Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tom Jones question

OK, so this might be a bit compulsive, but this is driving me nuts:

"It's not unusual to be loved by anyone"

... isn't that ungrammatical? Shouldn't it be "someone"? And if I'm right, can you explain it simply?

Update, Thanks to all commenters so far, especially Environs. I think I'm getting the idea... "someone/somebody" means there's a person as opposed to no person. (You'd say "there's someone by the door", you wouldn't say "there's anyone by the door".) "Anyone/anybody" means there's a person, and it's unspecified or unimportant who it is. Since the song is talking about being loved at all rather than about who is doing the lovin', it should "someone", not "anyone".
(Of course the reason he uses "anyone" is that otherwise the line is a syllable short.)

Of course, in a world where everybody says the sun is going down when it's actually the horizon coming up, what can you do?

Update: talking about grammar, if anybody is destroying it, it's newspapers. Fetching my milk this morning, I saw a headline (I don't pay for newspaper, if I want to get lied to and insulted, I have friends who'll do it for free)...
what they supposedly meant was that one of Michael Jackson's brothers is accusing a medical doctor of murder or manslaughter.
What came out was: "Jacko bro names killer doc".


Paul Bradforth said...

Well, what about 'I got you babe'? or: 'awopbopaloobopalopbamboom'. Without ungrammaticism, there wouldn't BE any pop music!

Bronislaus Janulis / Framewright said...


"Anyone" sounds better.

Really paying attention to the lyrics is probably akin to watching sausage made.

Sukiho said...

someone refers to one person, anyone could be many, sounds more fun but perhaps Ive got it wrong

Coilin MacLochlainn said...

You are right, it should be 'someone' because what the song means to say is that it is not unusual to be loved by a person, somebody or some one.

'Someone' means an unspecified one (an unspecified person).

'Anyone' means 'any one of an unspecified set of people' and that is not what the song means to say.

'Anyone' can also mean 'everybody', but that is not the intended meaning in the song either.

Monsieur Beep! said...

Isn´t the sense like this: "A popular person is loved by anyone".
"Anyone" used in a positive sentence means "all", as Sukiho suggests.

In negative sentences "anyone" should be used instead of "someone", meaning only one person.
Also in questions: someone is replaced by anyone (referring to one person, out of a crowd).


There must be someone. - There isn´t anyone to be seen.

Is there anyone to be seen in the street?

And, as always: exceptions confirm the rule. And the more you think about it the more confusing it gets. Phheeew. Children often take it right. They sometimes speak in a funny, but logic way, eg making irregular verbs regular.

Alex said...

Thanks Paul, now you got me wanting to watch old Robbie Coltrane TV shows.

Jeff R. said...

Patient: "Doctor, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home'."

Doctor: "That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome...."

Patient: "Is it common?"

Doctor (sings): ”It's not unusual...."

Anonymous said...

"Really paying attention to the lyrics is probably akin to watching sausage made."

Another gem, Bron. Well done.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

(Post updated.)

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

"And if I'm right, can you explain it simply?"
As R.A.F. would say, "coming from you, isn't that ungrammatical?"

"Without ungrammaticism, there wouldn't BE any pop music!"
That's is tellin' all of everybody thems in the exterior world out there. With words.
Words are lyrics.
Also, water is humidity. And humidity is the essence of moisture, which is skin wetness. "Drink me", the label said when Alice read it.

..."akin to watching sausage made."
Hey, a lot of babes I dated told me this hot dawg made it look very interesting!
Oh, you meant an actual sausage, the kind you chew before swallowing. Well, sure, THEN it makes the vision of the stuffing a lot less captivating. ;-)

Um... how about watching paint dry? My Mom's got that instant-dry nail polish, it's quite fascinating...

Actually, "to be loved by anyone" means that anyone should be likely to love you, that's all. Or, you could say, "Love me, anyone, come on, it's normal, it's not unusual to love me! Hello? Anyone? This hot babe need loving! Come ON, what's wrong with guys today?"
Or, I'm just over-training in capillotomy. (That's the discipline of splitting hairs. I'm currently a black belt Second Dan, working on my Third.)

