JS Tip 287: Spooky Words: Words that will Haunt You

Tips from Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting

** From the Writing Workshops: Spooky Words (Words that Will Haunt You)

In the spirit of the season (not the Christmas season, the Halloween season), we begin a series exploring spooky words—words that will haunt you if you use them incorrectly.

We begin with spooky apostrophes.

It’s and Its

It’s—with the apostrophe—is always a contraction of it is. Always.

Its—without the apostrophe—is belonging to it. Possession.

If you’re in doubt, separate the contraction. Use it is instead of it’s. If it is doesn’t work, don’t use it’s: We opened the computer and checked it’s hard drive. We opened the computer and checked it is hard drive.

No. That doesn’t work.

So it should be— We opened the computer and checked its hard drive.

(The hard drive belongs to the computer.)

Who’s and Whose

Who’s is always a contraction of who is: “Who’s going to Springfield next week?”

(We're asking, “Who is going to Springfield next week?”)

Whose is “belonging to who.” Again, possession.

“Whose flash drive is this?”

(We’re asking, “Who owns this flash drive?”)

If you’re in doubt, separate the contraction. Use who is instead of who’s. If who is doesn’t work, don’t use who’s: “Who is flash drive is this?”

No. That definitely doesn’t work. Use Whose.

“Whose flash drive is this?” Correct. Good job.

Let us know your thoughts. We love this stuff.

Next week, we'll explore more words that will haunt you if you use them incorrectly.

** Recent Tips

JS Tip 286: The Power of Words
JS Tip 285: Motivating Others II
JS Tip 284: Remembering
JS Tip 283: Motivating Others
JS Tip 282: Everything Leads to Trust

 

Copyright © 2014 Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting, All rights reserved.