"Come On Eileen" revisited

I came across this song while editing one of my releases yesterday, and, quite innocently, corrected the capitalization. Then I took a look at the recording’s edit history, and discovered that it has flip-flopped between the correct “Come On Eileen” and “Come on Eileen” at least 20 times, over several years. In the annotation on Dexys Midnight Runners" there is a link to a forum discussion about the capitalization of this track, but the link is from 2011. The link is no longer valid (I presume because it predates the use of Discourse forum software), and I can’t find the discussion by searching the forums. I found plenty of discussions regarding phrasal verbs in general, but not one that, as I assumed the annotation intended, was specific to this work. I have edited that paragraph in the annotation (and made it votable), but it seems unlikely that an annotation on the group is going to be seen by someone who comes across the track somewhere anyway.

I’m wondering if there is a way to put this to bed. There doesn’t appear to be an annotation option on recordings or works. How can we put a notice on it that is more likely to be noticed?


There is no way to solve it. There are a lot of tracks like this. “On” is especially tricky as too many people assume the rule is based on “short words are lower case” when it is really a English Grammar rule most of us forgot at school long ago.

Enough people have these on their watch lists that they get corrected when changed in error.


It is one of the few old forum topics that have been archived:



It’s possible to add annotations to recordings and works, you just can’t do it through the regular edit page. You need to go through the “Add annotation” link in the sidebar on the right of the page.


Ah, thanks. Never thought to look there.

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Thanks. I see I wasn’t the first to realize how the meaning of the phrase changes with the case of that one letter.


I think it would at least help a bit to have common exceptions like “Come On” in the “Guess case”-function.

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I think Guess Case is being re-written at the moment. I think Shine On was finally getting in there, so expanding to Come On, Take On, etc should not be too big a jump.


Hey but it also can be …Shine on … and … Come on …, can’t it?

@ jesus2099 - Not Shine On You Crazy Diamond which is one of the standard examples of On. But any further on into the English lessons and I get lost. We Never Had This Odd Capitals Lesson at School in My Time. So I just make it up as I go along and refer to other examples.

It is also confused as the more I have looked at this, the weirder it gets. Some of the rules change depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on.

You can have “There is a Shine on That Copper Coin” and that would be lower case. I’ll let an English teacher explain properly… I only been speaking the language for half a century :joy:

My personal solution would be to just to make sure that the “correct way” is written in the annotation of any of these kinds of examples.


One handy, if incomplete, rule of thumb is: if you can add a comma without changing the meaning, then it’s a compound verb and the On should be capitalized:

Come On, Eileen
Hang On, Sloopy
Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

but not:
Running On, Empty
Sitting On, Top of the World


Yes, as it should be read as Shine On! You, Crazy Diamond! or something like that.
But Shine on Me is correct this way. :slight_smile:

Strange that it’s not There is a Shine on that Copper Coin, but it’s another debate. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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That’s good. I also found a handy website for capitalization, with some good explanations phrasal verbs. My impression is that the Chicago Manual of Style is the closest match to MB’s style guidelines: