Being precise is an essential skill for a writer: using the right word in the right place makes all the difference.
One set of words which are often used inappropriately are these five auxiliary verbs, each of which add an extra dimension to a verb:
Another trap is to follow one of these auxiliary verbs with ‘of’ instead of ‘have’. In speech, have is often contracted to ‘ve which sounds just like of.
Of course, if you are writing dialogue, your character can make the ‘of’ mistake – and it will show the reader that the character is not too hot on grammar. Outside of dialogue, this is one mistake that shouldn’t happen …