Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In the famous song Every Breath You Take by The Police, Sting sings:

Since you've gone I been lost without a trace…

I admit that I am not some expert in English Grammar, but this "I been" sounds a little bit strange to me. Shouldn’t it be "I’ve been"? And consequently, the beginning of the sentence changed into "Since you’d gone…"?

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by tchrist, MετάEd, Kristina Lopez, Hellion, Kris Jun 7 '13 at 7:35

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Song lyrics are allowed leeway with respect to grammar. This is why analysis is off topic here. –  Matt Эллен Apr 25 '13 at 13:39
    
U ever seen the new Iron Man movie, meh? Holy dixie cow, it big wasted my money, I no kid you. –  Blessed Geek Apr 26 '13 at 2:34

1 Answer 1

The whole premise of your question is wrong, since the lyrics of the song you mention go thusly (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/police/everybreathyoutake.html):

Since you've gone I've been lost without a trace.

"I been" is not Standard English, and you should avoid writing it outside of quoted direct speech.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you for your answer! I’m not absolutely sure, but I think that the lyrics are printed like that on the original record. Maybe I’m wrong. –  james dean Apr 25 '13 at 13:42
1  
In future, you might find that for any given song, typing "SONG NAME + lyrics" into Google is sufficient to give you a transcript of the song. It's also worth bearing in mind that songs are routinely ungrammatical and not representative of normal spoken/written English, so you should always be exceptionally wary of making grammatical generalizations from songs you've heard. –  Matt Apr 25 '13 at 13:44
1  
It's also worth noting that the words we have in mind when we speak and the way they those words sound to someone else's ear may be at variance. In the part of the United States where I live, it's very common for speakers to swallow the v sound in "I've been"; as a result, if you didn't know (or assume) that they intended to say "I've been," you might very well conclude that the actual words they spoke were "I been." –  Sven Yargs Apr 26 '13 at 1:40
    
"Ungrammatical" is not. Every dialect of expression with a consistent pattern is "grammatical" unto its own. Perhaps, you meant to say "unusual", "abnormal" or "improper" grammar. –  Blessed Geek Apr 26 '13 at 2:40
1  
@Matt You've never listened to AAVE then, I suppose, or Southern US English. "I been" is common there and I use it in my writing as a demonstration of the dialect. –  KitFox Apr 26 '13 at 12:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.