Bad grammar bothers me. I can’t help it; it just does. Whether it’s friends asking me to “borrow” them a book or a newspaper article that confounds lay and lie, bad grammar irks me. Still, I usually content myself with a muttered correction and go on.
On Sundays when I worship, I like to be caught up in the contemplation of God. I like to sing with the rest of the congregation and let my spirit take flight. Then I’m suddenly confronted with a phrase like this one:
The beauty of Your majesty awakes my heart to sing
Leaving aside the question of whether awake ought to be a verb or a modifier, if it is a verb, it certainly ought to be intransitive, and it ought to describe the action of the thing that awakes not of the thing that does the awakening. It ought to be:
The beauty of your majesty awakens my heart to sing
My heart awakes to sing because of the beauty of your majesty
Of course, neither of these lines scans with the rest of the song.
Don’t get me wrong. I really like this song. I like its focus on God and its overall singability. But that one line bugs me, and I can’t help thinking that it should have bugged the songwriter too.
Nothing can or ever will come between the love we share.
“…and what?” I thought. The preposition between always takes a pair of objects: “Between a rock and a hard place;” “between you and me.” Even “between us” or “between friends” implies a pair; if their were more, it would be “among friends.” Again the meaning is plain. It should be:
Nothing can or ever will come between us in the love we share.
Am I the only one bothered by this playing fast and loose with grammar? I don’t know which is more charitable: to suppose that the songwriters don’t know or to suppose that they don’t care. Ignorance is perhaps more pardonable than carelessness, but I can’t help feeling once again that Christians are touchy-feely anti-intellectual backwoods barbarians. In short, supposing them ignorant makes me embarassed to count myself a Christian.
So I guess I need to go pray for humility.