In the song Thank You, Dido sings:

My tea's gone cold I'm wondering why I
got out of bed at all.
The morning rain clouds up my window,
and I can't see at all.
And even if I could, it would all be gray,
but your picture on my wall.
It reminds me that it's not so bad.
It's not so bad.

I'm interested in the grammatical function of rain, clouds, and up.

Is clouds up the (phrasal) verb and rain the subject, or is rain clouds a compound noun and up a preposition?

A) What is it? It's the morning rain. What does it do? It clouds up my window. The morning rain clouds up my window.

B) What is it? It's the morning rain clouds. Where are they? They are up my window. The morning rain clouds up my window.

What do you think?

  • 1
    If you think "the morning rain clouds" is a noun phrase, then what is the verb?
    – stangdon
    Jul 16 at 17:22
  • 1
    @stangdon - No need for a verb, this is a song. The OP is hearing something similar to, The loud, mean dog [barking] on my street and I can't hear at all when he questions if he heard, The mourning, rain clouds [running] up my window and I can't see at all.
    – EllieK
    Jul 16 at 18:19
  • 1
    It's A) the morning rain has caused her windows to get clouded up and, as she says in the next line, she can not see out the windows because of it
    – Kevin
    Jul 16 at 19:00
  • 3
    @EllieK I agree that song lyrics don't have to adhere to strict grammatical rules (and usually don't!). The point of my question was just that if we interpret "morning rain clouds" as one noun phrase, then the meaning of "up my windows" becomes a lot less clear, since there isn't any verb.
    – stangdon
    Jul 16 at 19:27


morning - noun used attributively, i.e. operating as an adjective

rain - noun "the morning rain" = the rain in the morning

clouds (verb) - to cloud - to obscure or cover with mist or to cause the misting or obscuring of something.) Probably a reference to the condensation that appears on the inside of a window pane when rain falls on it.

up - adverb (often used in phrasal verbs) = completely, finally, all the way.

my window, - object.


It's a full sentence. "Clouds up" is a phrasal verb (transitive, with "my window" as its object), and "the morning rain" is of course the subject.

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