(Also submitted to Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday.)
“I” is for “Its”
I recently learned that I seem to be suffering from a terrible illness: Punctuational snobbery.
You see, years ago I learned – (I’m not sure how I learned it, but I learned it) – when to use “its” and when to use “it’s.”
So now whenever I see the writing of someone who is still in the dark its-wise, who obviously has no idea when “its” is right and “it’s” is wrong, I’m embarrassed to find that I sort of look down on that unfortunate character, as I would if at an elegant dinner party he was a guy who ate peas with a spoon.
After all, a person can be a fine, upstanding individual, a credit to his community, kind to his mother and good to his dad, and still not grasp the grammatical niceties. So smug punctuational snobs have no right to look down on him.
Somehow, however, even if only a tiny bit, we do. It’s – (there, I just used it) – it’s as though we want to whisper to him: “The fork, buddy, use the fork for peas.”
But you can get the thing right with ease, because the rule is easy:
You use an apostrophe with “it’s” when it is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.” Examples: “It’s a nice day” or “It’s been great getting to know you.”
Otherwise, run with an omission of the apostrophe and write “its”; you can’t go too far wrong.
Punctuation shouldn’t be all-important; there should be no punctuational snobbery, discrimination of a person because he/she is a bit -- punctuationally backward, shall we say? :-)
It’s – (that thing again) – it’s as though we look down on a person at a job interview because he shows up wearing socks of different colors. Shouldn’t really matter, after all.
You know the famous panda story, the one about the murderous gun-toting panda? Seems a wildlife book had described the panda as a “large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.” Just a misplaced comma, but it turned the peaceful panda into a wild gunslinger.
As you may be aware, Lynne Truss wrote a book about him, a book subtitled “the zero-tolerance approach to punctuation,” and it was a huge best-seller.
It’s – (there it is again) – it’s a fact that for a while she made punctuation popular. :-)
1 year ago