Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It’s versus its

I could go on about my disdain for the wrong use of “there,” “they’re,” and “their,” or “hear” and “here,” but what really drives me batshit crazy is the improper use of “its” and “it’s.” There is no reason that it’s confusing. Seriously. If you fuck this up regularly, there is something wrong with you, you had a shitty teacher in junior high, or you just don’t care, which is almost worse. Language is sacred to me. When you mangle “it,” you figuratively shit all over my Strunk & White with your grammatical apathy.

This is all you need to remember: if you can say “it is” instead of “it’s” and it sounds right, then you should use an apostrophe. “It’s” is a contraction and should ONLY ever be used that way.

For example:
It is raining men = It’s raining men = Perfectamundo.
The rain in Spain falls mainly on it’s plain = Just plain wrong.

If you need any further help remembering this, I can go Pavlov on your remedial English ass and inflict a little conditional response with my fist every time you bungle "its" usage. That should remedy the situation, don’t you think?

(Photo: horrormovies.org)

21 comments:

Andrea said...

Its and it's is annoying, but I think bungling your and you're is much worse. One shows ownership and one is a contraction! If I own it and you like my house, you tell me "I love your house," NOT "you're house!" GRR! I hate people who eff up the English language who don't have a legitimate excuse- like they're just learning.

Jennifer Worick said...

Well said, Andrea. "Your" point is well taken.

That Damn Monkey said...

Not to mention there and their. ...Oh, and those bloody Greencrocers' Apostrophes thrown randomly at any S in a sentence. It's not HARD, people!

KlevaBich said...

Oh yeah, all of those mistakes drive me nuts, but the it's/its debacle is the most prevalent and therefore the most annoying. I know some very intelligent and highly educated people who throw a damned apostrophe into the possessive every time and I want to SCREAM!!!

Eveline said...

The funny thing is, people who are just learning will try to avoid such mistakes in fear of being misunderstood. I'm Dutch living in the UK, and I hear all the time that 'my English is better than what people speak over here'. Native speakers tend to get lazy.

marybt said...

That doesn't drive me nearly as batshit crazy as when people get then and than confused. It's quite common.

tommy1414213 said...

Substituting "loose" for "lose" drive me nuts.

But, I've always wondered *why* we don't use an apostrophe for possessive pronouns. I think the seemingly arbitrariness is part of why people get it wrong.

tommy1414213 said...

Argh: "drives" me nuts.

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

I must have had a whole bunch of bad teachers....we were taught the apostrophe should be used also to show possession.
e.g. The snake shed it's skin.
I hope people don't think I'm a complete idiot, but it's how we were taught (back in the day) :)
Darla

Jennifer Worick said...

Wow, Darla, wow. And marybt, you remind me that I also despise the misuse of affect and effect. Then there's stationery and stationary, principal and principle. The list, like my heart, will go on.

Dancing Hula in the Sunset said...

don't even get me started on the whole "I" vs "me" thing.

"Joe and I are going Bigfoot Hunting tonight"

"While Bigfoot hunting, a Bigfoot walked into our camp and gave Joe and me a fright"

Chris said...

I hate this shit so bad I can't even SPEAK ABOUT IT, so it's a good thing I'm writing. Just seeing the TITLE of the post made my jaw clench. I don't fucking understand why it's so fucking hard for people to remember the possessive form of fucking its. WHY?!?! I mean, even serious writerly bloggers commit this SIN all the fucking time!

IT'S FUCKED!

Yet Another Steve said...

The Number One Rule of Punctuation: an apostrophe does not mean "Look out! Here comes an S!"

So how about those mailboxes that say "The Smith's"? Don't they just make you want to go ring the bell and ask if The Smith is at home?

Jennifer Worick said...

Yet Another Steve: Yes it does! Or it makes me want to ring the bell and leave a flaming bag of dog dung on the porch.

Michaela said...

Honest to God, last year a colleague would regularly sign-off: 'Your more then welcome.'
I had to wait to gain weight before an allowance would be made.

beatgoddess said...

Strunk & White forever!

Have you seen the Illustrated Elements of Style, by Maira Kalman?

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Illustrated-William-Strunk/dp/1594200696

IT'S the bomb.

beatgoddess said...

Strunk & White forever!

Have you seen the Illustrated Elements of Style, by Maira Kalman?

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Illustrated-William-Strunk/dp/1594200696

IT'S the bomb.

Jennifer Worick said...

beatgoddess: I have not seen this but I love it already.

tammiemarie said...

Loose instead of lose, seem instead of seam(on a sewing blog! not even kidding!) Spelling errors get to me more than the grammatical ones. Your blog cracks me up!

Karnak said...

My husband won't let me carry a Sharpie around in my purse anymore because he caught me correcting the grammar on a poster.

seamstobeyouandme said...

"suppose to" instead of "supposed to"

Carrying around a Sharpie is an EXCELLENT idea!

p.s. I have replaced "seems" for "seams" in MY blog's title, but it's a quilting blog so it's adorably cute and acceptable. ha.