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View Full Version : Crosby,Stills,N&Y:"Teach your children"--why does it say "they pickS"?


chappachula
06-27-2007, 03:11 PM
it's a classic anthem of a generation--"Teach your children well" by Crosby Stills Nash and Young. A song that mixes some hippie angst with some hope for the future.

So it's a pretty good song... But ruined by TERRIBLE grammar!

"Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by"

Huh? why did they stick that S on the verb? An intelligent person (like all of us Dopers :) ) would say "they pick", right?

I mean,like, ya know, the English language got rules and stuff.People speaks normal. They says so all the time. They eats lunch. They sings songs, they writes music, they reads books, they picks their dreams.

Why did good songwriters decide to act like illiterate hillbillies for one word?
It just don't make no sense, no way.

Is there any rational explanation for that "S"?

lieu
06-27-2007, 03:14 PM
I believe it's either "pick's" or very well could be "picked". Would that make things better?

Quercus
06-27-2007, 04:31 PM
I thought it was
"the one they pick, (i)s the one you'll know by"
with the 'i' muffled to keep the meter of the song going (and of course with 'them' omitted after 'know')

Dolores Reborn
06-27-2007, 04:34 PM
Wow, Quercus! I believe you nailed it! I've always wondered about that, too. To the point that I made myself say "fix" - as in "fix on", just so my brain could deal with the grammar. It still sounds wrong, though. ;)

Thudlow Boink
06-27-2007, 09:40 PM
The one they picks, the one you'll know by"

Huh? why did they stick that S on the verb? An intelligent person (like all of us Dopers :) ) would say "they pick", right?"The one they pick the one you'll know by"? Huh? That missing a verb!

chappachula
06-27-2007, 10:11 PM
I thought it was
"the one they pick, (i)s the one you'll know by"
with the 'i' muffled to keep the meter of the song going (and of course with 'them' omitted after 'know')
Thanks! This is the only idea that might explain my question.
The only problem with it is that it's not true, methinks. :(

I no longer have my vinyl disc of "Deja Vu", but I'm pretty sure the lyrics were printed inside like this:

"...
That you can live by
And so
Become yourself
Because the past
Is just a good-bye
Teach you children well
Your father's hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks
The one you'll know by
Don't you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you"


So it's not only awkward grammar, it looks awkward, too. !


"The one they pick the one you'll know by"? Huh? That missing a verb--
No, not really. It's good grammar to say for example :"this is the gift I pick for you, the one you'll remember me by". No verb needed. But a comma sure helps.

Snooooopy
06-27-2007, 10:24 PM
Perhaps what they wanted everyone to teach well to their children is math.

kittenblue
06-28-2007, 07:09 AM
[QUOTE=chappachula]Thanks! This is the only idea that might explain my question.
The only problem with it is that it's not true, methinks. :(

I no longer have my vinyl disc of "Deja Vu", but I'm pretty sure the lyrics were printed inside like this:

"...

Teach you children well
Your father's hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks
The one you'll know by


No, I think Quercus is right...mainly because that's how I've always thought about it!... and when the lyrics are written down, that's how it gets written because that's how it sounds. A bit of poetic/literary license.

saoirse
06-28-2007, 07:53 AM
"Feed them on your dreams"?

I thought it was "Beat them on their knees" The whole song makes a lot more sense, now.

Thudlow Boink
06-28-2007, 09:44 AM
Lyrics printed in liner notes should always be taken with a grain of salt.
A missing apostrophe is far from the worst discrepancy I've seen.

El Zagna
06-28-2007, 10:26 AM
Because of the importance of this thread, I was forced to renew my membership to the SDMB just so I could report to you the findings of my research.

Googling on:

"teach your children" lyrics "the one they" = 1,180 hits
"teach your children" lyrics "the one they pick" = 119 hits
"teach your children" lyrics "the one they picks" = 606 hits
"teach your children" lyrics "the one they pick's" = 57 hits
"teach your children" lyrics "the one they picked" = 223 hits
"teach your children" lyrics "the one they fixed" = 1 hits
"teach your children" lyrics "the one they fix" = 126 hits

So there you have it. No one seems to know for sure.