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Is this line in a song (or might just end up as a poem) grammatically correct: "But oh how the love, it still wrecks me every time." ??

It seems to not be grammatically correct to me, but I just wanted to double check. I imagine the grammatically correct way to write it would be "But oh how the love still wrecks me every time." ... However, I'm hoping to stick with how I currently have it because the correct way doesn't fit in terms of the flow of the song. So I'll likely just claim artistic license and keep it the way have it... but I also wanted to double check if it could be considered grammatically correct or not.

Thanks in advance!

  • I don't know if it is technically correct, but the meaning is crystal clear. And isn't that the point? – Tony Ennis Apr 8 '18 at 17:13
  • @ Tony Ennis, thanks. Indeed that is the point... And because of that I'm 99% satisfied with it... It would just be nice if it was also grammatically correct, so I thought I would check... – FastBallooningHead Apr 8 '18 at 17:19
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    I'm sorry, but I really don't think this fits within Writing's scope. Writing SE is about writing, not about the finer points of English. In fact, our subject scope specifically excludes proofreading or rephrasing requests. Our sister sites English Language & Usage and English Language Learners both accept questions about English grammar, but they require those questions to identify a specific source of concern; I don't think your question meets that bar. See english.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic and ell.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic, respectively. – a CVn Apr 8 '18 at 19:55
  • @MichaelKjörling As this construction is quite common in poetry, I believe that naming it and explaining that it is not wrong to use it can be very useful to many aspiring poets. – user29032 Apr 8 '18 at 19:58
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What you have there is a typical construction from spoken language. It is called an anacoluthon, specifically a retraction: you begin the sentence, then break off, retract to before the word you have just uttered ("love"), and then continue using another word ("it").

This construction is considered wrong in standard written language (e.g. in a business letter), but quite common and appropriate in poetic language. In spoken language it is so ubiquitous that few people even notice it: if you ask someone what has been said, they are often convinced that the "corrected" sentence had been spoken and have forgotten the anacoluthon.


Personally, I would delete the "the", because "love", in the sense that you seem to use it, is an uncountable noun, and add a few commas:

But, oh, how love, it still wrecks me every time.

  • @ cloudchaser, thanks so much! That is exactly how I was framing it to myself in my head, but was lacking the proper terminology (i.e., anacoluthon) to do so. I was thinking to myself that leaving the sentence as is best conveys the train of thought that line was a part of, but was lacking proper terminology to justify it. So thanks again. You've put me at ease. – FastBallooningHead Apr 8 '18 at 19:42

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