Today I came across a quote

Money come by love or by vote.

I directly thought that it might just be a mistake, because I think it should be "Money comes by love or by vote.", but when I put the quote in Grammarly, it didn't show any errors. Google translate didn't either so I started thinking that it might have some logic behind it, so I came to ask the pros.

What should I say:

Money come by love or by vote.


Money comes by love or by vote.

It had absolutely no context. I found it written in a used piece of furniture that a friend of mine bought. Sadly we both don't get the quote nor if it's grammatically correct or not.

  • 3
    Where did you read this? If it's meant to be a complete sentence it should certainly begin Money comes... Dec 1, 2021 at 15:38
  • 2
    On my first reading that line scans like a line from a song. Please edit the question to give us the context where you "came across" this phrase. Dec 1, 2021 at 15:38
  • It is probably a mistake or a fragment of a larger sentence. It doesn't make any sense as a sentence by itself.
    – stangdon
    Dec 1, 2021 at 16:23
  • Since it's on decor, and since none of us can make rational sense of it (even as part of a larger sentence), it's entirely possible that it's English text used solely as a design element, for its visual appearance. Dec 1, 2021 at 19:05
  • This is a classic confusion because verbs in the present often behave opposite to nouns when it comes to singular/plural and the inclusion of a final 's'. A cat jumps but cats jump. A ball rolls but balls roll. A tree falls but trees fall, etc.
    – J...
    Dec 2, 2021 at 12:43

4 Answers 4


It should be "money comes". "Money" is a collective noun, which is treated as a singular.

Either the writer of that sentence simply made a mistake, or he was deliberately using odd wording to sound "cute".

Note that you could see the words "money come" in that order in a grammatically correct sentence, depending on surrounding words. If you made it a question, "come" would be correct. Like, "Did the money come yesterday?" or "Who will the money come from?" In these cases the verb is not simply "come" but "did come" or "will come".

"Come" would also be correct if the sentence is imperative. Like, "Money, come to papa!"

And one could come up with complex sentences where the words are only adjacent "coincidentally", and "money" is not the subject for the verb "come". Like, "Economists thinking about money come to the same conclusion." Here the subject is "economists", so it calls for a plural verb, "come". I suspect this is why software did not flag it as an error.


Although I have never heard this particular idiom, I would say this is an example of an idiomatic expression.

Sometimes, idioms are deliberately used with incorrect grammar - for example, "The camera don't lie." Grammatically, it should be "doesn't," but people intentionally say it incorrectly because it adds a sort of tone, or possibly even a little humor, to the sentence.

Grammatically, it should be "money comes by love or by vote," but I would guess your source probably used "come" on purpose for stylistic reasons.

  • 2
    I wouldn't call that incorrect grammar in your example--that sounds like perfectly ordinary AAVE to me.
    – Hearth
    Dec 2, 2021 at 4:01
  • 1
    It could also have been correct grammar, before the expression was shortened. For example: "May money come to your house, by love or by vote" Dec 2, 2021 at 4:28
  • There are probably several dialects where that form might be common. (For example, in the east midlands of England.)
    – gidds
    Dec 2, 2021 at 9:17

It could be "money (that has) come by love or by vote", ie money acquired through love or money acquired because of a vote. There are many older examples of both the phrases "come by vote" and "come by love".

  • I think you are on the right track.
    – Glen Yates
    Dec 2, 2021 at 18:09
  • Maybe you're right, you do have a logical explanation, but still it doesn't fit for me, cuz they could've just said came, but they chose come.
    – jadinerky
    Dec 2, 2021 at 23:29
  • "came" wouldn't have the same meaning, as that's the past tense and so would be a simple statement about what happened in the past. "come" is the past participle and doesn't imply that any money actually came. Dec 2, 2021 at 23:38

These two phrases have different meanings.

money come by love or by vote

In itself is not a complete sentence and generally should have some extra punctuation. An example in a sentence would be "Money, come by love or by vote, still spends the same." In this example the subject is money and the verb is spends which matches the plural subject; come in this instance is not the verb and doesn't have to match the subject. The meaning of the phrase is, "would we treat money any differently were it acquired in different ways".

Money comes by love or by vote.

This is a complete sentence. The subject again is money and the verb is comes, which are in agreement. The meaning of this sentence is that "money is aquired by only these two means".

  • sharp thinking, it's probably a long phrase and someone just decided to keep a part of it.
    – jadinerky
    Dec 2, 2021 at 23:31

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