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Its versus It's

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
"it's" is NOT possesive. "Its" is.

"it's" = it is
post #2 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by alternapop
"it's" is NOT possesive. "Its" is.

"it's" = it is

Not quite. It can mean possessive as well. Though it's not the preferred way of using it. It has a somewhat special status in terms of the possessive. Nevertheless...

There are several way's of expressing , er, it.

One of the definitiions of the Webster's (notice the apostrophe?) Third New International Dictionary; still the standard in these matters, has as one of the expressions of its:

it's \\"\\ adj [by alter.] its

In it's/its Guide to Punctuation we find:

An apostrophe and s are usually added to a noun to indicate ownership or a relation analogous to ownership. ...a survival of the es ending in Old and Middle English,...

in addition

An apostrophe either with or without s forms the possive case of singular nouns ending in an s or z sound.

There is a fair amount more.

The point being that while "it" is a special case, it's perfactly ok, though not a "modern" usage.
post #3 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by alternapop
"it's" is NOT possesive. "Its" is.

"it's" = it is

It's easy to remember, and it's not arbitrary:

It's is "it is." The apostrophe signifies missing letter(s).

Its means "belonging to it." Even though this is a possessive form, there is no apostrophe, because it is a pronoun -- just like there is no apostrophe in her, his, or your.

Also, the fork goes on the left, the spoon and knife on the right.
fork = 4 letters
left = 4 letters

spoon = 5 letters
knife = 5 letters
right = 5 letters.
post #4 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by dak splunder
It's easy to remember, and it's not arbitrary:

It's is "it is." The apostrophe signifies missing letter(s).

Its means "belonging to it." Even though this is a possessive form, there is no apostrophe, because it is a pronoun -- just like there is no apostrophe in hers, his, or yours.

Also, the fork goes on the left, the spoon and knife on the right.
fork = 4 letters
left = 4 letters

spoon = 5 letters
knife = 5 letters
right = 5 letters.

Cute, but if you look it up in the proper dictionary (by that I mean one like the one I use, that bothers with this) you will find that what I said is correct.
post #5 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Cute, but if you look it up in the proper dictionary (by that I mean one like the one I use, that bothers with this) you will find that what I said is correct.

I'm not being cute. I'm being accurate. Correct. Right. Well-read, well-informed. The fact is, it's is a contraction of "it is" and its is a possessive pronoun. Its, her, his, your, my -- all possessive pronouns.

Also, every dictionary I just looked in (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition; Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary; The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition) all say the same thing.

As does everyone on the web:

http://www.google.com/search?rls=en&q=its+%22it%27s%22

:d
post #6 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by dak splunder
I'm not being cute. I'm being accurate. Correct. Right. Well-read, well-informed. The fact is, it's is a contraction of "it is" and its is a possessive pronoun. Its, her, his, your, my -- all possessive pronouns.

Also, every dictionary I just looked in (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition; Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary; The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition) all say the same thing.

As does everyone on the web:

http://www.google.com/search?rls=en&q=its+%22it%27s%22

:d

Collegiate dictionaries or their equivalent, whether on the web or not, are not complete.

The Webster's Third New International Dictionary, along with the Oxford's Dictionary of the English language are considered to be the standards.

The definition of the word "it" in the Third International, would take up several pages in any of the others you have cited. And they do not possess the Guides either, except in some very abbreviated form.

I did say that it was not the modern usage. I really don't know what more you expect.
post #7 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I did say that it was not the modern usage. I really don't know what more you expect.

First of all, sorry about this long digression, but really, how much is there to say about an update that hasn't come out yet.

Anyway, melgross, my problem was your conclusion: "The point being that while "it" is a special case, it's perfactly ok, though not a "modern" usage."

a) it is not a special case. Just like every other possessive pronoun, there is no apostrophe.

b) it is not perfectly okay. In fact, it is wrong. Writing in Old English is not correct in modern English. Besides, the quotes you gave supporting your argument do not, in fact, support your argument:
Quote:
An apostrophe and s are usually added to a noun to indicate ownership or a relation analogous to ownership. ...a survival of the es ending in Old and Middle English,...

in addition

An apostrophe either with or without s forms the possive case of singular nouns ending in an s or z sound.

