don’t like him – his grammar is terrible.

Dr. J: Really? How?

JR: Well, he has this song called “Stay”. One of the singers sings:

Know that I can’t find anyone else as good as you…

Dr. J: So it starts with the imperative form of the verb “know”. In this form, the subject, “you”, does not appear.

JR: It’s true! But pay close attention to the words “I can’t find anyone”.

Know that I can’t find anyone else as good as you…

Nobody is a pronoun. It means nobody. This suggests a negation.

But notice that the words before person also suggest a negative: “I don’t find…” – which is short for “I can’t find”.

This produces a sort of double negative: I can’t find anyone.

Dr. J: John, you are so old fashioned. Double negatives are not acceptable in traditional grammar or writing tests. But you sometimes hear it used in everyday speech. You shouldn’t judge a popular song or a person by how a pronoun is used.

JR: I guess you’re right.

Dr. J: Just enjoy the music and note the interesting use of pronouns.

JR: I find it hard to appreciate music that doesn’t have a saxophone – it really is the best instrument!

Dr. J: You love the saxophone…And YOU were trying to judge Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber?

JR: Hey! That’s not nice!

Dr. J: Haha! And this is everyday grammar.


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