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Google search throws you a nice effect when you try searching "Do a Barrel Roll."

Should not it be "Does a Barrel Roll," assuming it's one Barrel (or barrel), or at least "Do a Barrels Roll"? (I assume it should be a question: "Does a barrel roll?" or "Do a barrels roll?")

EDIT: The problem is that I didn't know that "Do a barrel roll" wasn't a question. (Yes, it hadn't a question mark, but I felt that there was an historic reason not to add it.)

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closed as general reference by Jeff Atwood Nov 5 '11 at 1:27

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

6 Answers 6

up vote 24 down vote accepted

Does a barrel roll?

is a question asking whether a barrel rolls.

Do a barrel roll!

is an instruction ordering the pilot to perform a barrel roll.

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That's it. I didn't know it isn't a question –  genesis Nov 4 '11 at 17:03
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Do barrels roll? Yes. Does a barrel roll? Only when the barrel is on its side. Do a barrel roll? OK, but I'm not even in a plane or playing Star Fox! –  Zoot Nov 4 '11 at 21:13
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Why did the barrel cross the road? No, wait, mine didn't turn out funny :| –  Cyril Nov 4 '11 at 21:16
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"I can does a barrel roll?" if the pilot is a lolcat. –  Steve314 Nov 4 '11 at 22:24

This comes from the video game Star Fox 64.

In it, you fly around in a ship shooting stuff, and getting shot at by stuff. If you "do a barrel roll" (rotate your ship quickly along its axis of flight ie. rotate its roll), you are momentarily invincible.

Because of this, one of the other characters constantly contacts you over the radio to tell you to "DO A BARREL ROLL!" It became increasingly annoying and inappropriate, because by the end of the game I know when to do a friggin' barrel roll already!

Because it was repeated so often, the phrase became engrained in our minds. And because the game was so popular, the phrase soon became an Internet meme

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4  
Made quite a bit worse by the fact that in Star Fox you're actually performing an aileron roll, not a barrel roll. I suspect English.SE appreciates the distinction. –  Christopher Galpin Nov 4 '11 at 21:34
    
@Christopher: +1, I never knew that. Thanks! –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Nov 4 '11 at 21:41

"Barrel roll" is a noun (it's a maneuver that airplanes can do). "Do a barrel roll" is an imperative phrase where "barrel roll" is the direct object.

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I take the verb to be an imperative, so Do a Barrel Roll seems fine.

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"Barrel Roll" is a noun phrase.

"Do" is the imperative form of the verb.

"Do a (Barrel Roll)" is the same as "Do a (dance)"

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Because people would more likely search for "How can I do a barrel roll?" or "How to do a barrel roll?".

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