Grammar Day: It ain’t no joke.

Happy Grammar Day, Everyone!

I don’t know what you’re planning for your celebration, but mine includes lots of dangling participles and misplaced modifiers.

Here’s what my favorite grammar girl has to say about my least favorite phrase:

Is It “Could’ve” or “Could Of”?

While we’re on the subject of contractions, let’s take a look at what has happened to the constructions “would have,” “could have,” and “should have.” People have heard the perfectly correct “could’ve”—and heard it as “could of.”

There’s the helping verb “could,” but then if you spell it “could of,” it has no main verb to help.  So, in theory, it’s helping a preposition, “of.”  Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.  It’s “could have.”

In previous episodes, we’ve talked about how language evolves and how some stricter constructions have become tacitly acceptable through widespread use.  Well, not for this one. It’s a hard-and-fast rule.

To keep decent English alive, make a little extra effort and enunciate: “would have,” “could have,” and “should have.”

“Well,” you might say, “I’ve meant to improve my diction.”

Yeah, yeah — woulda, coulda, shoulda.


10 responses to “Grammar Day: It ain’t no joke.

  1. I’m celebrating Grammar Day by ending in a preposition. There is no better way to dance on the overwrought nerves of the overprecise that I’m aware of;>

  2. Enjoy yourself Kym. Only pedantic clowns ever believed in the notion that ending a sentence is a preposition was somehow wrong. I wanted to end this post with a preposition, but I’m hung over.

  3. Thanks for gratifying one of my grammar gripes, K! My personal pet peeve is “a whole nother” subject…

  4. Hey, Kato, it’ s nice to see you!

    I’ve always kinda liked “a whole nother.” It’s such nonsense, like it could fit right in with a “‘Twas brillig” style poem.


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