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    #1

    Question All you ever did was wreck me

    Hello, I was listening to the Miley Cyrus's song where she says: "All you ever did was wreck me".

    The situation is the following: I have seen previously in another page that the verb "be", being a linking verb, acts like a math equation, where what's in the left side of the verb has to be similar to the right side, i.e. x = y. For example: "All you need to do is to think". "to do" matches "to think" in that both are infinitives with "to". So, in the first sentence from the song, is it correct that after "was" there's "wreck" in a simple present form, when the verb that precedes "was" is "did"? Or is it that "was", being in the simple past form, acts as a wildcard or something like it?

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: All you ever did was wreck me

    No, don't think of it like maths.
    "To think" isn't "to do". "To think is all you need to do."
    "Wreck me was all you ever did."

    You can't always change the words around "to be" and end up with a good sentence.
    "The cat is sitting in the sitting in the sun."; "Sitting in the sun is the cat." - not so good.

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    #3

    Re: All you ever did was wreck me

    I think that somehow the "was" in past tense helps the "wreck" match the "did". But I'm sure that isn't a very good linguistic explanation.

    I'm also sure that it can be a bad thing that we have to use language to explain Maths; equally you could get in a tangle using Maths to explain English.
    I totally agree with Raymott- you can't just use "be" as an equation; not always anyway.

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    #4

    Re: All you ever did was wreck me

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    I am 85% confident that the answer is this: the "to" in such sentences is optional.

    "All (that) you ever did was (to) wreck me."

    "All you ever did" = complete subject.
    "was" is the linking verb (copula).
    "(to) wreck me" is the infinitive phrase in apposition with the subject.

    "All that you ever do + is + (to) criticize me."

    "All that the teacher ever does + is + (to) give us busywork."

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: All you ever did was wreck me

    Re:

    All that you ever do is criticize me.

    A lot of people would omit "that" from that sentence, thus:


    All you ever do is criticize me.



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