4 thoughts on “Linguistic pet peeve

  1. Those who say ‘would of’ are merely using the contracted version of would have being: would’ve (`wood-uv) and because the word of is often spoken like (`uv) this is where the problem is in my opinion. Often people neglect to understand the spelling of the words they are saying. However, only with spelling can we understand how the word is to be spoken. Essentially we are forced to come back to laziness as the root cause of this linguistic malpractice. I am sure this would apply to other similar mispronunciations as well.

  2. “Essentially we are forced to come back to laziness as the root cause of this linguistic malpractice.”

    It’s neither “laziness” nor “malpractice” nor a “mispronunciation”; this is how languages evolve in practice. Language evolution is a good thing: it makes sure that languages stay adapted to the needs of their users.

  3. Sure, I totally agree with the principle that language should not stagnate due to clinging too much to a rigid structure of rules without any chance of evolution.

    But at the same time there’s also a trend in English, mostly on the American side as far as I can tell, that seems to stem from a practice of either not caring or laziness. In that aspect I agree with sholsinger above. “Would of” comes from the same line as all the “your” instead of “you’re” and “their” instead of “they’re” mistakes. And I think it will only get worse when people start getting more and more lazy by using chat lingo all around. Perhaps it is due to my interest in too many languages, but I’ve become quite conscious about what I write and, sure enough, I know I will make mistakes nonetheless. I am sure my writing is a mixture of UK English and US English (s versus z, anyone).

  4. I hear “would of” or “would’ve” used incorrectly all the time. Actually heard it used incorrectly by a reporter on NPR just the other day. The problem is not with the contraction. Whether it’s would’ve or would of, the problem is that people are using it where they should use the past perfect (had).

    Example:

    If I would of put gas in my car sooner, I wouldn’t of run out.

    Correct:

    If I HAD put gas in my car sooner, I wouldn’t have run out.

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