I heard it done on purpose in different songs; like here


He's burning the grass
He take up a glass
He swallow it neat

and here


He take a thunder from the mountain
He take a lightning from the sky
He bring a strong man to his begging knee
He make a young girl's mama cry

These are not typos, both really do sing it like that quite clearly.

Is this meant to emphasize something? Why would they use seemingly broken English?

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    These artists emulate the diction of African-American predecessors in whose dialect this absence of inflection is normal. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 19 '16 at 10:19
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    Well, I'm pretty sure that Mark Knopfler did not have any African-American predecessors :); and imo his song does not imply an Africa-American protagonist. But thanks for suggestion – Maksim Satsikau Dec 19 '16 at 10:24
  • As far back as I can remember British rock has been profoundly influenced by the blues tradition; even as it has moved in a wide range of musical directions, the vocal styling has been pretty consistently based on the black dialect of 'classic' blues. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 19 '16 at 11:53
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    That's probly a big part of it; another is that they mostly don't go with music -- fricatives are mostly high-frequency noise with subtle differences, and singing to a stress-timed beat emphasizes the nuclear vowels and not the buzzy margins, one reason why half-rhymes are so common in popular music. Plus there's competition with musical instruments in the same range; it's no contest. – John Lawler Dec 19 '16 at 15:21

Rock and roll music has its roots in the blues, which originated in rural black American communities. Many characteristics of the blues including scales, singing styles, and non-standard grammar, are retained to at least some extent, even in rock music that is far removed from its source in the blues.

The omission of the "s" in the verb is common to many black American dialects, and is nearly universal in the type of blues songs that are clear influences on the lyrics you cite.


Personally, I think that this page "say" it best: 10 Pop Songs Ruined by Proper Grammar.

"It" just a matter of style and flair.

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