Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Its and it's

by Craig S Kaplan

Okay, look. I'm a grammar snob. If you want to be able to communicate with others, you need to wrap that communication up in an easily digested package. You need to pay considerable attention to the form and structure of what you're saying as well as the content. Careless use of language instills in the reader a lack of confidence in the writer. In the academic world, poor grammar is often a further impediment towards the understanding of already complex material.

One particular error that never ceases to make me cringe is the misuse of the words "it's" and "its". The distinction between "it's" and "its" was first conveyed to me with great intensity in the eighth grade, by the venerable Donna George at West Island College in Montreal. For years thereafter I suppressed my anger at the apostrophical affront, playing the stoic as best I could. But as I grow older and more curmudgeonly, and as the grammatical fibre of our society erodes, my tolerance for this typographical trespass trickles away.

Here, then, is my defiant outpost, my barricade against the teeming masses who would overrun the world with superfluous apostrophes (or, less often, withhold those apostrophes when they are so rightly required). Of course, I would rather build a classroom than a fortress, and so here follows a lesson in the correct usage of the words "it's" and "its". Be kind to your friend the apostrophe.

Read the article here.


Vincent said...

I seem to find more and more "it's" misuses every day and I use them to make a judgement about the writers, that they don't know and when they don't know they copy others indiscriminately and shamelessly.

I can imagine a time when the rules of grammar contained in the full article in your link will be considered old-fashioned. But I will still write correctly. And will respect those others who write correctly. So there is a point to doing it right.

scruffysmileyface said...

I'm starting to notice apostrophical errors on even the most official of signs and documents. Evidently gone are the days when it was right to be right.

Posts like yours lend hope, though, to those of us who remain steadfast in our grammatical stubbornness, so write on, oh great Grammaticus!