Oz--one f or two?

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 19 21:49:58 UTC 2009

The very first time I noticed it was when a nursing student in my math
class (this is back in 1994) turned in a note instead of a homework,
with the comment, "I _could off_ done it, but... ." It really doesn't
matter what the excuse was. She and her husband were later convicted of
fraud (stealing government checks in the nursing home they were
running--including post mortem--and fictitious billing). As far as I
know, no charges for fictitious idioms. And they did not appear to have
offed any of the patients.


Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> I saw plenty of "ofs" in this context when I was grading themes, but I doubt
> very much that I ever saw an "off."  Caution alone prevents me from swearing
> to it.
> JL
> On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 4:12 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>wrote:
>> Spotted in the commentary by an Australian reader of TPM:
>> "Thankfully we had travel insurance as there would have been no way we
>> _could of_ afforded treatment."
>> I used to think it was mostly the American privilege to write like this.
>> Now I've seen it in published or written sentences by people from the UK
>> (including Scotland), Ireland and Australia (no non-native speakers AFAIK).
>> These come in both "of" and "off" variants (no "ifs" so far). I suppose,
>> it's one of my pet peeves.
>>    VS-)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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