Now you can raise your hand if you recognize that this has been addressed by Paul Brians:. . . she takes Elvis to task -- is no one sacred? -- for singing "I'm all shook up" instead of the proper "all shaken up."
Raise your hand if you prefer this correction. That's what I thought.
Elvis Presley couldn’t have very well sung “I’m all shaken up,” but that is the grammatically correct form. “Shook” is the simple past tense of “shake,” and quite correct in sentences like “I shook my piggy bank but all that came out was a paper clip.” But in sentences with a helping verb, you need “shaken”: “The quarterback had shaken the champagne bottle before emptying it on the coach.”Last year I used this as a jumping off point for the Common Errors in English Usage Calendar entry for January 8, Elvis' birthday. The difficult-to-read caption you see on that page is this:
His unpopular act included grammatically correct hits of the fifties, all with harp accompaniment: “All Shaken Up,” “Whom Do You Love,” “There Is a Whole Lot of Shaking Going On,” etc.I didn't know that Martha Brockenbrough would take home the wrong message from that, but she ought to have at least figured out the sarcasm by the time she got to Dylan's birthday, covering Brians' entry on ain't:
That's a little hard to read. Here's Paul's entry:
“Ain’t” has a long and vital history as a substitute for “isn’t,” “aren’t” and so on. It was originally formed from a contraction of “am not” and is still commonly used in that sense. Even though it has been universally condemned as the classic “mistake” in English, everyone uses it occasionally as part of a joking phrase or to convey a down-to-earth quality. But if you always use it instead of the more “proper” contractions you’re sure to be branded as uneducated.And my caption reads like this:
And from his catalogue of sixties hits: “I Am Not Going to Work on Maggie’s Farm Anymore.”The point, Martha, was that his act was unpopular; that is, there's a time to rock and a time to write formally. Your intrusions into our times to rock are not any more appreciated than our harp-playing entertainer's.
Geoffrey Pullum weighs in, pointing out that other of the King's hits could be subject to Martha's edit:
- Treat Me Nicely
- Do Not
- Love Me Tenderly
- I Cannot Help Falling in Love
- Do You Not Think It Is Time?
- I Do Not Care If The Sun Does Not Shine
- It Is Not Any Big Thing (But It Is Growing)
- Is That Not Loving You, Baby?