December 24, 2004

Pet Peeve Dep't: Apostrophe Mania

A brilliant poster, who shall remain nameless, published something using an apostrophe in "its" as in "its color." Three times in a short poem.

Jarring indeed to a G.O.M. like me.

It's simple enough, folks:
  • When "its" is a possessive or genitive, it takes no apostrophe. Just substitute "his" in the phrase and you'll see the use. Example: "Its eyes shone in the darkness."
  • When "it's" is a contraction of "it is," it takes the apostrophe. Example: "Baby, it's cold outside."

Simple enough.Unless you want to leave all the punctuation at the end, like Lord Timothy Dexter, one of the great American eccentrics. Yes, Oscar, we had them, too.

Late addition: See examples of apostrophe abuse here.

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