Welcome to what might be the least amusingly digressive post to grace the digital pages of Cooking with Copy. We apologize in advance. (Perhaps, though, you’ve been waiting for a break from our rambling writings. In that case, you’re welcome.)
We could have made this a long post. You heard us correctly: could have. This brings us to this week’s lesson. We’re going to be quick and to-the-point here. We have sleeping and packing and readying for real life to do, so listen up:
You could HAVE done something. “Could have” is commonly abbreviated as “could’ve.” Now, many say and write “could of” thinking it means “could’ve,” presumably because they roll off the tongue quite similarly. However, as you’ll notice, “could of” doesn’t actually mean anything.
This is because “could” in this whole context acts as a helping verb, and so it needs another verb to help. “Have” is that other verb. “Of” is most certainly not a verb at all, so it is definitely not that other verb.
Think about it. “I could of eaten an 8th slice of pizza.” What?!
Truly, that does not make sense.
Could’ve ≠ Could + of. We know they sound the same… we know. But they are not the same.
Could’ve = could + HAVE. NOT OF, PEOPLE!
Same goes for should and would. Should HAVE, would HAVE. NOT should of/would of. Like “could of,” the latter mean nothing and are nonsensical.
Until next week, this is the Grammar Odd Couple signing off. Please see this video for the entertainment we failed to provide in this post. And good luck getting that song out of your head. “Help-a help-a help-a the kiiids…”