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The song "Great Are You Lord" by the worship musician Sinach includes the following lines:

Holy, Holy God Almighty
It’s a privilege to worship you
Maker of all universe
It’s an honour just to stand before you

I'm aware that the highlighted line above ("Maker of all universe") isn't grammatical in British English (my native dialect). As Sinach is Nigerian, I'm guessing that Nigerian English is her native dialect - is this construction grammatical in that dialect, or indeed in any others?

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    It's poetry. All sorts of grammatical license is found. – bib Sep 5 '14 at 12:15
  • @bib That’s a bit too facile for my tastes. The answer that the OP is looking for is that no, it is not grammatical in any English dialect; it sounds alien to drops the article there. It’s not like the maker of all sunshine. – tchrist Sep 5 '14 at 12:32
  • Yes, it is, in standard English. Why the question? How is that not grammatical in British English? Can you elaborate? – Kris Sep 5 '14 at 13:12
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    @mplungjan: Indeed, I'm pretty sure it requires the article in British English. "Universes" are a discrete quantity, unlike "sunshine" (cf. tchrist above), so "Maker of all universes" or "Maker of all the universe" would both be correct. It could be poetic license, but I'd expect that only when it makes the phrase more beautiful - to my ear, as constructed it sounds really clunky. – ZsigE Sep 5 '14 at 13:30
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    @Kris a link would be great. Many NGRAM entries are of Indian origin – mplungjan Sep 5 '14 at 13:45
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It wouldn't be considered grammatically correct in American English either.

"Universe" is a countable noun, even though we normally think of there being just one. Here it's used in the singular, so it requires an article (or one of the adjectives that can take the place of an article). The conventional thing to write would have been "maker of the universe". If the "all" is considered essential, she could have said "maker of all the universe" or "maker of the whole universe".

Songs and poems don't always follow strict grammatical rules for a variety of reasons, including the need to put a particular word at the end of a line to make a rhyme, or to have the right number of syllables in a line to give the correct rhythm. But I don't see the need here. If she had said "maker of the universe" it would have expressed the same idea and been the same number of syllables.

I suppose she could also have said "make of all universes" if she thinks there is more than one.

All around this is puzzling. I suppose if, as you say, the writer is Nigerian, there could be different usage in Nigerian English. I don't think I've ever spoken to a Nigerian. Well, except for the emails I'm always getting about the millions of dollars they want to give me. I should go back and study the grammar in those.

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  • I daresay studying Nigerian e-mails about fiscal ventures would likely give you the impression that absolutely anything is grammatical in Nigerian English, or indeed that Nigerian English is a misnomer for something that is not English at all. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 5 '14 at 14:25
  • Not related to the original question, but this brings up the thought: If your child asks why he should study grammar, one answer is: So you can recognize spam emails. If you get an email that claims to be from a big company or the government, and it contains multiple grammar errors, it is almost surely fake. Every now and then a big organization will send out an email that has a grammar error, but very rarely more than one. – Jay Sep 5 '14 at 14:29

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