Should Of or Should Have?

"Should of" is always wrong.

Writing "should of" instead of "should've" or "should have" is a serious error. It is the same deal with "would of" and "could of."

If you write "should of," "would of," or "could of" even once, your credibility will take a dive. If you do it more than once, you're toast.

Click to hear the difference between "should of" and "should've":
would of, could of, and should of

More about Should Of, Would Of, and Could Of

"Should of," "would of," and "could of" are incorrect expansions of the contractions "should've," "would've," and "could've." This error occurs because "should've" sounds a bit like "should of," etc. Of course, the correct expansions are "should have," "would have," and "could have."

Examples of Should've, Would've, and Could've

Here are some examples with "should have" used correctly:
  • I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury. correct tick (Comedian Groucho Marx)
  • (The original had "should've.")
  • I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have. correct tick (Polymath Leonardo da Vinci)
  • (The original translation had "should have.")
Here are some wrong examples with "would of" and "could of":
  • Had I become a priest, the sermons would of been electric! wrong cross
  • I loved what I did. I could of been secretary of state forever. wrong cross

Is Should Of Always Wrong?

It is possible to write a correct sentence with "should of," but this is never an expansion of "should've." For example:
  • Should of be capitalized in a title?
  • (If you've found this page by asking this question, the answer is no under the title case style.)

Key Point

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.