Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
God Shed His Grace On Thee

And speaking of Language Log, here's an interesting observation, from Geoffrey K. Pullum, on Ray Charles' famous version of America the Beautiful: the text, as written, is in the subjunctive, like a prayer:

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea! in, May God shed his grace on thee. Charles has recast it as a past-tense statement:

America! America!
God done shed His grace on thee,
And crowned thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Pullum figures this is likely to be misreading of the original on the part of Charles, rather than a clever re-imagining of the text. But you know, it's optimism that's the most important thing, we're told, and what could be a more optimistic take than this?

(The discussion is extended here...and extended is the word.)

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