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Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda · 17 July 2021


Shoulda, woulda, and coulda are not in the dictionary, but they oughta be.


I am glad that I am not the dictionary police. After all, the keepers of the lexicon of the English language surely have their hands full. Just thinking about the different technology words that have come to be in the last twenty or thirty years is mindboggling. Modem, wifi, bitcoin, and a whole host of other words that I cannot even think of because they are just part of everyday language now. I know not all of those words make it into the dictionary, but many of them do. Like I said, I am just glad I am not the dictionary police.


Just like any ruling body, the keepers of the English language surely get criticized for what words actually do make the dictionary. Funner? Nobody even uses funner. At least nobody I know. Except when making fun of the word actually making it into the dictionary. “That was funner than…” Who even says that? Maybe a three year old learning the language. Sure it is cute then, but using funner as an adult? I cannot even imagine. (I do apologize to anybody who actually uses the word. But really. Funner?) Undoubtedly, the dictionary police receive many complaints about words that make or do not make the dictionary.


But back to shoulda, woulda, coulda.


I am sure shoulda, woulda, and coulda will never make the official English dictionary. But as a triplet, they certainly are an idiom.


“I really missed the boat on that one.”
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda.”

“Intel, Microsoft, Google, Facebook…”
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda.”

“I rue the day.”
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda.”


Now that I think about it, maybe the triplet is really one word. Shouldawouldacoulda. Maybe that should go in the dictionary as its own word. A word of missed opportunities. Or at least perceived missed opportunities. Shouldawouldacoulda.



I am sure nobody who edits dictionaries would ever consider such crazy notions as shouldawouldacoulda as one word or three. But that is not really my goal of writing about those words (or that word, if you will) in this blog post. I really do not care if those words make it. Even if they oughta.


In reality, I really did not have much to say. So I looked up essay topics. Really. (I cannot believe that there is even one website out there with essay topics, but there is. Then again, I cannot believe my website is still here. Then again…) Anyway. None of the topics called to me. So I just wanted to think about something else. Anything else besides college-entrance type essays. And then it came to me. I should just write about words. After all, I use words all the time.


Well, to make a short story a little longer (even though this is really the conclusion). I decided that I would just write about three words that should be in the dictionary. Maybe four (shoulda, woulda, coulda, oughta). Or maybe just two (shouldawouldacoulda, oughta). So if you are a keeper of the English language take note. Shoulda, woulda, and coulda oughta be in the dictionary.


‘Nuf said. (Probably more than enough.)

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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