Saturday, November 11, 2017

Grammar Peeve

Even though I’m technically an English professor, I don’t get too worked up about grammar. I swear I don’t proofread emails people send me, and I’m prone to make my own typos and errors on the regular. I know grammar rules are arbitrary and indicative of power structures in our society that can be oppressive. I really don’t get hung up on them.

The little one that irks me is one I see ALL THE TIME from bloggers who are otherwise perfect in their proofreading. It seems to slip by everyone... but it drives me a little crazy when people who are professional bloggers screw it up. (We nonprofessional bloggers can do whatever the hell we want and get away with it.) These folks would never let a there/their/they’re error get past them, and yet this one slips right by.

It’s the its/it’s screw up. And autocorrect is no help here.

Quick recap: its without an apostrophe is a possessive. It is like his or hers. It is often used when describing a garment, so perhaps that’s why I notice this with fashion blogs a lot. “This sweater is great! It’s sleeves have an adorable bow at the cuff.” Or whatever. “I love this bag. It’s handles are the perfect length.” Noooooo! The sweater? Its sleeves have the bow. This bag? Its handles are perfect.

It’s (with the apostrophe) is a contraction for it is. The apostrophe does NOT make its possessive, just as you wouldn’t use an apostrophe in his, hers, or your. It’s a great day to blog about grammar! It’s a sure way to alienate and annoy your readers!

Your welcome.

I mean, you’re welcome.


  1. Lol. Even though I’m sure I make my own grammatical errors all the time, they irk me in writing that should have been edited.

  2. You're my favorite blogger, sweet, smart and funny. I'm definitely a grammar nerd (actually I think it's because I'm a little on the autism spectrum). I should have been a proofreader. Your blog brightens my day, thanks!

  3. I'm a snob, I'll admit (which is ridiculous because of course I still make mistakes). And while I have stopped correcting everyone on everything I see, "could of" is the one that irks me the most (lately). There/their/they're will get me pretty riled up too, especially if someone is using the wrong one multiple times in one sentence.

  4. Hahaha... I somehow got saddled with the reputation of Grammar Guru when I was working... people used to bring me stuff to proofread all the time, even from other departments. It made me nervous because, while I clearly did know more than a lot of people, I certainly did not and do not know everything. I cannot quote you chapter & verse from Strunk & White or whatever, but I can usually recognize when something is not quite right. And there were some stylistic points I really didn't get my shorts in a knot over... I was more concerned about consistency throughout & making sure that if you choose to use this spelling, you use it all the way through the document.

    It's/its is one that does drive me nuts, though...! ;)