coulda woulda shoulda

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 1 14:45:39 UTC 2013

"Would have" now appears to the be the conversationally preferred for
"had." I hear it constantly and, if you're talking about people under
forty, virtually without exception.

This has been increasing for years. In my own experience, perhaps thirty or

My SWAG is that it started partly as a phonetic misunderstanding: "If I'd
have..." > "If I would have." This then begins to replace "If I'd..."

But Arnold is undoubtedly the expert.


On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 9:28 AM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Re: coulda woulda shoulda
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I read the two as having two different meanings. The "would have" means
> the intended audience had the opportunity but didn't take it.
> Benjamin Barrett
> Seattle, WA
> On Mar 1, 2013, at 6:21 AM, David A. Daniel <dad at POKERWIZ.COM> wrote:
> > Has anyone else noticed increased use of the conditional where it doesn't
> > belong? I just saw this on, "Do you wish you would have learned
> > computer programming when you were younger?" Or am I just getting
> > oversensitive in my old age?
> > DAD
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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