Monday, 14 May 2007

Grammar crammer: It's or its?

If this short entry will prevent one incorrect apostrophe from entering the world, then it will have done its job. Look at it as some kind of typographical birth control, if you like.

"It's" is ONLY EVER the contracted form of "it is" or "it has".

It's (it is) NEVER possessive (ref: "its job", above and "its box", below).

Whenever you find yourself writing "it's", and it does happen, just take a moment to think: 'Is this "it is" or "it has"?

If it's neither, leave the apostrophe in its box.

4 comments:

Simon Hilton said...

The best use of apostrophe: its' Frank Zappa is'nt it? Loved Kurt Vonnegut's cunning abuse of the semicolon in 'Man Without A Country', and am still wondering: exclamation mark or point?!
Maybe we should start a home for abused semicolons. In color. Prolly.

devolutionary said...

I was so impressed, I've stopped using semicolons; almost completely.

rockmother said...

Oh god - I feel sick - I had a scary mentally abusive grammar teacher at school and still have the fear when contemplating anything vaguely punctuational. You see - my coping mechanism is: write using lots of dashes and not alot else. Brilliant!

devolutionary said...

You know, the really embarrassing thing about this is that I published this post with a typo. An apostrophe. Just don't tell anyone.