Communication Skills

JS Tip 245: From the Writing Workshops: It’s and Its

This is embarrassing.

A recent self-help article in the local newspaper was titled, “Coach Kim gives some suggestions for changing the way you feel about your life and it’s disappointments.”

It’s.

Its.

No. Please no. It’s wrong. Notice that: it’s wrong. It’s is wrong. 

It’s is always a contraction for it is or it has.

It’s is never possessive. It’s is never “belonging to it.”

This is absolute. There are no exceptions to the rule. None. Zippo. Nada.  

If you’re in doubt, play the substitution game: Examine the text and substitute “it is” or “it has” for the questioned it’s. In the newspaper headline, does the sentence “Coach Kim gives some suggestions for changing the way you feel about your life and it is disappointments” work?  

No. It doesn’t.

Does this work: “Coach Kim gives some suggestions for changing the way you feel about your life and it has disappointments.”

No. That doesn’t work either.

So the corrected copy should read, “Coach Kim gives some suggestions for changing the way you feel about your life and its disappointments.” No apostrophe.

“But wait,” you say. “It’s possessive. Coach Kim is talking about the disappointments that belong to life. To it. Shouldn’t the possessive take an apostrophe?”

No. Not always. We say “his disappointments,” not “hi’s disappointments” or “his’ disappointments.” We say “whose disappointments,” not “who’s disappointments.”

English is not a logical language.

Oh, wow. We love this stuff.   

 

 

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=27934972&nid=1010&title=forgive-life-for-disappointing-you&fm=home_page&s_cid=queue-3

Forgive Life for Disappointng You.

Kim Giles, ksl.com Contributor  |  posted Dec 9th - 6:49am

This week in LIFEadvice Coach Kim gives some suggestions for changing the way you feel about your life and it's disappointments.

 

KSL.com 9 Dec 13