Could of and Could have are two words used in English language that have to be understood with difference. They certainly show differences between them. Could of is a wrong form of could have. This is the only difference between the two terms namely could have and could of. In other words, it can be said that there is not form called ‘could of’. It is nothing but an impure form of the word ‘could have’ when it is not pronounced properly. This is the only difference. Otherwise there is no such word at all for that matter.
On the other hand, the word ‘could have’ indicates the capability of the person or the thing indicated in the sentence. Observe the two sentences,
1. He could have passed the examination in the first attempt itself.
2. Francis could have easily won the match.
In both the sentences, you can find that the word ‘could have’ is used in the sense of possibility or probability. In the first sentence, you will get the idea that ‘he had the ability to pass the examination in the first attempt itself’, and in the second sentence, you will get the idea that ‘Francis has the ability to easily win the match’. This is an important observation to make when it comes to the usage of the word ‘could have’.
- Could of is a wrong form of could have, and there is no such word as “could of” in proper English.
- Could have indicates the capability of the person or thing indicated in the sentence, and is used in the sense of possibility or probability.
- Could of is generally heard in spoken English, as it is wrongly pronounced, but is never found in written English, as the original form is “could have”.