Thursday, August 6, 2009

By Popular Demand: Grammar & Spelling Lesson #5

Today's lesson is a short & simple one: 'of' vs. 'have'. I saw this frequently when I was in college student teaching. I thought it was mostly a children's issue & I blamed the laziness of the spoken American language. (Yes, I realize we speak English, but the more non-American English-speaking people I meet, the more I'm convinced Americans are lazy in our speech.)
What do we hear?
"I shoulda gone to the store."
"I could of done that."
Some people guilty of this may know better when they write:
"I should HAVE gone to the store."
"I could HAVE done that."

But sometimes I see 'of' in place of 'have' even in writing. "Have" shows that the action was in the past. There is never, ever a reason to use 'of' in this situation.
"I should have..."
"I could have..."
For the children's sake, make sure you're annunciating 'have' so they don't hear 'of'. :) Please! For the children's sake! hehe Now you feel guilty, don't you? :)


inkOBSESSIONdesigns said...

THANK YOU!!!!! :)

Angela said...

good lesson...

I was in the bank this morning and heard one I really hate:

"I seen you on your motorcycle yesterday."

makes my skin crawl

Sarah (OP Designs) said...

Awesome! As an English major, I approve of your quest against English ignorance.

Molly Lou Gifts said...

Drives me insane!!!! AHHHHH! Thanks so much for saying it. I used to correct my students all of the time.

Well done grammar guru, Bitsy!

Eva said...

I could never really understand the meaning of 'Of' used just as you described. I've heard it a lot. And they were people with english as a first language. Thanks for explaining so fully! English is my third language, so I'm still learning.

Joan said...

Eva, it appears you're doing very well with your 3rd language! ;)
For many Americans, we write how we hear. There are a handful of accents where 'have' does SOUND like 'of', so people start writing it that way, too.


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