Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"It's" and "Its"

Levels of Distractibility: Who cares? = *. Some people will be distracted from your meaning: = **. Many people will be distracted from your meaning: = ***.

Question: I'm totally confused. What's the difference between "it's" and "its"?

Answer: Congratulations! You have just identified the most frequent mistake in writing. The possessive pronouns are "his," "hers," "yours," and "its." Not an apostrophe among them. "The dog scratched the fleas buried under its coat."

"It's" is the contraction of "It is." "It's a great idea."

Easy to test: "He moved into the shadow to gain its protection." Substitute "it's." Fit? If not, then use "its."

Rating of Distractibility: ***. Lots of people make this mistake, but that doesn't make it correct. If it will help you to feel any better, there's a logical reason that people make the mistake. The singular possessive of regular nouns is signaled by the 's as in the dog's coat, the boy's baseball cap, etc. But the possessive PRONOUNS do not use an apostrophe. Hope this helps. RayS.

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