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I'm just wondering. I'm talking to a (twenty-six-year-old) person who has
been using 'would of' for 'would've' and 'would have' all his life,
including in English essays and the likes, and no-one'ad ever commented on
it until the other day. (Apparently, he was in the top five of his English
class, presumably in year twelve.)

After trying to convince him that 'would of' made no sense (but not trying
to convince him that it's wrong), he was still insistent on the fact that
'would of' was entirely correct, which implies that /wUd@v/ is one word (my
personal belief, and hence 'would of' makes no sense to me, it being two).

The person in question is an Australian, if you're wondering. He has lived
in more than one state (although I don't know which ones), changing during
school.

So what, exactly, is the status of 'would of' and its friends? Would it
normally be considered right or wrong? and why?

Tristan