Should of, would of, could of. Grammar dilemmas.

Last Update: March 29, 2015

I've noticed an increasing trend lately for people to write 'should of', 'would of' and 'could of' instead of 'should have', 'would have' and 'could have'. For example, 'I could of left earlier'.

Now think about this for a minute. It doesn't make sense, does it? So why are people using it? And I'm not talking about children, I'm talking about adults. People with university degrees. In one case I noticed recently, by someone who writes for a living and teaches others to write.

I suspect it's a case of writing down what we say. Many of us are lazy speakers, and say 'should've', 'would've' and 'could've'. This is fine. We are simply contracting 'should have', 'would have' and 'could have'. In fact, we could write those contractions and that would be perfectly correct, even though it may look a little odd. However, somehow between the mouth to the page the translation gets lost and 'of' creeps in.

We live in a casual world of textspeak these days, particularly on social media channels, which may explain to some degree why 'of' has replaced 'have'. After all, 'of' uses two less characters and if you're tweeting on Twitter that matters. Horrible things happen to grammar and language on social media and in text messages. Don't get me started on it!

Oh, and let's add 'must of' to the list too. How many of you use 'must of' when you should be using 'must have'?

Think carefully when you write. Using bad grammar such as 'should of', 'would of', 'could of'' and 'must of' may cause your readers form a bad perception of your writing ability and education. We are all here to have online businesses, and while our language on our blog should be friendly and inviting, it should also be professional. :-)

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Geoff-n-Jane Premium
Hi, I too noticed this lazy form of grammar and language. In fact, it many-a-time, makes me cringe when I see it or hear it.
I must admit to using condensed phrases like "I've", "you've", "don't", "won't", "couldn't" and "wouldn't", but certainly not "could of" and "would of" - to me, they actually sound a bit vulgar.
Jane
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MarionBlack Premium
Good points. I've also noticed soooo many people saying "off of" e.g. "I want to make a living off of affiliate marketing." I don't know where the "of" came from. "I want to make a living off affiliate marketing" or "I want to make a living from affiliate marketing" - either of those should be acceptable. Also I detest the usage of "text message abbreviations" such as "BTW" and "TC" don't get me started! ~Marion
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SabrinaF Premium
Tee hee, Marion - I think you've given me another blog topic! :-D
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HelenpDoyle Premium
Or you have the that there syndrome - that there one!
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bsmith1222 Premium
Proper grammar is a thing of the past for many. It is going to the wayside along with reading skills. As professionals though we should set a better example!
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HelenpDoyle Premium
You bet!
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HelenpDoyle Premium
Not only does it give a bad perception but it degrades the language. And if it continues, in the future no-one will be able to understand what someone else is saying. And there is also the use of could instead of would. Just because someone could have done something doesn't mean they would have!'

Goodness me we really need to have a cup of coffee together.
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SabrinaF Premium
It will have to be a virtual cup of tea or coffee (preferably in a vintage china cup and saucer!) on either side of the world, Helen!
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