Should have or Should of: how is it correct?

Should have, should've or should of

Rules for using “Should have” and “Should of”

In the English language, there are many constructions used in communication. One of these is the use of “should have” and “should of”. These two sound very similar, but they have completely different meanings. Let’s understand them so we don’t make mistakes.

Should have” is the correct grammatical construction used to express a recommendation or regret about something that has already happened. For example:

  • “I should have studied more for the exam” means the person regrets not studying more for the exam.

Should of” is a mistake that arises because in spoken English “have” can sound similar to “of”, especially when slurred and accounting for different dialects. However, it is incorrect. Let’s look in more detail at the use of “should have” and the mistakes made with “should of”.

The “Should Have” Construction

How it’s formed: The “should have” construction is formed with the auxiliary verb “should” and the main verb in the third form (past participle).

The “should have” construction is used to express actions that were desirable or expected in the past, but were not carried out. Here are some rules and examples of its use:

  1. Recommendation or advice in the past:
    • When you want to say it would have been better to do something else.
    • For example: “You should have brought an umbrella.”
  2. Expressing regret:
    • When you regret not doing something.
    • For example: “I should have been more careful.”
  3. Criticism or surprise:
    • When you express disagreement with actions that were taken.
    • For example: “He should have known better.”

How to use it in a statement:

  • “You should have called me!”

How to use it in a question:

  • “Should I have apologized?”

How to use it in a negation:

  • “You shouldn’t have lied.”

Examples of use:

  • Statement: “I should have studied harder.”
  • Question: “Should we have taken a different route?”
  • Negation: “He shouldn’t have been so rude.”

“Should” without “have” is used to express a recommendation or obligation in the present or future, not the past. For example:

  • “You should study for your exam.”

“Have” without “should” can be used to form the present perfect tense, which relates to actions that took place in the past but are relevant to the present. For example:

  • “I have finished my homework.”

Thus, “should have” is used for specific situations related to the past, and cannot be replaced by just “should” or “have” alone.

The “Should Of” Construction

Should of” is not an actual construction in English and should never be used. This mistake arises from the incorrect pronunciation and understanding of the contraction “should’ve”, which is a shortened form of “should have”.

For example:

  • Incorrect: I should of done it, but I didn’t.
  • Correct: “I should have done it, but I didn’t.”
  • Incorrect: If I had known, I should of done it.
  • Correct: “If I had known, I should have done it.”
  • Incorrect: She should of come
  • Correct: “She should have come.”

It’s worth noting that using “should of” is considered a serious mistake that makes the text incorrect and incomprehensible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!