Lyircs of Free by Natalia Kills:

I'm free

I just spent all my money

but I rocked that like it don't cost a thing

Shouldn't it be "I've just spent all my money"? As far as I remember, our English told us to use Present Prefect in such case because of the just.

  • 2
    I don't think there's anything grammatically wrong with the usage. In some contexts there might be ambiguity about whether just means very recently or merely, but it seems to me that applies whether you use the present perfect (I have just spent) or the simple past (I just spent). Jan 3, 2012 at 19:41
  • 4
    Off topic (lit crit/lyrics interpretation request).
    – MetaEd
    Aug 10, 2013 at 15:13
  • @MετάEd It's NOT a lyrics interpretation request, just because the question quotes lyrics.
    – nyuszika7h
    Jun 7, 2015 at 12:08

2 Answers 2


American English tends to use the past tense in places where British English uses the present perfect construction, and this may be one such place. But in any case, the lyrics of popular music are not always written in Standard English and will consequently conform to a different set of grammatical rules.

  • Indeed, "like it don't cost a thing" wouldn't win any points from a composition teacher either, but it's a song, not an essay.
    – choster
    Jan 4, 2012 at 1:05

Either one works. Anything that happened in the past can usually be expressed in the past tense.

If it's important in some way that the past event(s) are over and done with, or for some other reasons, the Perfect construction can also be used. But it's rarely necessary, except for emphasis and in idioms and fixed phrases like have got, have gotten, and have been to.