0

Is the use of the contracted negative form of Do, the DON'T, in reference to a singular event or action acceptable in formal writings as is in song lyrics composition?

4
  • Wrong about finding it funny? Humour is subjective. – Matt E. Эллен Mar 20 '14 at 9:19
  • Song lyrics are a text used for a performance. One can't assume a grammatical error isn't an intentional piece of the art. – Neil W Mar 20 '14 at 10:02
  • It don't make sense is idiomatic dialogue, ungrammatical, but certainly not objectionable in song lyrics, especially in Country & Western songs. – anongoodnurse Mar 20 '14 at 11:59
  • 2
    Once again, I remark on the strangeness of a question from someone who knows very little about grammar, questioning the correctness of a published text composed by a native speaker. And the equal strangeness of an answer from someone who knows about the same amount of grammar, confirming the questioner's odd presuppositions. I remark on this only because no one else thinks it's odd. Here, anyway. – John Lawler Mar 20 '14 at 15:21
4

No, he was not wrong in any grammatical way.
Note that these are song lyrics, with special rules.
These rules have to do with meter and rhyme, and in print with capitalization.
Punctuation is pretty optional, and the dialect may vary from Standard English, as songs often do.

It's funny how a greater plan Is too hard to understand Right now it don't make sense.

Four clauses, with Extraposition, Tough-Movement, and Indefinite Subject Deletion,
in 2 sentences

  • [It's funny [how a greater plan is too hard [to understand]]].
  • [Right now it don't make sense].

I won't go into the parse of the first sentence.
Both sentences are in colloquial American rural English,
a sociolect with some characteristic regularizations of auxiliary verbs.

Many irregular auxiliary verb constructions get regularized, like ain't as a contraction of am not.
One such is that the 3SgPres negative contraction of Do-Support do becomes don't,
instead of the irregular doesn't.

Is that what you were worried about?

3
  • 4
    +1 for making me smile. A lovely, accurate, and deliciously overstated answer. I understand your concern, and I think your answer serves well to underline it :) . – oerkelens Mar 20 '14 at 15:49
  • Who breaks a buttefly upon a wheel? – Tim Lymington Mar 20 '14 at 19:04
  • Is this gonna be on the final? – John Lawler Mar 20 '14 at 19:12
0

Depends. If you understand what he's trying to say, then no he isn't wrong. If you don't understand, then yes. Poets and lyricists often bend grammatical rules to express their thoughts. And as long as we enjoy the lyrics and the song, who cares?

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