Could of

I see this one all the time. “Could of … might of … should of” “I could of been a contender!”

I can only guess that this arises because the writers perpetrators haven’t spent much of their lives doing any reading at all. Yes, I realise it sounds like “could of” to your ear, but what it is is an abbreviated form of “could have”“could’ve.” Now, your curmudgeonly scribe here isn’t particularly enamoured with the spoken form of “could’ve” in the first instance, but trust me when I tell you that the majority of CV readers who are even remotely literate hate this particular error in your writing.

Just look at it for a moment – could of – and explain to me how that combination of words makes any sense at all.

This one also crops up among what I call ‘First Drafters’writers perpetrators who bang down whatever stream of consciousness pops into their head and then hit the ‘print’ or ‘send’ button without reading their efforts even once.

To the perpetrators of this particular atrocity, I have a suggestion – stop saying, “could’ve” in your daily speech. “Could have” is far more aurally pleasing and you will sound better-spoken. What are you saving with that abbreviation, maybe a quarter of a second? Exactly what do you intend doing with that saved time? Discovering a cure for cancer perhaps? Slow down a little and speak properly and then you might start to write properly. If you’re not sure about your past usage on this one, do a search within a few of your documents for the word “of” and see what precedes it.
Up with this I will not put!

Vizzini: “He didn’t fall? In-con-ceiv-able!”
Inigo: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”