Which is correct? 1. They sang Happy Birthday song to me.2. They sang 'Happy Birthday' song to me.3. They sang happy birthday song to me.Thanks.

Can I write 1. I sang a birthday song. 2. I sang the song of " Happy Birthday". Thanks.
edited May 12 '12 at 13:04 May New member

If you have a new question, it is best to start a new thread or comment to one of our answers. Otherwise, we might not know that you have another question. I just happened to come back to this question and notice that you edited your original.

You can write "I sang a happy birthday song." There are many different songs relating to birthdays. You don't need to capitalize happy birthday or place it in quotes because it's not a specific song title.

I wouldn't write your second sentence. I would write -- I sang "Happy Birthday".

Jody M.May 12 '12 at 14:49

Thanks for your reply.

MayMay 13 '12 at 21:48

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5 answers


May's three options also have differences in how to render the title of the song. Happy Birthday is a title, so it must be capitalized. (So #3 is not correct in this regard.)  Style guides, such as Chicago, tell us that  song titles should be enclosed by double quotation marks ("Happy Birthday"). (So #2 is almost correct).

link answered May 11 '12 at 14:48 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Jeez, I even looked up the quotation mark issue before I posted my answer. I even used Chicago. Somewhere along the way my train of thought derailed. Thanks for getting me back on track.

Jody M.May 11 '12 at 16:43

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I am unable to digest "to me", it's possible I may be unaware of such a use, in that case I'd like to know about it.


Here the verb "sing" is used in the meaning "to perform a song" in that case I would prefer for. See:

Shreya sang for the titled crowd.


"To" is mostly used when the verb sing remains intransitive.

link edited May 11 '12 at 08:55 Rahul Gupta Expert

See my answer.

Jody M.May 11 '12 at 13:33

I didn't get What you want to point out.

Rahul GuptaMay 11 '12 at 14:33

Rahul, in Maay's question, "to" is being used as a preposition -- "to me" -- and not as part of an infinitive. Her use of "to me" is correct. It answers the question, to whom was the song sung.

Jeff PribylMay 11 '12 at 14:41

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I would use Monty's suggestion but for a different reason and with different punctuation.  You already have sang, you don't need song.  What else does one sing?


Addressing Rahul's answer, to is part of an infinitive.  Infinitives are formed with the base form of any verb + toTo jog, to jump, to sing are examples of infinitives.

     He wants to jog around the block.


To is also a preposition.  Prepositions usually come before nouns or pronouns.

     We drove to Florida.



And as Jeff points out, double quotation marks are used for song titles.  I know this but forgot to share it.  They sang "Happy Birthday" to me.

link edited May 12 '12 at 00:51 Jody M. Expert

I agree with you.In the present sentence, I didn't get how to me is correct.Please elaborate.

Rahul GuptaMay 11 '12 at 14:35

Okay, Imagine today is your birthday. At the party, the crowd sings "Happy Birthday" to you. You are the recepient of the song. But wait, today is also my birthday, so the guests sang "Happy Birthday" to us. I'm sorry, your birthday is not until next month, so our friends sang "Happy Birthday" only to me.

The song "Happy Birthday" is like a musical gift. Although we sing it for somebody on their birthday, we are said to sing it "to" that somebody.

Jeff PribylMay 11 '12 at 14:55

Thank you very much.

Rahul GuptaMay 11 '12 at 15:43

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They sang 'Happy Birthday' to me.



(You don't need the word song. In fact it's so well known you could get away with They sang Happy Birthday to me.)

link comment answered May 11 '12 at 06:51 monty New member

They sang Happy Birthday to me.


Happy Birthday is a copyrighted song and must be capitalized, but song is redundant.

link comment answered May 13 '12 at 18:38 cherylnorman New member

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