Sunday, May 8, 2011
If you learn one correct English thingie today...
It's - not the possessive. It means it has, it was, it is - the apostrophe makes it a contraction, not a possessive. If you can break the word down into it has, it was, it is then you'll use this version.
Its - the possessive. If you are talking about something owning something, this is the version you'll want to use.
It's a lovely day! (It's can be broken down into "it is" or possibly "it was" here.)
That dog loves its penguin! (Its can't be broken down into it is or it was, and it is clearly about the lucky dog's bone!)
Okay, this one's a little trickier - It's obvious to see how much that dog loves its penguin!
It is obvious to see how much that dog loves the penguin it owns! Since the first one is the contraction and the second one is about the dog owning something, we can see which one we need to use here.
I'm sorry to be harping on about this, but it really is one of those things that makes me pause when I'm reading an article by a learned person and I see this kind of mistake. I'm not saying I judge their intelligence, but it jars me and takes me out of the moment and I have a little fit, then return to it. I know it's not the most important thing in the world - it's not solving world hunger or creating world peace or even throwing an awesome party - but I didn't spend five years of my life studying English in university to be okay with writing who instead of whom and accepting the wrong form of it's/its!
And before you go looking through every blog post to find where I've made mistakes, I remind you of two things - I'm okay with making mistakes and everyone does it and I have 1278 posts. I am constantly looking for my errors, so anyone who wants to scan all those posts and tell me where I've gone wrong will have my eternal thanks.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming....