I'm a non-native speaker who's writing lyrics for a song. The line I'm having difficulties with is as follows:

Oh, how I would pray Emily to stay.

Is this alright, or could this be interpreted as grammatical in some sense? I know we would usually use a preposition there but I don't have room for another syllable. Changing the verb is also not an option, as I need the rhyme stay/pray.

Is this grammatically correct?

  • 2
    I pray you, don't worry about having a preposition. It's a bit more Shakespearean, but "I pray you" is essentially a flowery way of saying "please" and I think the line would work as written. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 15:27
  • 1
    ... It can't, though, be considered as an equally idiomatic variant of 'How I would pray that Emily stayed'. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


I think the answer you are looking for here I'm afraid is no. In order to use pray in its archaic sense (as a call for action, or a request)

Pray - a forceful way of saying "please"

Although I imagine someone somewhere has used the word in such a fashion, it sounds awful and I can find no documented use of it without a preposition or following verb.

Perhaps then you should pray for some inspiration...

Perhaps you could use one of the following words... (does it need to rhyme with stay?)

  • Oh, how I would beg Emily to stay
  • Oh, how I'd plead with Emily to stay
  • Oh, how I'd urge Emily to stay

or perhaps a similar line...

  • Oh, how I wished Emily would stay
  • Oh, how I prayed Emily would stay

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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