Grammar 101

Many people seem to think that blogs do not need to have proper grammar, so long as the core message gets across to the reader. I beg to differ. Blogs should be held up to the same kinds of standards as print media if they hope to get the same kind of respect from their readers. This is why you need good grammar and this is why I’m trying to do my small part with this Grammar 101 series of blog posts.

For today’s post, we take a look at a suggestion from Sydney Arnold. It’s a very common error and one that you should not overlook.

Do you know the difference between should of and should have? Do you know which one is correct?

Well, I’ll make it easy for you: Should of is wrong. It is always should have and the same applies to similar constructions like could have and would have. They are not could of and would of. The of/have confusion is much like the confusion that some people have with then and than. It’s because these pairs of words sound similar when spoken; it can become challenging to differentiate between them when writing them.

Try saying should’ve out loud. That can sound a lot like should of, but that would be wrong. It can either be should have or should’ve, but never should of. This is an easier distinction than affect/effect, since there is only one right answer.

Correct: “I should have gone when I had the chance.”

Incorrect: “I should of gone when I had the chance.”

Correct: “He would have ordered a drink, but he was sick.”

Incorrect: “He would of ordered a drink, but he was sick.”

Do you have a suggestion for a future Grammar 101 post? Share it with me via Twitter or through the comment form below.