The explanation of where the possessive apostrophe derived from (Old/Middle English "es") does not relate to possessive pronouns, nor does the explanation about nouns ending in s or z sounds. The whole point of this discussion is that all possessive pronouns (not nouns) do not use apostrophes.

So, since I only have three dictionaries and the entire world wide web at hand, but I don't have your dictionary here, and you don't provide any relevant quotes from your dictionary, it is screamingly clear to me that you are, unfortunately, wrong. Perhaps I'm wrong -- maybe you read through the guide to punctuation too quickly and quoted the wrong section -- but I doubt it. However, if I am wrong, I'd love to be proven wrong, not told to look it up in a book that you have but I don't.

:d
post #8 of 70
Also, the Oxford English Dictionary's public website, http://www.askoxford.com/ says this:
Quote:
How do I know when to put an apostrophe in it's?

The word it's is always short for it is (as in it's raining), or in informal speech, for it has (as in it's got six legs).

The word its means 'belonging to it' (as in hold its head still while I jump on its back). It is a possessive pronoun like his.

You can find that at http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexper...mar/apostrophe
post #9 of 70
English isn't even my first language, and I knew this... maybe you guys need to read a little more? hahaha

IT'S lame
post #10 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by dak splunder
Also, the Oxford English Dictionary's public website, http://www.askoxford.com/ says this:

You can find that at http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexper...mar/apostrophe

That's very good, but you need the actual dictionary.

I'll repeat again:

It's not considered to be modern usage. The online definition only contains the modern usage.

I never said that it was the preferred usage. It is possessive, as the definition that I quoted from the Third International shows. It's = its.

It just isn't used much any more, so you won't find it where there are space limitations, or in a web definition which is giving commonly accepted definitions.

It's like the word regardless. That's accepted. Irregardless is used as well. It isn't wrong. But it's isn't preferred. Many dictionaries won't have it. Some do, and they say to use respective.

Enough already. This is getting silly, and we're off topic anyway.
post #11 of 70
^^^^nerd fight!^^^^
post #12 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
The point being that while "it" is a special case, it's perfactly ok, though not a "modern" usage.

It's about as ok as spelling lose, loose. It isn't right and never has been. It is an exception where you drop the apostrophe for possessive. Just because a large proportion of the population go uneducated in this day and age doesn't make using an apostrophe correct for possessive with it.
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
The Webster's Third New International Dictionary, along with the Oxford's Dictionary of the English language are considered to be the standards.

Given you obviously haven't looked in the Oxford dictionary I will tell you it doesn't agree with you. It says quite specifically in fact it's = contraction and its = possessive. It's as a possessive is not a modern usage, it is not a historical usage, it is an incorrect usage.

To quote the Oxford:
Quote:
The apostrophe in its never denotes a possessive. The confusion is at least partly understandable since other possessive forms (singular nouns) do take an apostrophe + s, as in the girl's bike or the president's smile.

Could it be any more definite?
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"When I was a kid, my favourite relative was Uncle Caveman. After school, wed all go play in his cave, and every once and awhile, hed eat one of us. It wasnt until later that I discovered Uncle...
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post #13 of 70
Someone just got served!

Or should that be "somebody just got served"?

Or maybe "somebody just was served"?

Or perhaps"somebody has just gotten served"?
post #14 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
It's about as ok as spelling lose, loose. It isn't right and never has been. It is an exception where you drop the apostrophe for possessive. Just because a large proportion of the population go uneducated in this day and age doesn't make using an apostrophe correct for possessive with it.

Given you obviously haven't looked in the Oxford dictionary I will tell you it doesn't agree with you. It says quite specifically in fact it's = contraction and its = possessive. It's as a possessive is not a modern usage, it is not a historical usage, it is an incorrect usage.

To quote the Oxford: Could it be any more definite?

You are wron about my not having looked in the Oxford. I don't have it here (all twenty= volumns), but you also haven't looked at the Third International.

OK? That's it.
post #15 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
That's very good, but you need the actual dictionary.

I don't have it. I was really hoping you could quote any relevant information from the actual dictionary.

Quote:
It just isn't used much any more, so you won't find it where there are space limitations, or in a web definition which is giving commonly accepted definitions.

