The Right Way to Spell Would of, Should of, and Could of—-
When people write would of, should of, could of, will of or might of, they are usually confusing the verb “have” with the preposition “of”. So “would of” is “would have,” “could of” is “could have”, “should of” is “should have”, “will of” is “will have,” and “might of” is “might have”:
I would of come earlier, but I got stuck at work.
He would have stayed if he’d known you were coming.
You should of called yesterday.
You should have finished your homework by now.
This common mistake is likely caused by the similar pronunciation of the words of and have, especially when have is contracted, as in should’ve. This mistake also happens with the negations of modal verbs:
Stella couldn’t of known she was going to win the lottery.
John couldn’t have come any earlier.
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