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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (April 3, 2007)

Oh You Shouldn't Of!

In his column, Word Play, Warren Clements of The Globe and Mail recently wrote on expressions that should be entered into a "hall of shame."

Prominent among these (I saw an example in a student's work this week) are the expressions, "should of" and "would of." Both result from conversational English creeping into our written language. Writers mistakenly believe that the correct expression is "I would have gone . . ."; however, the correct expression (past unreal) as most know is "If I had gone . . ."

Because of our contracted ways of speaking, "would have" comes out sounding like "would've" and next thing you know the contraction of "have" becomes "of"!

If students had known the correct form, they would not have made the mistake.


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