must of have??

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 13 01:12:26 UTC 2010

I agree with Charlie. It strikes me as a fairly ordinary BE/SE(?)
thang. What I actually hear in BE is "mussa" [m^s@], which my
intuition tells me was originally _must at _ from _must've_. Strangely,
for a lot of BE speakers, the ancient rule that took "master" to
[m&s@] still lives, even across a word boundary. The replacement of
"mister" [mIs.t@] by [mIs@] is commonplace.

"You joned wit' Hambone (Edgar [eg:@] McGrew, a "bad muthafukka" who
pretended that a performance of the hambone in his presence was
insulting)?! Damn, man! Yew _mussa_ have [h&@] done los' yo' min'!"

I've noticed that, nowadays, _is_ _ain't_ seem to have replaced _have_
_haven't_. I'm not really surprised, since I was already hearing the
former usage among the hoi polloi back in the '60's. BE changes from
the bottom up, from the country to the city, and from the South to the


On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 10:05 AM, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: must of have??
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Though the faulty-editing hypothesis is plausible, I gotta say:  The "must of have" (or "musta have") construction does not sound wholly bizarre to me.
> --Charlie
> ---- Original message ----
>>Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 09:51:29 -0500
>>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>)
>>Subject: Re: must of have??
>>At 3:25 AM -0500 1/12/10, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>>>I've seen "could/must have" and I've seen "could/must of"--I've even
>>>seen "could/must off". But I've never seen "must of have". Was this an
>>>accurate transcript or an editorial error resulting from trying to
>>>correct "must of"?
>>That's my take, an editing error.  The first version, I would guess,
>>had "must of", and in correcting it to "must have" the "of" was
>>inadvertently not removed. (And since these were oral remarks, the
>>problem was with the writer and subsequent error and not with
>>Paterson himself, if I'm right.) The repercussions are perhaps less
>>serious than those incurred by leaving the sponge in at the operation
>>site, but somewhat analogous.
>>>Paterson slams Reid comments
>>>>"I'm just saying that it's disturbing a lot of people *must of have*
>>>>seen this," Paterson continued during a question-and-answer period
>>>>after a speech to Family Planning Advocates. "It's a very intrusive
>>>>and kind of degrading remark, but it's one that was probably close to
>>>>a different kind of way of phrasing it which might have been acceptable."
>>>     VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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