When Chelsea beat Barcelona to go through to the final of the Champions League, a friend of mine posted a status on Facebook about how he was delighted that John Terry would be suspended for the showpiece in Munich. A friend of his (a Manchester United fan) commented on it and the thread developed into the following:
Anon: ‘Viva John terry, viva John terry, could of won the cup, but he fucked it up, viva John terry!’
Not one to ignore a grammatical abomination, I thought I’d contribute.
Me: ‘*have. But yes, that was a ridiculous decision on his part. What an idiot.’
Anon: ‘When from Manchester it always pronounced of I’m afraid.’
Me: ‘When from Planet Earth, it’s never spelt like that.’
Anon: ‘Ok sorry, I will be sure to spell check and grammar check all chants sung in the stretford end in future and inform all the supporters they are chanting using incorrect grammar and spelling.’
At this point, a third commenter joined the party (which ended after his comment).
Third commenter: ‘Unless they’re chanting by typing it onto a a big scrolling billboard, I don’t think there’s much need for that.’
(Let’s ignore the fact that ‘Anon.’ appears to be unable to grasp the difference between speaking and writing)
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen ‘of’ being used instead of ‘have’. IT’S WRONG! I would love to go back in time, find out who first did this and smack him/her in the face. I can understand that ‘could’ve’ and ‘could of’ sound similar but why replace ‘have’ with a different word entirely? The same goes for ‘would’ve’, ‘should’ve’, ‘must’ve’ and even ‘may have’. It makes my heart bleed.
I remember pointing a similar mistake out on another friend’s Facebook status and she responded with an angry ‘Don’t correct my Geordie dialect!’
Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that Geordie speak is a language in its own right. I’ve lived in the North-East for long enough to understand this. It’s hilarious. Other regions of the country may have their own auxiliary languages but I’m confident that in no versions of any of these is the use of ‘of’ instead of ‘have’ in the aforementioned expressions allowed.
I only tend to see this on Facebook and a lot of people tell me to relax because ‘it’s just Facebook’. No. I refuse to relax because it’s just Facebook. Why drop standards just because it’s not a professional or academic document? If you know it’s wrong, why not correct yourself? Maybe you don’t know it’s wrong. But you do now, right? What will the English language turn into in the coming generations if this continues? I’m all for linguistic evolution but not a form of it that incorporates mistakes just because people can’t be bothered to correct them. It’s more difficult to get this wrong so do yourselves a favour and get it right.
Some of you may say I should just stop using Facebook if it annoys me that much.
Never gonna happen.