I recommend that you read this post on Elaine’s blog. I only caught up with it today and I agree with what she says about the use of ‘like’. It got me thinking about other words that are frequently wrongly used. My current pet hate is seeing ‘of” when it should be ‘have’. I often need to read a sentence twice in order to make sense of it because ‘of’ has been substituted for ‘have’.
I’ll give the errant users the benefit of the doubt and assume that the cause of this incorrect use of the preposition is down to the accoustic properties of our language because I don’t want to believe that there might be school teachers out there who don’t know how to write what they speak and therefore fail to correct pupils who do the same. Computer spell-check software won’t highlight the problem even if there’s a spelling error and whereas the MS Word grammar-check software will indicate that ‘of’ with ‘should’, ‘would’ or ‘could’ ought to be replaced by ‘have’, many users remain completely oblivious to the error. Mobile phones work on the same basis and text-speak must take some of the blame for a lowering of standards in written grammar and spelling.
Her Majesty’s Civil Service has succumbed to word sloppiness these days too and where once upon a few decades ago a draft letter could not be sent to the typing pool without it being checked beforehand by someone of a higher grade for possible errors in grammar, spelling, and relevant content, now we can all send emails, texts and traditional letters without a manager ever being aware of our grammatical skills or the lack thereof. Grammar, spelling, and content checking have all disappeared in the name of ‘lean’ and so-called progress. If only ‘should of’, ‘would of’ and ‘could of’ were to disappear likewise – that to me would be progress indeed.