A Terrible Blogger is Born!

February 17, 2009

To from where?

Filed under: Dylanalia,Music — rmangum @ 12:33 am
Tags: , ,

dylan-suckcessAs much as I admire Bob Dylan as a lyricist, I’ve always been bothered (English major that I am) by the line from “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” that goes, “you’d better get back to from where you came”. This is an awkward construction used to make the line fit. Using the more common “to where you came from” may end a sentence with a preposition, but at least you don’t have the “to from where”, which just sounds weird. The line comes a shortly after one that says, “she speaks good English”. Some prissy types would object to this, but not me. I just find it funny that it is followed by some really awful English.

Almost as bad is the Townes Van Zandt song “White Freightliner”, where he sings “I’m gonna ramble till I get back to where I came”. I don’t think this means what Van Zandt intends it to mean.

Oh, and in “Rainy Day Women”, Dylan sings, “They’ll stone you when you are ung and able.”


  1. Let us never forget the truly awful line from Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die: “But in this ever changing world in which we live in”

    Pure suck from start to finish.

    Also, Mr. English Major, unless I’m mistaken, ending a sentence in a preposition is only a no-no in Latin.

    Cheers! šŸ˜€

    Comment by JMangum — February 17, 2009 @ 1:51 am | Reply

  2. And on a related note, ending a sentence in a proposition is just straight up a good idea.

    Comment by JMangum — February 17, 2009 @ 1:52 am | Reply

  3. Yeah, you’re right. The Latin-derived rules are generally anachronisms, especially this one. Which sounds better, “Here’s where I’m coming from”, or “Here is wherefrom I come”? (This might be where the older “whence” would be used.)

    But my point is mainly an aesthetic one. I’m not sure there’s anything technically wrong with “to from where you came”- it just sounds like crap, and that’s usually the best guide.

    Comment by rmangum — February 17, 2009 @ 2:19 am | Reply

  4. I’d say the aesthetic quality is of much more importance. The rules can be a good guide, but should be tossed out as soon as you start constructing ludicrious sounding sentences in order to comply with some grammatical rule. “To from where you came” definitely sounds like shit, regardless of how technically correct it is.

    Gratefully, language is a difficult thing to centralize and regulate.

    Comment by JMangum — February 17, 2009 @ 2:39 am | Reply

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