Can music help you learn grammar? YES!
We talked about songs that use the Imperative mood, so let’s move on to the subjunctive mood.
(A superabundance of songs use the word “ain’t” for stylistic, historical, and/or cultural reasons, but we won’t focus on those songs).
The subjunctive is a verb mood that expresses wishes, possibilities, or actions that haven’t happened yet.
For example, the song title “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” uses the subjunctive, but it’s grammatically wrong! The proper song title should be “I Wish It Were Christmas Today” because it’s not really December 25th, today — the singer just wishes it were.
A lot of people get tripped up with the subjunctive because using “were” instead of “was” might sound wrong. After all, you don’t say “the band were playing,” you say “the band was playing.”
But, if you are expressing a wish/hope/something that hasn’t happened yet:
Correct: If only the band were playing tomorrow night instead of tonight, I could make it to the show.
Incorrect: If only the band was playing tomorrow night instead of tonight, I could make it to the show.
Good songs that violate the subjunctive rule:
“I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Julian Casablancas:
“Wish He Was You” by Best Coast:
“I Wish I Was Him” by Noise Addict: