June 15, 2005

It's Not Its Fault It's So Confusing !

June 15, 2005 Posted by Vijay 4 comments
Ever realised there are two distinct usages of the now common "its" that we use in our day to day conversations ? You probably do know it. The it's and the its .But we miss out the small details, owing to hurried or colloquial (yes that's the spelling,colloquial) usages. Now let's closely observe wherein lies the difference between it's and its. It's just an apostrophe but wrongly used could spell a catastrophe(kidding !!).

Before going into the details of its and it's lets find out about Possessive Nouns.Let's look at some examples.

One way in which English nouns indicate possession is by means of the ending 's
e.g. The boy's hat
Sally's bicycle

In the above examples, the ending 's indicates that the hat is possessed by the boy and, similarly, the bicycle is possessed by Sally.So, when we need to make a noun possessive, we generally add 's.Let us try to understand more from the following section.

Forming possessives of nouns

To see if you need to make a possessive, turn the phrase around and make it an "of the..." phrase. For example:

the boy's hat = the hat of the boy
three days' journey = journey of three days

If the noun after "of" is a building, an object, or a piece of furniture, then no apostrophe is needed!

room of the hotel = hotel room

door of the car = car door

leg of the table = table leg

Once you've determined whether you need to make a possessive, follow these rules to create one.

• add 's to the singular form of the word (even if it ends in -s):
the owner's car
James's hat

• add 's to the plural forms that do not end in -s:

the children's game
the geese's honking

• add ' to the end of plural nouns that end in -s:

houses' roofs
three friends' letters

• add 's to the end of compound words:

my brother-in-law's money
• add 's to the last noun to show joint possession of an object:

Todd and Anne's apartment

So, we can conclude that, for making a noun possessive we generally employ 's. But our point is to do with it's and its.This is an exception to the possessive apostrophe rule.For, here , its is the possessive form , while, "it's" is a conjunction between the words "it" and "is.".

Thus we might say "It's (it is) a nice day for sailing, but my boat has lost its (the boat's) rudder."

Refer the following links for more info :
http://www.word-detective.com/back-d.html
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/its.html
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/apostrophes1.html

Head Back Home

4 comments:

Aslan said...

Wow, where did you get Paul Brians's link from ;) I mean.. seriously, I know the guy. Googled and got his link (just like u also probly did) n' mailed him with a few doubts n' he replied!! So now he knows me- every time I have a doubt which isn't already listed on his page (wonderful one that), I Email him n' he replies. Superb!

Aslan said...

n' hey, nice post!! The first one I really liked! ;)

Nettie said...

I love this, reminds me of trying to learn Spanish, el perro de la mujera (the dog of the woman, not the woman's dog).

blog_reader said...

It's infact a good posting;)