Thursday, May 17, 2012

You Should've Said, "Would've" When You Could've

People are lazy. There. I said it. We're lazy, and it shows in our speech. We speak in contractions, sometimes without even realizing it. Today's lesson is about  the most common example of that phenomenon.

My students are often surprised to learn that the terms would of, could of, and should of don't actually exist!  Why is there confusion? Why do we see these terms used even by adults? Because people are lazy. We speak in contractions.

The correct terms, of course, are would have, could have, and should have. How do they sound when we contract them?

  • I would've been on time if Godzilla hadn't been trashing the city.
  • I could've won on American Idol, but I don't like to show off.
  • I should've bought the Hope Diamond when I had the chance. 
Exactly! It sounds like would of, could of, should of!

Looking around the Internet, I found these examples. You know...on pages written by supposedly literate adults.
  • Tom Brands could of, should of, would of  {Blog headline}
  • If Bernard Hopkins would of fought a "Prime" Cory Spinks back in 2004 who would of won the fight? {A question on}
  • Disappointing - Not What Walt Would of Wanted {A review of Disney Cruise Lines}
  • There's an entire blog called Who Would Of Thought and another called Wish I Could Of. These seem like very nice blogs, but their message is obscured by this incorrect language.
Here's my personal favorite:
  • What I Wish I Would Of Known in College to Get My Dream Job Faster {This on a blog by a gentleman claiming the credits "SEO, Social Media, Online Marketer."}
I can think of one thing you should've known!

 I hardly know where to begin with this last one, so please insert your own snarky comment here.
So for those of you who didn't realize you were making this error, now you do. Stop it!! Thank you very much.