Things That Threaten My Sanity: Near Grammatical Misses
Obviously, country lyrics are not going to be written in the Queen’s English. Different language rules apply, and that’s fine by me. However, it still bugs me when a songwriter or singer leaves just one word out of place. Especially when the correct word would have fit just as well. Taylor Swift’s line about “talk[ing] real slow ’cause it’s late and his mama don’t know” comes immediately to mind. “Talk real low” would sound virtually the same and make a whole lot more sense, so why not use it instead? Probably just to bug me. That’s more of a diction thing than a grammar thing, though. (Okay, it should actually be “talk really slowly,” but we’re not old schoolmasters here.)
More troubling is the 2002 Travis Tritt album cut and cowrite “Time to Get Crazy,” which seems hellbent on repeating the phrase “as bad as I hate to” as many times as possible in a three-minute timespan. I’m not the anointed master of language, so let’s turn this one over to the people for a vote.
Google, do your thing:
Search results for “as bad as I hate to”: 18,400, with Travis Tritt lyrics at #4
Search results for “as much as I hate to”: 1,210,000
Go go gadget calculator:
1210000/18400 = 65.76…
“As much as I hate to” is over 65 times more common than “as bad as I hate to.” This means that if you were in a room with 100 other people and polled them on this question, there would most likely be just one person arguing for “bad” against the protestations of everyone else. If that person insisted on loudly singing the incorrect phrase over and over again in a mocking fashion, he would probably get mugged.
They’re both monosyllabic words. Why do you insist on giving me pain, Tritt?