Monday, July 16, 2012

Wanted: A Grammar Lesson

Anadiplosis. Anadiplosis is your new reason to get excited, because you're about to learn what that word means. That word means repetition; specifically, a type of repetition with which you take the last part of a sentence or clause and use it as the first part of the next sentence or clause, tying the two together. Together, the ending and beginning create a doubling up, or folding up, as it means in the original Greek. Greek etymology aside, this post examines the fun bits of English interspersed throughout The Wanted's hit single, "Glad You Came." You came to the right place for a blend of pop music, linguistics, and everything between.

Fun Fact: This Blog post didn't save the first time I wrote it. Ouch.

Okay, if you haven't figured it out yet, go back and re-read the first and last phrases of each of the above sentences. Bam. You've got anadiplosis.

I'm not the only one to deploy it, either. Check out these words of wisdom from a little green man:

"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." - Yoda, Star Wars

Or this popular spiritual song:

"Your toe bone connected to your foot bone
Your foot bone connected to your ankle bone
Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone..."

Or, most recently, the chorus from "Glad You Came:"

"Turn the lights out now.
Now I'll take you by the hand.
Hand you another drink.
Drink it if you can.
Can you spend a little time?
Time is slipping away.
Away from us so stay.
Stay with me. I can make,
Make you glad you came."

Let's take a moment to notice that "Time is slipping away, away from us..." is not anadiplosis, it's just repetition. Same with "I can make, make you glad..." Nope. But the rest of it's pretty good, especially when "hand" and "drink" start off as nouns and become verbs:

"Now I'll take you by the hand [noun].
Hand [verb] you another drink [noun].
Drink [verb] it if you can."

But do The Wanted realize what they're doing here, or are they just throwing words around until things fit into their meter? I suspect the former. I'd like to believe that the lyric:

"And I decided you look well on me"

Is no facepalm-worthy stretch of the English language, but rather a cunning jab at grammar teachers everywhere. "I write music good," says a schoolboy. "You write music well," corrects the schoolteacher. And then that kid joins The Wanted, with a I'll-show-you-when-I-can-use-well attitude. That, or whoever proofreads their lyrics took "turn the lights out now" as a stage direction.

If anyone wants to really start melding "Glad You Came" with English literature, can someone do a good video mash-up with Harry Potter clips? You know, "You cast a spell on me..."

"Time is slipping away..." "But Harry, we have a time-turner!"

Until then, enjoy your new-found appreciation for the English language. And if you find any other cool things that artists are doing in their songs, share in the comments!

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