Meaning of "you'd of thought"



I am reading The great Gatsby and there is one part that says:

I had a woman up here last week to look at my feet, and when she gave me the bill you'd of thought she had my appendicitis out.

I would like to know what does you'd of thought mean and also if the of is omitted the sentence would have the same meaning?

Victor Castillo Torres

Posted 2014-12-07T22:11:02.483

Reputation: 359

5It indicates a casual way of pronouncing you'd have thought = you would have thought. (Actually most people say you'da nowadays.) – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-12-07T22:23:58.747

2I would, only I'm working on another answer right now. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-12-07T22:29:36.587

1@StoneyB: "Most people" Maybe in your country, mate... – Lightness Races in Orbit – 2014-12-08T17:17:19.030



The pronunciation of the preposition of and the auxiliary verb have are identical in casual speech. We say them as: /əv/.

Basically, "you'd of thought" is a way to try and represent the sound of "you would have thought" in normal speech.

Hope this is helpful!

Araucaria - Not here any more.

Posted 2014-12-07T22:11:02.483

Reputation: 25 536

2Personally, I would pronounce "have" as /həv/ (/juːdhəv/ with no gap between the words) but the /h/ is so hard to distinguish that a lot of people nowadays think it is the word "of". "of" is grammatically incorrect but does represent how a lot of people say it. In writing "have" or "'ve" should always be used unless deliberately imitating how someone actually said it via a direct quotation. "I would've thought so" vs "She said 'I would of thought so'". You can even use [sic] to show that it comes from the source and is not your mistake: "She said 'I would of [sic] thought so'". – CJ Dennis – 2014-12-08T04:07:58.407

@CJDennis That's interesting! Usually, most (but not all) speakers use /həv/ at the beginning of an untterance: /həv ju ˈfɪnɪʃt/ - but just /əv/ if it's in the middle: /ðə ˈmen əv ˈfɪnɪʃt/ - and /hæv/ if it's the last word: /aɪ ˈdəʊnt ˈθɪŋk ðeɪ ˈhæv/. But the forms at the beginning and in the middle are less consistent than the strong forms at the end ... – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2014-12-08T13:23:20.320

There are many threads and questions on various English language sites discussing the issue. It happens a lot with would've, should've and could've. – TecBrat – 2014-12-08T16:13:08.110

I'm Australian. How we would say your second example would depend on whether we were saying "The men have finished" (/hæv/) or "The men've finished" (/əv/) (rare). We wouldn't say "The men 'ave finished" (/æv/) because we don't have h-dropping in Australian English. The /h/ is always present in the unabbreviated "have" although often very subtle. A lot of people say /wʊd.ɒv/ with a definite gap between the words instead of /wʊdəv/. "would have" -: "would've" -: "would of". This mistake is caused by the similarity in pronunciation between "have", "'ve" and "of": /hæv/ -: /əv/ -: /ɒv/. – CJ Dennis – 2014-12-09T01:30:22.277

@CJDennis I highly recommend to you the seminal book Accents of English, John Wells, CUP 1982. There's a lot on weak forms in there and strong coverage of Australian English :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2014-12-09T01:41:00.083


I'd've written it with double apostrophes...


Posted 2014-12-07T22:11:02.483

Reputation: 57


Welcome to ELL.SE. As with all StackExchange sites, answers are expected to provide an explanation, including examples and references as may be suitable. I encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for a better understanding of how this site works.

– choster – 2014-12-08T07:27:50.597


Actually, I think this does answer the question, albeit a little indirectly. BM is saying that you'd of thought is basically the equivalent of you'd've thought, and that you'd've could be regarded as a more accurate (and therefore preferred) spelling. That said, most answers here should probably should be a bit more substaiated than this one; for example, a link to this web page could bolster this answer.

– J.R. – 2014-12-08T10:44:19.993


If we're going to have it correct, then the answer is "none at all.." because the phrase is "you'd 've thought", & using "of" just isn't right. Sadly it's commonly used on the web, but is just as bad as the there/they're/their errors really.

Mark Williams

Posted 2014-12-07T22:11:02.483

Reputation: 748

How is "none at all" the answer to either "what does 'you'd of thought' mean?" or "if the 'of' is omitted the sentence would have the same meaning?"? While mentioning the grammatical error is important for a good answer, the question asks what the sentence means. It's quite clear that F. Scott Fitzgerald was capable of stringing together a grammatical sentence, so the implicit question is, why did he choose to write the sentence the way he did? – David Richerby – 2014-12-08T09:30:34.813

Yes,but what it means is, you wrote it wrong - as it stands it actually has no valid meaning. Was he (FSF) just being snarky? Or, more likely, did the typo get past the proofreader? – Mark Williams – 2014-12-08T09:48:55.057

I doubt is it's snarkiness or a careless proofreader; you'd of seems to have been the preferred spelling of this colloquial speech at the time. Ring Lardner and Sinclair Lewis used this spelling, it shows up in Elmer Rice's Pulitzer-winning script, and it's still used in some contemporary books. This is nowhere near as bad as a there/their error.

– J.R. – 2014-12-08T11:02:29.630

1@MarkWilliams Don't be ridiculous: of course it has valid meaning. The meaning is obviously the same as "you'd have thought". Fitzgerald was almost certainly using the spelling that mimics the speaker's pronunciation. You'll also notice that he has the speaker say "have my appendicitis out" when the correct term would be "appendix" (you remove the organ, not the disease). – David Richerby – 2014-12-08T11:50:30.830


@MarkWilliams Although the OP hasn't made it clear where this is direct speech or not, it looks like it to me and I think "of" has been used as a type of eye dialect to draw attention to the pronounciation.

– starsplusplus – 2014-12-08T12:43:27.763