Category Archives: Modernisms (with Apologies)

It’s Have, Not Of


One of my pet hates in modern language uses (yes, there are many, sadly) is the incorrect use of the word “of” instead of the possessive or experiential “have“.

When I was a nipper (many moons ago now) I was flogged to within an inch of my life – metaphorically speaking – for writing things such as “he would’ve”, “she should’ve”, “they could’ve”.  “Young man”, I was told, “the words are “he would have“, “she should have“, “they could have“.  “Have”, you understand, not ‘ve”.

For many, the shortened versions have persisted but there are those who now join in the clamour to have the shortened versions untangled again.  ‘Hurrah’ I hear you exclaim!  Regrettably, in splitting the words into two the wrong word “of” has been applied to the sounded “‘ve” so that we now have “he would of”, “she would of”, “they should of”.

Ghastly, uggh!  Horrid. Wrong.

I’ll get down off my soapbox now and get me coat.