It's like the word regardless. That's accepted. Irregardless is used as well. It isn't wrong. But it's isn't preferred. Many dictionaries won't have it. Some do, and they say to use respective.

Actually, the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition says of the word irregardless:
Quote:
Main Entry: ir·re·gard·less
Pronunciation: ir-i-gärd-ls
Function: adverb
Etymology: probably blend of irrespective and regardless
Date: circa 1912
nonstandard : REGARDLESS
usage Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that "there is no such word." There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

The same source, which contains exhaustive usage notes on all such confusing words, is adamant about it's/its.

You haven't provided one bit of evidence that it's is a viable spelling of the possessive form of "it". Claiming that it's not modern is one thing, but claiming that old/middle English usage makes it okay is not valid. Those are fundamentally different languages than English. The English of 200 years ago isn't modern, but it's still the same English language we speak today. Old and Middle English are not. However, I haven't seen any evidence that "it's" was considered valid as a possessive pronoun 200 years ago either.

You also started this whole thread with this sentence:
Quote:
I argue with some editors about the its it's its' thing as well. The " ' " implies possesive. Most times there's no problem with using the " ' ", but some editors think that it isn't "modern".

That shows a complete ignorance of the topic. First of all, its' is never okay. And this isn't an editorial option... I dare you to find one legitimate editor who would allow "it's" as a possessive. And yes, the apostrophe implies possessive for nouns, but, as discussed ad nauseum, not for pronouns. Which is where your confusion (and many others') comes from. [and yes, others' is correct. The possessive of the plural noun others -- many others' confusion -- although I would gladly debate the use of confusion vs. confusions in this example]

:d
post #16 of 70
Uh, oh! The glasses are coming off!
post #17 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by wilco
Someone just got served!

Or should that be "somebody just got served"?

Or maybe "somebody just was served"?

Or perhaps"somebody has just gotten served"?

Somebody has just been served. Get it right!

Do what you will, but harm none.

Reply

Do what you will, but harm none.

Reply
post #18 of 70
It's always funny to see what degrees someone will go to to "prove" that they were not wrong.

Even when it's quite obvious, that they were in fact completely wrong.
eye
bee
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eye
bee
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post #19 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
It's about as ok as spelling lose, loose. It isn't right and never has been. It is an exception where you drop the apostrophe for possessive.

Thank you for the supporting evidence from Oxford's. One issue I have, though, is that, in fact, "its" is not an exception. You do not drop the apostrophe for possessive. Its is a possessive pronoun, a word in its own right, like his, her, your, and their.
Code:

Pronoun Possessive Prounoun
------- -------------------
Him His
Her Her
You Your
Them Their
It Its
Us Our


As you can see, many possessive pronouns don't even end in "s". Its looks like an exception, but it's just a unique word, like her or his.

:d
post #20 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
(or is it IT'S, I can never remember, but, then again, I have so much trouble getting the whole "which is left and which is right" thing memorized too, so its not too surprising)

It's interesting in hypnosis, when you're working with arm catalepsy (having an arm levitate while the person watches their arm raise) that the right hand to do first is the left hand, which means that the right hand is the only hand left.
:-)

edit: damn, is this an "its" discussion or a left hand right hand thing?
post #21 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Nevertheless...

There are several ways of expressing , er, it.

T, FTFY
post #22 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
You are wron about my not having looked in the Oxford. I don't have it here (all twenty= volumns), but you also haven't looked at the Third International.

OK? That's it.

The 20-odd volume dictionary you are referring to is no doubt the Oxford English Dictionary, which is usually abbreviated "OED." The OED is an historical dictionary, which means that it tells you when words enter the language and how they were used in specific periods. Usually, it provides a date and the word in context (usually some kind of literary reference). It does not focus on grammar and usage.

And yes, I do have copies of both the compact OED and the Shorter 2-volume here with me. I have access to the 20+ volume at the office.

And "it's" means "it is."
"Its" is a possessive pronoun.

There are no exceptions. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either wrong or intentionally lying.

And I hope you didn't mean to write this in a discussion of the proper use of the apostrophe:

Quote:
There are several way's of expressing , er, it.

