Using Have and Of Correctly

REMEMBER:

GREEN for RIGHT
RED for WRONG

WHY IS THERE A PROBLEM?

There is a tendency to use the word of – which is a PREPOSITION – in a COMPOUND VERB when supported by should, could, would, may, might, etc., instead of the word have. (A PREPOSITION is a word which generally comes before either a NOUN or PRONOUN in order to relate that NOUN / PRONOUN to another word.)

EXAMPLE:

I should of won the race.

should be

I should have won the race. (I should‘ve won the race.)

EXPLANATION OF RULE:

(using should and have to illustrate)

The problem arises when the two words should & have are joined together and made into one word with an apostrophe. So, should have becomes should‘ve. When forming the COMPOUND VERB, the letters ve actually sound like of. Therein lies the problem – soundalikes!

USAGE:

We could of gone home with them.
We could‘ve gone home with them.

I should of scored at least three goals.
I should‘ve scored at least three goals.

Pat wouldn’t of written that note.
Pat wouldn’t have written that note.

Katie might of come with us if she had known about the trip.
Katie might‘ve come with us if she had known about the trip.

Derek should of arrived home by now.
Derek should‘ve arrived home by now.

QUICK REVISION:

of only becomes a problem when it is incorrectly used instead of have in a COMPOUND VERB

of is a PREPOSITION and should have nothing to do with COMPOUND VERBS

Typical examples of using of correctly are:

a litre of milk
a smell of smoke
two of a kind
the cover of the book
25% of the population
all of them
capital city of Ireland
five years of age
out of the box
a friend of mine

TEST:

Write have / ‘ve / or of in the following sentences;

1. I should ______ gone to school.
2. My cousin should _______gone too.
3. He must _______ reached the summit before me.
4. Martin wouldn’t ______ saved that shot.
5. Deirdre would ________ won the race.
6. Terry might _______ sung the first song.
7. I would ______ been delighted as well.
8. He definitely should______ spent some of his money.
9. Could he _____ avoided meeting her?
10. At least three ____ the five substitutes could ____ played from the start.

ANSWERS:

1 to 9: have or ‘ve , 10. of & have / ‘ve

KEY ELEMENT OF LESSON:

of is a PREPOSITION & have is a VERB

have is used to form a COMPOUND VERB with would, could, should, must, etc.

A COMPOUND VERB is made up of two VERBS, not a VERB and a PREPOSITION.

HIT SONG:

The Glaswegian singer, Jim Diamond, had a 1984 No. 1 hit with the song I Should Have Known Better. At times, it sounds as if he’s singing I shoulda known better. (Perfectly acceptable in a song, I hear you say!) We should be grateful that he’s not singing I should of known better. But Jim would have known better. Give me shoulda any day!

DON’T FORGET:

I should have won the race.

or

I should‘ve won the race.


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