Shoulda, woulda, coulda

Ready for your grammar lesson? Ok, you probably don’t really look forward to celebrating Grammar Day every year (March 4). So, let’s just focus on some troubling contractions. Here are a few, easy things you might want to remember.

Contractions can be confusing. Words like should’ve or could’ve only leave out a couple of letters actually, but sometimes do create a problem. Lesson number one — they are not short for “should of” or “could of.” The “ve” is short for “have.” It isn’t that you “should of” learned this in your grammar lesson, but rather that you “should have” learned it.

Ain’t that crazy about grammar? Some people insist that “ain’t” is indeed an acceptable word because it is, after all, in the dictionary. Somehow “ain’t” came out of “am not.” The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle referred to “ain’t” as a “slangy contraction.” Lesson number two — if you’re all about the slang, knock yourself out. However, if you’re trying to present a professional image, take the time to spell out “am not.” It’s just not that difficult.

Oh, and “it’s” is another one. Lesson number three — with an apostrophe, “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.” Without the apostrophe, “its” is possessive. When you’re trying to determine whether it’s correct, think about its use in a sentence.

Three is a lucky number so we’ll end our exciting grammar lessons here for now.

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