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Friday, June 10, 2011

I Could of Used a Grammatically Correct Title!

Did you notice something wrong in my title for this blog entry?

As I'm typing the rest of this entry, I would of thought you might notice the grammatical problem, but then I should of realized many people make this mistake so often that some people might not even notice I've deliberately used this common mistake two more times in this sentence.  Surely you must of figured it out by now (Ack!  I did it again!).  Have you figured out what the mistakes are?

There is no such phrase as could of, would of, should of, might of or must of.   That's right -- could of and the other similar forms are not grammatically correct.  Are you guilty of using any of these  in your writing when you should be writing have instead?

Here's the rule:  Watch for two common errors in the use of of.   Do not write of in place of have in such phrases as could have, should have, might have, must have, etc.  In everday speech we often slur the word have, producing a sound that might be written could've or could of .  There is no such phrase as could of -- it's could have.  Do not allow speech habits to lead you into spelling and usage errors.

Incorrect:  She could of had straight A's if she had worked harder.

Correct:    She could have had straight A's if she had worked harder.

Speaking of of, here's one more little rule to remember to help you avoid wordiness and be more concise in your writing:

Do not use of unnecessarily in such phrases as had of and off of.

Incorrect:  If I had of known about the shortcut, I'd have been here sooner.

Correct:     If I had known about the shortcut, I'd have been here sooner. 

Incorrect:  The dog jumped off of the couch as soon as it heard its owner coming.

Correct:     The dog jumped off the couch as soon as it heard its owner coming.

Have a Happy Writing Day!


  1. Would/could/should of drives me BANANAS! Gonna LOVE this blog!

  2. Is "could I get a copy of your paper" grammatically correct?

    1. Yes, it is. "Of your paper" is a prepositional phrase. Thanks for asking.

  3. You fully match our expectation and the selection of our data.Grammarly review

  4. Such a small thing to worry about. Just another tool for idiots to think they are better. Thanks for creating a world full of righteous hatred.


  5. Very Useful information Thank you!!
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