If you did, you're misusing the 's in "way's" [sic]

Cheers
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
...
It's like the word regardless. That's accepted. Irregardless is used as well. It isn't wrong. But it's isn't preferred. Many dictionaries won't have it. Some do, and they say to use respective.


First of all, creditals: I copy edit college textbooks.

Second, it's is never possessive.

Third, "irregardless" is a redundancy at best--ir- and -less both meaning "without." It is "regardless."

The Mom
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post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Fangorn
First of all, creditals: I copy edit college textbooks.

I teach them. In college. In English classes.

Do I have enough street cred?
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #25 of 70
Right and wrong, correct and incorrect don't matter.

What matters is this:

1) Can people understand you?

2) Will they think you're a moron for using certain nonstandard lexigraphical or dialectal items?

Other than that, nobody should worry about this shite at all. Spelling and punctuation rules are, quite frankly, annoying and stupid. As such, they didn't even exist 300 years ago.

And don't get me started on prescriptivist grammar "rules."

(For what it's worth...which is admittedly not much...I say this as an English teacher, a former editor, and someone who's studied the English language for close to 20 years.)
post #26 of 70
Top 10 dumbest thread ever.

I can't believe there is actually debate about this, even if one side consists of only one individual.

But thanks for the chuckle.
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Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. - Albert Einstein

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post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by DCQ
Right and wrong, correct and incorrect don't matter.

What matters is this:

1) Can people understand you?

2) Will they think you're a moron for using certain nonstandard lexigraphical or dialectal items?

Other than that, nobody should worry about this shite at all. Spelling and punctuation rules are, quite frankly, annoying and stupid. As such, they didn't even exist 300 years ago.

And don't get me started on prescriptivist grammar "rules."

(For what it's worth...which is admittedly not much...I say this as an English teacher, a former editor, and someone who's studied the English language for close to 20 years.)

I'm no prescriptivist either. Frankly, they creep me out. But the alternative is not necessarily simply to throw up the hands and say "To hell with it! Let's just not bother with spelling or grammar. Hell, let's just not bother with proper usage of letters, either."

Yes, the language changes. And yes, some people need to get over it. But to throw the baby out with the bathwater (and the tub) is a bit extreme.

And 300 years ago English still hadn't worked out the difference between "C" and "K."
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #28 of 70
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING!!!!!!!
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING!!!!!!!

I can't believe I read this whole thread.
post #30 of 70
First, I hate the fact that I am posting in this thread (this is a huge nerd detector thread).

It's is never possessive. Its is possessive.

Please respect the pocket protectors a little better or everyone is disqualified!!
Hard-Core.
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Hard-Core.
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post #31 of 70
I'm still trying to decide whether this thread is incredibly funny or incredibly pathetic.
Living life in glorious 4G HD (with a 2GB data cap).
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post #32 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
I'm still trying to decide whether this thread is incredibly funny or incredibly pathetic.

Nerds gotta fight too.
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Hard-Core.
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post #33 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by aplnub
Nerds gotta fight too.

You're posting in a grammar thread on a forum devoted to rumors about a computer company.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #34 of 70
Re: street cred

My English 102 professor used "their" when he should have used "they're" on the chalkboard the first day of class. And I'm positive it wasn't an accident. I'll never forget it.

btw, what a great thread.
post #35 of 70
errr.. i'm positive it wasn't intentional.

guess i shouldn't be so quick to judge.
post #36 of 70
I've even found myself using the wrong form of 'their', 'they're,' or 'there' at times. I KNOW how to use them properly, but for some reason I type the wrong one. Usually I'll accidentally use 'their' for 'they're.' Go figure.

To stay on topic, I occasionally even type the wrong version of "it's" or "its."

Maybe I'll just stop using contractions and the problem will solve itself! \
Living life in glorious 4G HD (with a 2GB data cap).
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post #37 of 70
Depends on what your definition of "IT" is...
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post #38 of 70
melgross, you should get out more brother.
post #39 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by Fangorn
First of all, creditals: I copy edit college textbooks.

Credentials.

"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
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"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
Becca Sutlive - Iowa Fried Rock 'n Roll - now on iTMS!
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post #40 of 70
Quote:
Originally posted by midwinter
You're posting in a grammar thread on a forum devoted to rumors about a computer company.

I was being funny nerd brother.
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