Why in this word the ending s is not used? This sentence is from J.Cole's song January 28th.

Cole is the hypnotist, control the game whenever he snap(s) That's every track

  • 3
    Quite often, lyrics and poems will not adhere to the formal rules of grammar. Sometimes artists incorporate slang or nonstandard structures that are common colloquially, and sometimes they simply bend the rules for artistic effect. Lyrics and poems are not a good way to learn the rules of the English language. – Tashus Jan 11 at 22:04
  • It is usual in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) not to use an 's' at the end of a verb in the third person singular. Although this construction is considered to be irregular in Standard English, it is not irregular in AAVE. Moreover, the use of 'snap' gives a better partial rhyme to the later 'track' than would have been achieved using 'snaps'. – James Jan 11 at 23:56
  • Good question +1. Just personally speaking, I haven't heard any white singers sing without s to verbs in my life except for rappers. No offense to Black people by the way. – Kentaro Tomono Apr 14 at 12:25

Welcome to the world of non-standard dialects. While Standard English, whatever that might be taken to mean, requires the use of an -s on third person singular verbs. Not all dialects do, however.

Specifically, this is likely to be a case of African-American Vernacular English, which probably omits that -s more often than it includes it.

Unless you specifically want to be learning AAVE, don't take that sort of song as an example. Indeed, even where they are ostensibly in standard English, poetry and song lyrics often take considerable liberties with grammar and syntax, so they aren't good examples to learn from.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.