musta mistook

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Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
Who the f*** is you pushin’, you musta mistook me for some *****
(Cold Wind Blows; Eminem)

I infer that the part in bold must read "must have mistaken".

I wonder whether it is common, as it were, in some quarters to mistake a past form for a past participle.
For example, is it possible to hear something like "musta gave it to the wrong person"?

(Yes, I'm aware that 'is you' looks not that correct as well.:))


  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    As you probably know, words of popular songs are not the best place to look for examples of correct language. This is especially true of the rap genre, which uses a lot of inner-city African-American phrasings. Eminem, who is white, sometimes seems to go especially far in that direction in order to be acceptable to his audiences; a black singer wouldn't need to do that as much (though some do).

    That said, your understanding of the phrase is correct. Something musta gave you a clue! And yes, it is possible to hear this. Even educated speakers will sometimes say this for a humorous effect. If one of my students forgets to bring his homework to class, he might say "I musta woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning." Since I teach information systems, I would chuckle. If I taught English, I'd correct him.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think that many dialects use the same form for the past tense and past participle. I would not be surprised to hear You musta mistook or He musta gave from black or white speakers in London, or in many other parts of Britain. These are not forms to imitate if you wish to impress with your erudition.


    Senior Member
    Musta mistook is pretty common in AE, as is musta gave, noted above by se16teddy. Another common pairing to hear is "musta been," which includes the proper past participle, for which I'm glad as "musta was" would sound absolutely ridiculous.
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