Weird Al Yankovic has done grammarians a great favor with his new song "Word Crimes." A parody of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," it whips through a series of common errors with the exasperation of a good copy editor.
"If you've finished second grade I hope you can tell / If you're doing good or doing well," he rhymes. (Hint: You're doing well.)
Because Yankovic often doesn't explain which is the correct usage, the song is clearly playing to those who recognize the error.
He brings up "less" versus "fewer" -- grammar sticklers know "fewer" is generally used with nouns that can be counted (fewer dollars, fewer people), while "less" is used with nouns that can't (less money, less time).
He does try to explain one of the most frequent mistakes -- mixing up "its" and "it's," but it goes by pretty fast. In case you missed it, "its" is the possessive and "it's" is for "it is." When he defines "contraction," the song veers dangerously (or pleasantly) close to Schoolhouse Rock territory.
But Yankovic has always hung his Hawaiian shirt on contemporary pop, so his parody of Thicke's hit has a very addictive hook. And a timely rant on the misuse of "literally."
Like passing notes in class; I'm @paperhaus on Twitter