Sunday, October 25, 2009

Should Of

I react badly to seeing should of, could of, or must of in print. Clearly, the writing is responding to the conversational sound, which is identical to should've, could've, or must've. I assume he does not read much, or would otherwise be aware of the "have" that is making the "'ve." As a percentage matter, I may be correct in my prediction that the writer does not read much. But as a high horse grammatical response I am being unfair. I am expecting a native English speaker to be aware of the underlying construction of what he says - which seems a small expectation, ne c'est pas? Yet we pedants do not recoil with anywhere near that severity to kind of or sort of used as conversational hedges. It is informal, perhaps, but no grave solecism.

One can sense the long tracing of the usage, from a precise a spear is a kind of a weapon meaning "type" through a yurt is a sort of house, meaning a borderline designation, to our current idiom he was kind of angry, meaning "partially." But that takes a bit of pondering; it is not immediately apparent when looking at the phrase "sort of."


Donna B. said...

Do you react the same way to "shoulda" or "sorta"?

I don't, as I think that usage in informal writing exhibits the writer's awareness that it is wrong, where I'm fairly sure the "should of" user is not aware.

"Intensive purposes" is the one that really irritates me.

akafred said...

AVI - Me worries sort of that you may have too much time on your hands these days. Ever think about taking up a second job to chew up the hours??

karrde said...

Yet we pendants do not recoil with anywhere near that severity to kind of or sort of used as conversational hedges.

So, what do pendants hang from, and how does it relate to grammar?

Partially in jest, of course. I think I know what is meant.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Fixed. Thanks.

Ben Wyman said...

I make this mistake often (though, I usually catch it myself), and it's safe to say that I read a good deal. I think part of the problem is that so many people make the mistake, it's starting to become acceptable and go unnoticed entirely. Eventually it may become an acceptable variation

terri said...

I think a lot of this has to do with the medium of blogging/typing.

When I write, I'm actually talking in my head and transcribing what I am "hearing" there. As such....I tend to use sort of...kind of...and other colloquialisms.

While I don't think I have ever written "should of" instead of "should have"....I find that I make those kinds of errors frequently when typing.....errors that I would never make while writing something out manually.

I'm not sure why.

I never mistakenly confuse there, their and they're while writing.....but I can't tell you how many times I find myself doing that while typing.

Many times, because of the process that I'm going through while typing my thoughts, I leave out words and even when I go back and reread what I catch the errors....I don't see them because my brain just automatically puts them in where they're supposed to be.

Maybe that's what's happening on those cases?

Or maybe the writer is just dumb as bricks! :-)

terri said...

"in" those cases

karrde said...

I am amused at how easy it is to confuse homophones (and near-homophones) while typing on a computer.

I cannot remember if that was a regular problem when I wrote by hand more often.

The change from the distinct phrase would have to the conjunction would've, with the homophone would of, is easy to see.

Did such a pattern shorten the phrase will not into the contraction won't? How about the phrase am not and its metamorphosis into

I was told in school that won't was equivalent in meaning to will not. I was told that ain't was improper usage.

I don't know if I'm supposed to have an opinion about the propriety of would of, though I will say that the idiom is a combination of strange and funny.

(another) Jonathan said...

That's rediculous!