Monday, June 7, 2010

Today's Writing Tip: Could of, Should of, Would of

I grew up in Northern New Jersey and many people, myself included, would often say, "I could of gone to that movie but I decided to go shopping instead." Well, what we should have done was stay home to study! Because "could of" should be replaced by "could have."

"I could have gone to that movie. I should have gone to that movie. I would have gone to that movie if I hadn't been biologically compelled to go to Bloomingdale's."

Whatever you say can be much more casual than what you write, except if you're a public speaker. In that case, you want to be just as careful when you're speaking as when you're writing. Meanwhile, remember that "could of" is improper usage.

*This article was reprinted from

Sigrid Macdonald is a book coach, a manuscript evaluator, and the author of three books, including Be Your Own Editor, now available on (Paperback) and (Kindle).

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