Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's Confusing But It's Not That Hard

It seems churlish to leave comments about grammar on someone's blog.  I know how easy it is to write 'their" instead of 'there'   or even 'won' instead of 'one.'  It's not that I don't (do not) know, but my fingers hear what they want and I have to track down their mischief.  And spell check doesn't (does not) help.  So I'm doing it here. 

It would be nice if there was a homonym checker.  Every time you wrote a word with a common homonym - say, 'red' and 'read' - it would mark the term and give you options with definitions and even an example sentence.

But my focus today is on IT'S and ITS.   The blog post I read had the word spelled consistently incorrectly, so it wasn't (was not) simply a typo.

Ways to remember:

1.   The apostrophe (') takes the place of a missing letter.  OK, the first exception is when it's signifying a possessive, which happens here, BUT  in  IT'S it does signify a missing letter.

IT'S  =  IT IS   The missing letter is the I in I
(or IT HAS in which case the ' has to replace two letters)

2.  The three singular pronouns - he, she, and it -  when possessive, all end in S WITHOUT an apostrophe:


There are further complications, but you know you wouldn't write hi's, so you also shouldn't write it's for the possessive its. 

EXAMPLES:    The dog put the bone in its doghouse.

                           It's (It has) been chilly lately.  

If you think you've got it, here's (here is) a self correcting test of it's and its.


  1. I have written the very same kind of Reply to a grammar abuser (among many) on Immoral Minority re its and it's -- I thought I would be pilloried, but got half a dozen Replies applauding me and riding their own grammar mistake hobby horses. (The lack of commas & your and you're...)

    I have occasionally emailed Gryph to edit his headlines or his lack of hyphens which cause me to re-read a sentence three times to find its (!) meaning. He seems to take this in the spirit it was meant.

    If a blog is pointing out the stupidity of gun-toting, illiterate, ignorant mouth breathing racists, the blogger & his followers should at least appear more literate.

    It’s a thankless job, but some of us have to do it.

    1. I think this one is pretty tricky, because noun's become possessive with an apostrophe s. I've gotten much less anal about grammar. Sure, there are some situation where bad grammar/punctuation can change the meaning of the sentence. But most often it's like having a spot on your shirt for those who know their grammar. People would rather not look stupid if they can help it.

  2. Yes, texting & Tweeting have changing grammar, esp. hyphenating words and commas which take up time & character space.
    As the person who put up a 2-foot-high printed message on the side of a Las Vegas parking lot wall -- O WELL.


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