Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda – Where HAVE you learned English?

One of Michy’s pet peeves:

Would of, Should of, Could of…


I would of gone to the store if you’d of asked me.


I would HAVE gone to the store if you HAD asked me.

This one just irks the crud out of me. You need to know parts of speech to understand WHY it’s not ‘would of’ and ‘could of’.

The word OF is a preposition. It is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary to mean:

1. (used to indicate distance or direction from, separation, deprivation, etc.): within a mile of the church; south of Omaha; to be robbed of one’s money.
2. (used to indicate derivation, origin, or source): a man of good family; the plays of Shakespeare; a piece of cake.
3. (used to indicate cause, motive, occasion, or reason): to die of hunger.
4. (used to indicate material, component parts, substance, or contents): a dress of silk; an apartment of three rooms; a book of poems; a package of cheese.
5. (used to indicate apposition or identity): Is that idiot of a salesman calling again?
6. (used to indicate specific identity or a particular item within a category): the city of Chicago; thoughts of love.
7. (used to indicate possession, connection, or association): the king of France; the property of the church.
8. (used to indicate inclusion in a number, class, or whole): one of us.
9. (used to indicate the objective relation, the object of the action noted by the preceding noun or the application of a verb or adjective): the ringing of bells; He writes her of home; I’m tired of working.
10. (used to indicate reference or respect): There is talk of peace.
11. (used to indicate qualities or attributes): an ambassador of remarkable tact.
12. (used to indicate a specified time): They arrived of an evening.
13. Chiefly Northern U.S. before the hour of; until: twenty minutes of five.

Now, in the following sentence:

I wish they would of told us.

Please tell me which one of the definition above OF meets?

Here, let me help you…


The proper way to write this sentence is:

I wish they would have told us.

I blame this particular grammar mutation on the internet mostly, casual writing in general, and on the school systems no longer teaching people how to diagram sentences.

Yes, I realize when lazy people speak we say, “I wish they woulda told us.” But just because we pronounce things quirkily (no, that’s not a word – it’s a michy-ism), that doesn’t mean that we lower our standards of writing and start using words improperly.

I know, this sounds more like a rant than an editing tip, and for that, I apologize. I’ll blame it on the pain meds and levaquin I’m currently taking, but I was perusing some online content today, stuff that was supposed to be professional, and I found “would of”, “could of”, and “should of” all over the content!

Oh, well. At least I and my readers will know better, right?

Happy editing!

Love and stuff,