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How did the use of “could of” and “should of” originate, and is it considered correct?

Recently, I tend to stumble a lot over the mistake that people write should of instead of should have:

I should of done that.

I am trying to understand what the cause of this confusion between have and of could be. As from a grammatical point of view, I could not think of anything more different than a verb and a preposition. And when I read it, it doesn't even sound the same to me.

So I wonder, is it a regional thing? That somewhere 'have' and 'of' are pronounced the same way? Or is it mostly a common mistake of non-native writers?

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, StoneyB, bib, Mahnax, tchrist Oct 13 '12 at 0:00

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The "origin" is a combination of imprecise hearing, poor understanding of grammar, and simple laziness of enunciation. No doubt it occurs everywhere English is spoken. Even the most careful speaker would see nothing wrong with saying, for example, "I should've spoken more clearly" in an informal context. He knows he said "'ve", but it's impossible for anyone else to distinguish that from "of" by sound alone. I consider this General Reference/Not Constructive. –  FumbleFingers Oct 12 '12 at 23:02
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Same as this question. –  StoneyB Oct 12 '12 at 23:31
    
I guess you should of used the search feature. OK, I'll see myself out now... –  Orion Oct 13 '12 at 0:02

1 Answer 1

Many people learn this "mistake" at birth onward. "Should've" becomes "should of" long before formal eduation. It's actually, specifically, a mistake of native writers.

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