Writing Pet Peeves #10: Its/It’s

You know, there are a lot of people who misuse words and phrases daily. Just look at Twitter or Facebook. But there are also many people who identify themselves as writers or authors and run a writing blog and misuse those same words all the time.

I don’t particularly care if some random person misuses a word in a Facebook post, on Twitter, or even in a text message. I mean, sure it’s a bit annoying if you are struggling to figure out what they’re trying to say, but it’s not the end of the world. But I do have an issue when I find a blog titled something like “Sarah Michaels – Author” and she doesn’t know when to use its or it’s. And some bloggers I interact with don’t even use the two words correctly. “What is this, amateur hour?” -Ron Burgundy

I’m not even going to give examples of what’s correct and what isn’t because this is something that just about everyone is taught in elementary school at a young age. I find it inexcusable to see people running these writing or author blogs while misusing the simplest words.

What do you think?


On this day in 2014 I published Taking Advice From Other Writers.

 

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39 thoughts on “Writing Pet Peeves #10: Its/It’s

  1. I may be one of those described in the post. I misuse so many English words, since it is not my first language.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I actually misuse them a lot, mostly because they’re so basic I don’t think about them. Then I stop and go, “Oh wait, that’s wrong. Stupid.” Plus, it usually happens when I’m writing too fast, which is always. >.<

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  3. I’d say you should be allowed special dispensation if English isn’t your first language!

    I forgive the odd typo – they happen to the best of us. The other day I used the word ‘ravage’ in a post when I meant ‘ravish’ and didn’t realise til it was pointed out to me. I write most of my posts in Word and then copy and paste to WordPress. At least then most of the worst mistakes should be flagged up before I publish – apart from when I use the wrong word, of course πŸ™‚

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  4. I just saw an article posted to a friend’s wall titled: “What a Shaman See’s In a Mental Hospital.” Regardless of what anyone might think of the content of that article… it’s an article on a website with a fairly large following. Improper apostrophe use is a plague, and the Internet is infested. What’s crazy is how many professionally-edited sites you see misusing apostrophes and basic words.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read somewhere that Hemingway had spelling difficulties. When someone confronted him about it, he told them “that’s why I hire editors” (or something like that). So, I guess for the rest of us who are struggling by without editorial assistance, we just need to be careful. I am a technical writer by profession, and often I have been caught misusing the word ‘effect’ vs. ‘affect’. But I am aware that I have a problem with these two words, so I am on the lookout for misuse.

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  6. I cringe when I find my own it’s/its mistakes. It’s usually because I’m rushing. A simple rule is to read its/it’s as “it is” to decide which one is correct.

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    • Hm. I think another commenter said the same. What are you rushing to write?

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      • Example:

        As I was thinking about and typing the above comment, my wife said my rice was going to be ready when the microwave went off. Microwave goes off, I’m still typing. It’s 20 to 5:00 and we need to leave at 5:20.
        “What are you doing?” she asked. “Didn’t you hear the microwave?”
        “Yeah,” I said.
        “What are you doing?”
        “I’m writing something.”
        “Writing something? Are you keeping track of your time?”
        “Yeah, I’m keeping track of my time.” Hmmmm. Am I going to continue thinking and writing about this topic or eat dinner? I guess I’m eating dinner. But before I do, I better make I didn’t mistype anything, because I’m trying to pass myself off as an author. lol

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      • Haha well there’s an example of rushing. I actually only write a comment or blog post or anything when I know I won’t be interrupted. Which is why I’ll reply to dozens of comments all at once sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just for giggles… English is technically my second language. I didn’t learn to speak English until I was seven. I’ve always been terrible at writing. Everything I write is suspect. I am not kidding. I wish I could afford to have someone edit everything I write, but that’s just not going to happen.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. YES!!! And I would just like to say, that the majority or horrific apostrophe abusers are not ESL, so there is no excuse. Sometimes, when I browse new blogs, if there is a plural noun with a mis-placed apostrophe, I refuse to follow that blog on principle, even if I liked the content.

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    • You’re exactly right. They know the English language and all of the quirks that go along with it. But I’m convinced that apostrophes actually have a life of their own. Because I have no idea why people put them in the most random parts of a word or sentence.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. And there’s the error. Sigh.

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  9. I too get hung (or is it hanged?) up on grammatical errors and misuse of certain words. I try to do my best, and like others, I cringe and quickly edit when I discover I “your”ed a sentence when I should have “you’re”ed a sentence. πŸ˜‰ But I have found some tolerance in a beautiful idea or profound story. Sometimes the heart and soul of a writer exceeds their (or is it there?) grammar or vocabulary competencies. I would not want to miss out on a brilliant idea or heartwarming piece (or is it peace?) that flows from someone merely because I can’t get past (or is it passed?) their “it’s” when it should be “its.” But I must admit, the mental red correcting pen (or is it pin?) in me is hard to put away!

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    • I can’t tell if you actually misuse all of those words or if you were making a point. But is there anything overly difficult about using any of the words you mentioned correctly? Nope. There isn’t.

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      • Woosh. You’re a hard audience. πŸ˜‰ For a person with formal education, the writing should be correct. When I construct a legal document, it better be correct! But for someone with little education, it is difficult. My point is, I agree with you in some respects. But I do not agree that the title of author or writer is reserved for a particular class possessing certain competencies. I love the expression of the heart and soul in creative writing more than I admire (or have disdain) for the technicality of the output. I have loved written expression from uneducated homeless adults, challenged teens, children, mentally challenged, and elderly…. Perhaps poorly written, but they almost always offer something profound in their writing. Therefore, I have tolerance for bad grammar and misspellings from some writers and authors. It’s all relative. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Yep. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, as well. For anyone who went to school through eighth grade, and English is their first language, there is no excuse.

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