Sufjan Stevens Writes Open Letter Addressing Miley Cyrus' Grammar Use | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sufjan Stevens Writes Open Letter Addressing Miley Cyrus’ Grammar Use

Explains the Difference Between "Laying" and "Lying"

Oct 14, 2013 Sufjan Stevens Bookmark and Share

Recently musical artist Sinead O’Connor began writing a series of open letters to Miley Cyrus, decrying the controversial pop star’s attitude and actions in the wake of her now infamous VMAs performance. While the whole thing seems to have blown way out of proportion with mocking replies by Cyrus and threats of lawsuits by O’Connor, a new, entirely unexpected face has stepped in the conflict: Sufjan Stevens. Posting his own open letter on his Tumblr, Stevens has written an amusing message targeting Cyrus’ grammar:

Dear Miley. I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time. But don’t worry, even Faulkner messed it up. We all make mistakes, and surely this isn’t your worst misdemeanor. But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between. I feel that way all the time. It kind of sucks. But I have a feeling your “present perfect continuous” involves a lot more excitement than mine. Anyway, doesn’t that also sum up your career right now? Present. Perfect. Continuous. And Tense. Intense? Girl, you work it like Mike Tyson. Miley, I love you because you’re the Queen, grammatically and anatomically speaking. And you’re the hottest cake in the pan. Don’t ever grow old. Live brightly before your fire fades into total darkness. XXOO Sufjan

Subtly poking fun of the whole “open letter” concept in general, here’s hoping Stevens has put the kibosh on the tactic for a little while.



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