couldn’t of

 " ‘Couldn’t of got it without you, Pops,’ Parker said.. ." (New Yorker). As a shortened form of "couldn’t have," couldn’t of does unquestionably avoid the clumsy double contraction couldn’t’ve, a form not often seen in print since J. D. Salinger stopped writing. However, I would submit that that does not make it satisfactory. Using the preposition of as a surrogate for ’ve seems to me simply to be swapping an ungainly form for an illiterate one. If couldn’t’ve is too painful to use, I would suggest simply writing couldn’t have and allowing the reader’s imagination to supply the appropriate inflection.

Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • couldn't of —     Couldn t of got it without you, Pops/ Parker said (New Yorker). As a shortened form of couldn t have, couldrit of does unquestionably avoid the clumsy double contraction couldntve, a form not often seen in print since J. D. Salinger stopped… …   Dictionary of troublesome word

  • couldn't — by 1670s, contraction of COULD (Cf. could) + NOT (Cf. not) …   Etymology dictionary

  • couldn't — (could not) v. used to express the fact that one is unable or unwilling to do something; used to express the impossibility of an occurrence …   English contemporary dictionary

  • couldn't — ► CONTRACTION ▪ could not …   English terms dictionary

  • couldn't — [kood′ nt] contraction could not …   English World dictionary

  • COULDN'T — contr. could not. * * * /ˈkʊdn̩t/ used as a contraction of could not I tried but I couldn t do it. couldn t care less see ↑care, 2 …   Useful english dictionary

  • couldn't — [[t]k ʊd(ə)nt[/t]] Couldn t is the usual spoken form of could not …   English dictionary

  • couldn't — [ˈkʊd(ə)nt] short form the usual way of saying or writing ‘could not . This is not often used in formal writing I couldn t go to her party.[/ex] …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • couldn't — Date: 1646 could not …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • couldn't — /kood nt/ contraction of could not. Usage. See care, contraction. * * * …   Universalium

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