Grammar Humor - Fair Lawn Public Schools

Test Your Grammar With Beyoncé And Friends: Determine
if each of these song lyrics is grammatically correct.
» Beyoncé is certainly not a boy. She is singing about
what life might be like if she were. She is using the
subjunctive mood correctly. INCORRECT: “If I was a
» Subjunctive: The subjunctive is a grammatical
mood found in many languages. Subjunctive forms
of verbs are typically used to express various states of
unreality such as wish, emotion, possibility,
judgment, opinion, necessity, or action that has not
yet occurred
» Indicative: States a fact, asks a question, or expresses
an opinion
˃ Harvey made dinner last night. It was Lima Bean
˃ Would you pass the bowl of Lima Bean Surprise
and ketchup?
˃ I don’t like lima beans.
» Imperative: Gives a command
˃ Don’t ever invite Harvey over for dinner again!
˃ Note: “You” is implied
» Subjunctive: Makes a suggestion or requirement;
states a wish or desire
˃ I wish I were a lima bean enthusiast so that I can
enjoy Harvey’s dinner.
» And may the odds be ever in your favor!
» I kept telling myself if I could only hold out until May,
just May 8th, I would turn twelve and be able to sign
up for the tesserae and get the precious grain and oil
to feed us.
» Eminem is telling a story about someone who has just
one chance to be a star, but this is a misplaced
modifier. The word “only” is modifying “get” when it
should be placed before “one.” CORRECT: “You get
only one shot.”
» A misplaced modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that
is improperly separated from the word it modifies /
describes. Because of the separation, sentences with
this error often sound awkward, ridiculous, or
confusing. Furthermore, they can be downright
» Example:
» Annie Lennox is singing about the ingredients one
needs to make sweet dreams, and she can’t help
but agree with the list she has! She uses the
subjective pronoun correctly. INCORRECT: “Whom
am I to disagree?”
» Who: subject; Whom: object
» ___ made this decision?
» ___ do you think we should support?
» Curt Smith is right when he sings that all inhabitants
of Earth want to reign supreme! Although he is
describing many people, he is right to use the
singular form of the verb. INCORRECT: “Everybody
want to rule the world…”
» She and her friends ___ at the fair.
» The book or the pen ___ in the drawer.
» Adam Duritz recounts an enchanting day spent with
his friend Mr. Jones. Unfortunately, he uses the
objective pronoun when he should be using the
subjective. Subjective pronouns perform the action
of the verb. CORRECT: “Mr. Jones and I tell each
other fairy tales…”
» I: subject; me: object
» ___ was asked to take out the garbage.
» My dad asked ___ to take out the garbage.
» My dad asked my sister and ___ to take out the
» Eric implores Sally to stay, but in doing so, he
uses the wrong word. Sally is surely left
wondering, “Eric, what is it you want me to lay
down?” CORRECT: “Lie down, Sally. No need to
leave so soon…”
» Lay: Lay and lie are both present-tense verbs, but they don’t mean
quite the same thing. Lay means to put or set something down, so if the
subject is acting on an object, it’s “lay.” For example, I lay down the
book. You, the subject, set down the book, the object.
» Lie: Lie, on the other hand, is defined as, “to be, to stay or to assume
rest in a horizontal position,” so the subject is the one doing the lying—I
lie down to sleep —and not acting on an object. You, the subject, are
setting yourself down.
» In Now I lay me down to sleep, there is a subject (I) and an object (me).
Even though the subject and object are one and the same, the object is
still present in the sentence, so you must use lay.
» In the past tense, “lay” becomes “laid” (Last week I laid down the law
and told her it was inappropriate for her to pick her nose) and “lie”
becomes “lay” (Yesterday she lay down for a nap that afternoon and
picked her nose anyway). Yes, “lay” is also the past tense of “lie.”
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