"I would of done that."

If you’ve ever studied a foreign language, then you know one of the hardest bits of grammar to grasp is pairing the right prepositions with the correct adjectives and verbs. If we think about the literal meaning of our preposition pairs, many of them actually seem quite arbitrary. In Spanish, one dreams “with” instead of dreaming “of/about.” When studying another language, we often have to just grit our teeth and memorize these pairings. In English, we tend to go by what sounds right, and we’re usually correct. Usually. Many writers, including myself, have to occasionally think twice about what preposition proceeds an adjective or verb.

While writers should aim to avoid all of these types errors, the worst offender is writing “of” instead of “have.” As in: “I would of done that.” Phonetically it sounds correct, but seeing it written makes me, along with many other readers, cringe. Thankfully, Microsoft Word tries to automatically change it back to “have,” but it’s something to look out for. One reference I like when I’m having a preposition mind-blank is : http://www.bedavaingilizce.com/prepositions/adj_pre.htm. It doesn’t have every combination out there, but it’s been a helpful guide when I can’t remember if something is beneficial “for” or “to.”