My mother Peach went to a cocktail party the other night.
During our day after recap where I asked the pertinent questions (who was there, what did you wear, what did you eat, how were the littles, etc.), she added that she and our dear friend Robin discussed their particular pet peeves in regard to commonly made punctuation mistakes.
Being raised by Peach it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we love punctuation and grammar and share a loathing over the errors made with subjective versus objective pronouns (she and I, she and me, etc.). I’ve blogged about it here before.
The biggest offender for Robin (so it seemed) was the often improper usage of it’s versus its versus its’.
It’s for Robin that I write this post!
I’ve done some research and shamefully admit that I have allowed the computer to fix my itsisms without consistently checking their accuracy. I live a bloggers life, after all. Perfectionism gets trumped by time constraints. It’s sadly a part of the game.
This then shall also serve as today’s repentance. I love a good punctuation confession. I always feel relieved.
it’s – is a contraction. A contraction is the creation of a new word by combining two words to make one. The apostrophe takes the place of the missing letters. In it’s case, the two words could be it is or it was or it has. Contractions are fun and it takes no time to read a sentence back to yourself to know if you are using them properly.
its - is a possessive pronoun and unlike the contraction version, its is also little more confusing.
Possessive pronouns are usually created by adding apostrophes before an s to imply ownership.
Sophie’s friend C threw mulch down her jumper on Friday.
Grace’s friend K talked her into playing dead princesses on the playground today.
Mommy’s daughters are causing lines to appear on her face earlier than she had expected!
For its however, that sweet little floating hash mark disappears. It’s like a glitch in the rules. That poor apostrophe is all alone out there in the punctuation atmosphere (probably kicking itself, wishing it was a contraction).
Apparently some folks use its’, too, with the apostrophe at the end. This is just wrong so if you see it take note. Bad, bad, very bad and wrong.
For a writer or an educator bad punctuation and grammar are the stuff of nightmares. If mistakes have haunted your sleep, I do hope this little post helps.
For my Peach and our Robin, you two can sleep more soundly tonight knowing that I’m here on the case to remind the land of those rules so easily forgotten.
For you two, it’s my absolute pleasure!
The hub for all I do, marthawills.com documents life from a working mom's point of view. When not mothering, I manage the social media needs of small businesses through Wills Media Group, LLC, and write a weekly column for Raleigh's News & Observer online entitled, Are We There Yet? Most recently, my passion for health and wellness led me to become involved as a consultant for Beautycounter, a company that's making a difference by educating about toxins in products, spreading the word via the web.
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