Tag Archives: common mistakes

I Can’t Stand “ITS” Any More…

…so I’m speaking out.

If you mean “it is,” the contraction is it’s.
If you mean “something belongs to it,” the possessive is its.

If it’s plural, there is NO apostrophe before the “s.”  Example:  car (one) ;  cars (more than one);  car’s is an incorrect pluralization…that would be possessive, as in car’s engine.

IT’S not difficult, people.

IT’S wrong in newspapers, on billboards, in advertisements, on and on, ad nauseam.  It seems as if NO ONE knows which one to use, including (but not limited to) editors, publishers, book agents, authors, blog writers, teachers, and most of the English-writing human race.

To make matters worse, the mistakes cited above are not the only common mistakes that have sneaked (not snuck) into our collective writings. The list is abominably long. As a proofreader and former editor, as well as a currently-published author…

Today I will take red pencil in hand and correct our local newspaper. I will forward it to the editor, along with my business card and an offer to work with them as a consultant…a well-compensated consultant.  I fully expect profound silence in response. My efforts will, in all likelihood, be in vain. But, at least I will have taken a stand.

While writing this, a memory started nagging the back of my brain.  Once upon a time, there was an organization based in the UK called SPAM…Society for the Prevention of Apostrophe Misuse. I Googled it, and apparently it’s now defunct.  I saw many mentions of the group, but no discussions that were dated more currently than 2009.  What a shame.  Perhaps I’ll start my own group…as soon as I can find an acronym that hasn’t already been used.  Stay tuned for further announcements.

If you are (correct contraction here would be you’re…not your) an author, blogger, writer, editor, agent, publisher, printer, or other entity that works with words on a daily basis, and you’re not sure of your proofreading skills, contact me. I can help. I’ve been doing this professionally for years. (Please note that I did NOT write year’s!)

If you are as bothered as I by abuse of the English language, please feel free to provide examples in the “Comments” section of this blog.

If you should happen to think of a possible acronym for an apostrophe-misuse group, please comment below.  All submissions will be read.  And corrected.

No apostrophes were abused or misused in the writing of this blog.  I do, however, plead guilty to an overuse of ellipses.  In my defense, it’s only for emphasis.


Filed under The Business of Writing