Don’t Ask If You Don’t Want to Know

When I got to the studio the other day, I had papers thrust upon me before I could even take off my coat.

Them: Is this right?

Me: No. That’s a transitive verb; it has to have an object.

Them: But the other guy said it was all right.

Me: He was wrong.

Them: But we can do  it this way anyway, right?

Me: Sure, but I’m not going to approve it.

Them: It’s a song. Can we call it poetic license?

Me: Poetic license can’t change a transitive verb into an intransitive one.

Them: But the big kahunas have already approved it this way.

Me: Well, then what’s the point of asking me? We’re trying to teach English. Do you really want to publish this knowing there’s a mistake in it? I can give you other words that will still work with this music.

Them: But the composer really doesn’t want to change it.

Me: Look, if you want to do it this way, then go ahead and do it, but I’m not going to say that it’s OK.

Silence all around. Uncomfortable silence. The Japanese do not like confrontation. I wasn’t being belligerent, but I wasn’t going to give in either.

In the end, the composer agreed to use my alternate words, and even liked them better than the original ones. Match point to mouse, but the war is yet to be won.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Ask If You Don’t Want to Know”

    1. Thanks! What they wanted to use was “We all understand” with “each other” being implied. I told them you can’t imply an object and suggested “We go hand in hand”. Same number of syllables, same intonation. It worked.

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