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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Its vs it's

This week I’m talking about Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss…today I thought I’d bring up its vs it’s which seems to give a lot of people trouble but it’s (it is) really quite simple. “The rule is: the word ‘it’s’ (with apostrophe) stands for ‘it is’ or ‘it has.” Otherwise, ‘its’ is required. For example:

Contractive ‘it’s’
It’s going to rain (it is going to rain)
It’s gotten very wet (it has gotten very wet)

Possessive ‘its’
Luxury at its finest (because you wouldn’t say luxury at it is finest)
Time is nearing its end (again, you wouldn’t say time is nearing it is end)

Whose vs who’s and they’re vs their are follow a similar rule.

“If you can replace the word with ‘who is’ or ‘who has’ then the word is who’s:

Who’s that knocking on my door?

If you can replace the word with ‘they are’, then the word is they’re:

They’re not going to get away with this.”

Same with there’s – there is – and you’re – you are.

Got it? Good.

Now for your challenge. Try to come up with as many phrases using ‘its’ as you can.

*Yesterday's Punctuation Riddle:  Why did all the people stay away from the Giant Kid’s Playground?
Answer: Because they were scared of the giant kid!


Liz A. said...

I learned the replace it's with it is thing in the 10th grade, and I've used it ever since. (For all of those contractions.) It only fails me when I'm not paying close enough attention.

Huntress said...

I've seen more problems with "your" vs "you're". Or maybe Word program is better at catching it.

Good thing giant kid isn't playing on the normal-sized teeter totter. Or slide.