I’ll confess: I’m a bit of a Grammar Nazi. I try to keep my editorial urges in check so that I’m not perpetually obnoxious; however, the thing that always sends me over the edge is the misuse of its and it’s.
So, if this is a pair that tends to trip you up, let’s do a quick review:
Although the apostrophe makes it appear this is the possessive form, it’s not the case. It’s is the contraction of it is. Just as he’s is the contraction of he is.
It’s certainly easy to understand why it’s often mistakenly used as a possessive since many possessives are formed by adding an apostrophe + “s” to the end of a word, but it’s not a possessive.
Since the form that looks like it should be the possessive is not the possessive, it naturally follows that the form that doesn’t look possessive really is. Clear as mud, right?
Think of its possessive buddies his and hers — no apostrophes.
In conclusion, I’ll offer a second confession: while I’m pretty solid on most grammar and word usage, there are a few words and rules that send me running for the style book. Those will be covered in future posts.
What are your grammar ogres or pet peeves?