Sunday, August 2, 2009

"'Til there Was You"

Remember this song by such as Anita Bryant and the Beatles? The title seems innocuous enough, but what's the subject of this clause? "You," right? The verb must be plural, ok? Then shouldn't the title be, "'Til there Were You"? I haven't been able to find anyone who disputes such logic, but the new title surely sounds weird. Oh, as an aside, "'til" is an abbreviation for "until." I don't care for the spelling "till," which seems to have little to do with "until."

"I Gotta Be Me"

The famous Sammy Davis, Jr., song title is safe from my wrath by way of poetic license. How, though, did we come to say such in everyday conversation? "I must . . ." became "I have to . . . ," which dissolved into "I've got to . . . ," which fell to "I got to . . . ," that slid into "I gotta . . . ." I'll be honest; I always believed that "I have to . . ." was fine. Literally, though, what does "I have to . . ." mean? Probably nothing really. Now "I've got . . ." to me is a convoluted processing of "I have . . . ," which is a simple, straightforward indication of possession. "I got . . ." means that I received or picked up, not that I currently possess. Ok, so what is the best grammatical version of "I Gotta Be Me"? A college English teacher once quickly responded to my question: say, "I Must Be Myself." Bad song title, excellent grammar!