The Subersiveness of “it’s”

September 26, 2014 § 6 Comments

Spelling errors and stupid mistakes really bug me.  They bug me in student papers, but they bug me more in venues where the author/designer should know better.  When I lived in Montreal all those years, English translations of official documents (like from the Gouvernement du Québec and the Ville de Montréal) were riddled with typos, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes.  The same could be said of advertising around the city.  Lately, I’ve noticed faulty grammar, typos, and dodgy spelling on the websites of the likes of TSN and ESPN.  Fine, you say, what else can you expect from dumb jocks.  But the same errors are popping up on the websites of The Globe & Mail, the Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Guardian, and so on.  In particular, “it’s.”  “It’s” is the contraction of “it is.”  It is NOT the possessive of “it.”  The possessive of “it” is “its.”  No apostrophe.  I know, English is hard.  Especially for native English speakers.

But lately, I am finding myself succumbing to the seductive siren call of “it’s.”  Whenever I’m reading something with the incorrect usage of “it’s” in it, the little voice in my brain that reads the words always translates it is “it is.”  So, I read sentences like “The American government is emboldened by it’s early successes in it’s fight with ISIS,” and I read “The American government is emboldened by it is early successes in it is fight with ISIS.”

And when I write something, I want to throw all caution to the wind, undo my years of education, my abhorrence of poor spelling, grammar, and typos and just succumb to the craze.  I want to enjoy the joy of writing “it’s” when I mean “it is.”  I want to feel that rush of adrenaline caused by breaking the rules!


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