Whatever happened to the past participle? I rarely hear it used properly anymore. I thought it was just a Connecticut “thing” or that it belonged to the generation who began their sentences with “me” or “him” or “her”. That is, until I heard a prominent news reader make the gaffe when he exclaimed that Obama “shouldn’ta ran” for a second term. I whirled around in disbelief, then back spaced in my brain and inserted ”shouldn’t have run” before I could attend to what he was actually saying. Before I go on, I confess that this is an affliction of my own. Grammar that is obviously wrong distracts me enough that I miss what is being said. I can’t seem to get back on track until I have made it right. My mother always corrected my grammar during my most passionate storytelling ,often leaving me to wonder if she was even listening to the content of my orations. In keeping with tradition, I have done this to my own kids to ensure it becomes part of their genetic heritage. (I have learned the hard way that correcting another’s grammar is seldom appreciated and only works on family members.) But, I digress.
I hear it every day: shoulda knew, coulda wrote, musta went, I’ve drank, etc. etc. It hurts my ears. It influences my impression of the abuser.
I predict that the English language will become one of the easiest languages to learn instead of the most difficult. In time, Twitter and other abbreviated texts will leave future generations unaware of the beauty of a well chosen word.