Writing Tip Tuesday: It’s "Could Have"!

April 13, 2010 · 6 comments

I was reading a partial the other day and the author used this sentence:

It could of been different.

Uhhnnn. (That’s the sound of the incorrect buzzer going off.)

“Could of” is wrong, wrong, wrong. As is, “would of” and “should of.”

My guess is this mistake originated from the contractions “could’ve/would’ve/should’ve” which sound like “could of/would of/should of” when spoken aloud.

  • Correct: It could have been different.
  • Correct: I would have eaten the pie but I was too full.
  • Correct: You should have gone to the movie with us.

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Jennie April 13, 2010 at 8:39 am

You've been picking up on some common errors I'm seeing a lot of lately and handling them well. How about clarifying "different from" and "different than" sometime.

Nancy Campbell Allen April 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

YES! One of my biggest pet peeves! Thank you!

mormonhermitmom April 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

Oh, I CRINGE when I see or hear "could of".

Paul West April 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

One of my many pet peeves as well.

How about your feelings on saying, "and then" versus just "then."

brenda April 14, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I was correcting a paper that actually had, "I coulda tried again but I just couldn't". Yikes!

Melanie Goldmund April 15, 2010 at 4:53 am

Great to see someone else picking up on this! However, there's something else that bothers me more, and that's the mis-use of the 's. Because it's sweeping across English-speaking countries, it's even becoming prevalent here in Germany! There's a shop not too far from where I live that proudly proclaims "Beauty and Nail's." Ugh! And recently, I'm sure I saw this line on the internet somewhere: "Who want's to be a millionaire?" Holy flying cowpats!

Can you do a Writing Tip Tuesday about this? Help them, LDS Publisher, you're their only hope! 😉

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