Saturday, March 28, 2015

Taylor Swift’s grammar marked down incorrectly

The Princeton Review has sniffed at the (misheard) lyrics of the pop star’s song Fifteen. But its ‘correction’ is more than five centuries out of date

Taylor Swift.
Number one in the grammar charts ... Taylor Swift. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
One of the reliable pleasures of observing modern arguments over language is the schadenfreude of seeing the self-appointed prescriptive grammarians get things embarrassingly wrong. So it has turned out again, with the culprit this time being the Princeton Review (which helps US students prepare for college admission tests), and the people’s champion being none other than pop empress Taylor Swift.

In a Princeton test paper, a section headed “Grammar in Real Life” told students: “Pop lyrics are a great source of bad grammar. See if you can find the error in each of the following.” Taylor Swift’s song Fifteen was then cited as containing the line “Somebody tells you they love you, you got to believe ’em.” A fan posted her sad reaction online: “I was just having an amazing time studying for the SAT and now I feel attacked.” Then Swift herself responded on Tumblr: “Not the right lyrics at all pssshhhh. You had one job, test people. One job.”

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