"It's not unusual to be loved by Anon, lalala..." :-)

Nnnnaaaaah! Now THAT's officially ungrammatical.

Ordinary Dilbertian story:
"It was anybody's job, everybody thought that somebody would do it, in the end nobody did it, and someone got blamed for it all."

I know, I know, my comments are always impressive.
I'm not just anybody, you know. :o)

TC [Girl] said...

Alex said...
"Thanks Paul, now you got me wanting to watch old Robbie Coltrane TV shows."

And I used to get a kick out of watching 'The Sonny and Cher Show'...just to see how many outfits Cher would wear and how outrageous they would be! lol!
(I, of course, was reminded of the show w/the mention of 'I got you babe' :-)

Paul Bradforth said...

@Alex — Tutti Frutti has just been released on DVD; you can get it at Amazon. Great news!

Bruce Oksol said...

Actually two thoughts:

1) Obama's lyrics: "It's not unusual to be loved by everyone." (and the meter is sustained)

2) Facebook lyrics: "it's not unusual to be loved by everyone." (same)

Dibutil said...

Regarding the newspapers headlines: imagine a photo of the dirtiest pornographic scene and read any of the headlines. See if it fits as a caption to the picture :-)

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Nah, too easy!
Practically any newspaper headline these days can fit a porn scene of some sort.
Promises, promises. When does the smut start, already?

"It's not unusual to get hard at anything"

Here's one random example, my latest word verif on Facebook: "Marcla crams"
I'm already getting a mental picture!
Mental Pictures present Jeff Stryker and P-04 in "Joe Dick's got competition".

"It's not asexual to make love to anyone"

Oooowww....kaaaayyyy.... cold shower time already.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

P.S.: Yo, Jacko, bro! Killer Doc wants a rematch! Vince McMahon said I's gotta legit claim to da title fur dat belt!

Your friendly neighborhood R.A.F. said...

"I don't pay for newspaper, if I want to get lied to and insulted, I have friends who'll do it for free"
You got THAT right, "friend".

And I still have some free bonuses to go around:

"Good grief! Count on Pascal to slaughter grammar fiercer than Saddam's massacres in Kurdistan!"

Saddam's ghost said...

Is no fair! I am dead now, can't to try to do better. Or worse, all it depends on who you look at it.
Cheater infidel dogs!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Apropos Joe Dick, he told me that because I took Aniko's side over his (in his view) a couple weeks ago, he's outta here.

Anonymous said...

I'd be more bothered by someone agreeing Bron over something. That's like using Forrest Gump as your "phone a friend" friend on Millionaire.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Aw, man! Why couldn't you take Aniko's side over R.A.F.'s? ;-)

Joe reminds me of both my brothers: absolutely great guys when you get to know them, but unusually touchy.
And yet, somehow, I get along much easier with Joe than with my bros. Go figure.

I don't know whether "it's unusual with loved ones", but I noticed that many of my friends get along with me, while they wouldn't get along with each other. Maybe because I have such a broad spectrum of friends?...

I remembered the Dickster because, just today, while sorting out my computer files, I came across a private (or professional?) photo of him, his hose proudly rested over his shoulder. Based on his manhood, that guy should be an Antonov pilot! ;-)
I've put it in the same folder as Hulk fighting Giganta. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

I think I'll name this folder "Light humor"...

Anonymous said...

I was watching this show about the history of English, and a lot of grammar rules (and spelling rules too) were invented arbitrarily, for no apparent reason. Some of them were applied from Latin, like not using double negatives, and not ending a sentence with a preposition. Both of those, they said, work in Latin but don't work in English. They were also saying that befire these rules were implemented, writers like Chaucer and Shakespeare had freely violated them. Kind of makes you wonder why some people get so hung up on them these days.

Paul Bradforth said...

Well, as Chaucer was fond of saying: Thaet trymian, stod he beornas grith hearde, eac gethanc gyf him sendon taehte aet him tham on wicinga tha handum ne he with sceoldon thine tha freode.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yeah, he had a way with words.