Should Have or Should Of?

It sounds as if you’re saying “should of” or “shoulda” and “must of” or “musta,” but these words are really contractions.

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

"Should Have" or "Should Of"

People often ask why others write “should of” instead of “should have,” “could of” instead of “could’ve,” and “must of” instead of “must have.”

Why Do People Say “Should Of”?

When you’re talking, it sounds as if you’re saying “I should of called my sister” or “I shoulda called my sister,” and “I must of forgotten her phone number” or “I musta left my phone at home. 

It sounds as if you’re saying “should of” or “shoulda” and “must of” or “musta,” but these words are really contractions:

  • should’ve for should have
  • must’ve for must have
  • could’ve for could have

Remember that these words aren’t spelled the way they sound. You might say, “shoulda, coulda, woulda,” but you should spell them should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve.

should of or should have

Image via Notestragram. 

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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