I came across a web site and the web site was playing an American band's song.

Here is the lyric that makes me confused:

I wanna know have you ever seen the rain?

I am wondering why the singer wrote this sentence, is it grammatical? And I am wondering Why it was not written this way:

I wanna know if you have you ever seen the rain?

  • 4
    It's a song lyric. Those make their own kind of sense, not subject to grammar or syntax rules.
    – Robusto
    Jan 5, 2017 at 21:04
  • 2
    Please, read the question before you vote to close? Kitty isn't asking what it means, she's asking about the grammar of the lyric. It may be a duplicate but it's not off-topic.
    – Andrew
    Jan 5, 2017 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


Ah, John Fogerty. The sentence is a statement, as if he's speaking to you:

"I want to know -- have you ever seen the rain?"

As a kind of "direct quote", there are many possible structures that might not seem grammatical in a written sentence, but which are fine:

"Tell me, what's your favorite color?"

"I should tell you, don't always believe what you read"

  • 1
    @kitty of course this is separate from what he actually means -- which, I have to confess, I never understood. What do you think he means?
    – Andrew
    Jan 5, 2017 at 21:10

It's a song, and most songs have to rhythm with the beat, so the writers try to fit a lyric that will rhythm with the beat, therefore:

I wanna know if you have ever seen the rain?

may sound better than

I wanna know have you ever seen the rain?

However, the sentence sounds good grammatically, the writter just forgot to add one comma between know and have, which will function as a separation of two clauses - One affirmative - The other questionable.

If the song writter intended to ask if they had ever seen the rain, so:

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?

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