Monday, October 15, 2012
31 Days: Day 15 — When prepositions go bad.
Verbs are such happy words. They allow us to do, to feel, to think, and to be anything we want. For the most part, they are easy to deal with, but sometimes we get into trouble. And as is usually the case, the trouble is of our own making. Today we're going to cover the issue of mistaken identity in helping verbs.
Have you ever seen someone write I should of tried harder? There is no such phrase as should of. People write it that way because when we speak—unlike our persnickety Victorian ancestors—we shorten things. And when we shorten things, we confuse the sounds. And when we confuse the sounds, we don't always write them correctly. It's the old apostrophe-goes-where-the-letters-are-missing thing again. Should've sounds like should of, so have gets mistaken for of, and from there it all goes to pot.
Know this: of is not a verb. Ever. It's not even a helping verb. It's a preposition that might like to be a verb, but has no chance. It's gone rogue. It's masquerading as a verb, trying to trick you into using it incorrectly.
Don't be fooled. There is no such construction as should of, would of, or could of. No more explanation is needed here because it's just not ever right. Here's all you need to know: should have, would have, could have; should've, would've, could've. Amen.
Tomorrow we'll talk about tense.
Be thankful ~
PS. And my word, can you believe how short this was?