Now it’s perfectly okay for [tag]Marlon Brando[/tag] to bemoan that he “coulda been a contender.”Â People (some, a lot sometimes) speak that way, and that was a line inÂ a screenplay.Â Verisimiltude counts.
However, the construction could of, which some/many native users of English think is the correct verb form for could have, needs to be banished forever and corrected immediately.Â I don’t care how much “I could’ve been somebody” sounds like “I could of been somebody,” folks, that’s just bad English.
Speaking-wise, who cares?Â But when this usage starts popping up (alongside other abominations like thru) in college-level writing, the alarm clocks should be going off.
Is anybody teaching proper English usage in the lower twelve grades?Â Put another way, is anyone paying attention to what’s being taught?Â I’d have to sit through several K-12 classes to get a good read, but I bet most instruction never gets much past, “Never start a sentence with because,” which of course isn’t even a rule in English.
I think I just answered my own questions.