should of knew/might of went/would of went

Qomi

Senior Member
Turkland/Turkish
Hi! These expressions are taken from "Of Mice and Men". I couldn't understand the grammatical point of these sentences. I mean using modal and the past form of the verb simultaneously. How does this usage effect the meaning and when do we use such expressions? Thanks in advance.

George looked coldly at him. "Ain't you got any idear?" he asked. And Candy was silent. "I should of knew", George said hopelessly. "I guess maybe way back in my head I did."

Slim sighed. "Well, I guess we got to get him. Where you think he might of went?
It seemed to take George some time to free his words. "He -would of went south," he said. "We come from north so he would of went south."
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    There are two grammatical errors here, both of which can be found occasionally in uneducated speech:

    1. The simple past form for the past participle of some verbs, in this case knew for known and went for gone.
    2. Should of and would of for should have and would have.

    These are low-register forms of I should have known, and He would have gone.
     

    pismo

    Senior Member
    English -- USA
    These are all examples of a common grammatical error, substituting "of" for the correct word "have," because in rapid speech, they sound very close to each other.

    Steinbeck, of course, used them on purpose to convey the educational/social level if his characters. :)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    They represent a speaking style of a not particularly educated man. Did you notice "Ain't you got any idear?"

    "Might of went" is nonstandard English for "Might've gone", the contraction of "might have gone". "Would of went" is nonstandard for "Would've gone", the contraction of "might have gone".
     

    teksch

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Hi! These expressions are taken from "Of Mice and Men". I couldn't understand the grammatical point of these sentences. I mean using modal and the past form of the verb simultaneously. How does this usage effect the meaning and when do we use such expressions? Thanks in advance.

    When reading this novel, remember that the author was trying to emulate the speech of the characters. Steinbeck wrote this novel in 1937. The characters were uneducated people in the western United States. It is the job of the author to portray the scene as it would have happened and this type of writing is what Steinbeck was very good at doing.

    You should not use the terms as they were written but you should be able to understand them.
     
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