My friend Sarah taught me the subjunctive mood when I was in 10th grade. She was a junior, and thus, vastly more knowledgeable than I was about everything. We were sitting by her pool with her adorable Rhodesian Ridgeback Lewis, and she launched into a mini-grammar lesson. It was informative, helpful, and has since given me insight into popular music, popular musicians and the lengths they will go to rhyme words. In other words, now I speak English correctly, and I have determined the root of my subjunctive misuse. After all, pop culture is often a source for children and adults to glean inaccurate grammar information. Am I right? (That’s why my mom never allowed me to read Junie B. Jones. She was worried I’d start to speak like the titular character…)
Here are some examples of the worst offenders. You might be surprised who made the list!
- “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani: If I was a rich girl
- “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber : If I was your boyfriend
- “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor: If I was you, I’d want to be me too
- “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley: When they said you was high class, well that was just a lie
- “One of Us” by Joan Osbourne: What if God was one of us?
- “Mr. Jones” by the Counting Crows: I wish I was beautiful
But guess who uses it 100% correctly? Beyoncé. Of course! (“If I Were a Boy”)