Absolutely wonderful way of breaking it down, Whisper. This was one of the few grammatical points I could never get a finger on and was never sure which was which, until now. Thank you for a job very well done.
Students would remember the grammar advice you give in this essay better than any chapter from any composition book I've read. Too bad I can't use it in the classroom.
There's fun book about writing called "Sin & Syntax," but it's PG-13.
I'm not sticky about grammar, but I usually do offer instruction on it's vs. its. It's as common as any grammar mistake. (I tried sexing up writing advice in my own "Grammtical Erotica" essay.
You found an entertaining way to say it. I really liked the article and I know I make a mistake with this one from time to time, mostly through my own inattention to detail.
Thank's for writting this. I'm usualy pretty good about this sort of thing but its it's has always confused me.
I was working on my latest chapter and used these rules before I read this, but I wasn't entirely sure. Now I am glad I know I did it right.
Unless, of course, I missed some. :)
I hate to add anything at all, for fear of (a) re-introducing some confusion, and (b) not being nearly as entertaining.
But just a very small caveat. The apostrophe doesn't ALWAYS go at the end of the word for a plural possessive. This exception usually involves a word that changes form to become plural, rather than just adding an "s." For example, child to children, woman to women. In these situations, the addition of the "s" is only part of signalling the possessive, not part of signalling the plural, so you get "the children's playroom," "the women's meeting," "the men's room," etc.
Since this isn't directly relevant to "its" and "it's," if you find this confusing, just forget I said anything at all!
It's hard to tell if Its has zits
whether it should be Its' Zits
or Its's Zits.
And, of course, if Its lives in San Francisco and
wants ice cream sandwiches from the It's-It company
(http://www.itsiticecream.com/), does that become
Its' It's-Its, or Its's It's-Its?
Inquiring minds want to know...
This is so handy. I will remember the story you told about the apostrophe always! Thank you for writing this!
Thanks for making it clear and simple. Most people are functionally illiterate.
It's evident that too many authors haven't taken the time to read these How To essays. I enjoyed this one and its sage advice.
I suspect most people reading this are the ones who already know, but I commend your efforts. I imagine Apostrophe to be a woman though :) partly because she multi-tasks and partly because in Classical mythology it's Greek women's names that end in 'e': Aphrodite, Hermione, Circe, Tyche etc. etc. Speaking of which, you didn't mention plurals without an s such as 'women' and 'children' where the possessive apostrophe comes back to its usual spot before the 's'. And as delightful as your story is, it doesn't explain that essentially the lack of an apostrophe in possessive 'its' is an anomaly; after all, we say 'John's cock' and no one thinks we are saying 'John is cock'...!
Really good one, I knew the usage, but the evolution was really worth knowing, now I don't have to remember it in a monotonous fashion.
I always remember that "its" with no apostrophe is possessive because in grade school I was told that in that case it works like other possessives:
It would be silly to put apostrophes in any of those (not that it stops people...)
I love the story-telling lesson you used. I imagine that an entire book on grammar and punctuation in this style would be a fun read.
SQUISH is not a word in English
Yet again another great lesson!
What about Its' ?
If my public school teacher had taught me with these examples I would have made straight A's in English.
Seriously, thank you for the information you have provided. It really helps. Help's? Helps'? Helpeses?
This is what I thought, but I still screw it up, and Microsoft Word Grammer checker doesn't have clue! It's fucked up too.
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