Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Scintilla Project - Day 10

Can't believe there's just one more day for Scintilla! I may have to go back and pick upthe prompts I didn't choose.

Today's selection:
1. Talk about breaking someone else's heart, or having your own heart broken.

2. Pet peeves. We've all got 'em. What are yours? Write about a time when you experienced one so vividly that we all join your army of defiance.

Let's go with #2. 


 I'm a bit of a grammar Nazi. (Okay, I can get really wrapped around the axle about some aspects of grammar and punctuation. But that was my job for years: to final proof everything that came through the creative department and to sign off on it. I can't help seeing errors in menus, in books  --some are really bad -- in magazines and newspapers, on posters, in programs. Sometimes I point them out, gently, depending on who and what it is. Mostly I shake my head in despair and wonder if students are actually being taught proper grammar and punctuation today.)

My biggest pet peeve is the misuse of the apostrophe, ESPECIALLY in the difference between ITS and IT'S. 

(Actually, there is a whole book written about punctuation. Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which I loved reading even though the author is British and there are style differences between British English and American English. It is delightful, especially for writers and editors.)

But I digress.

So the difference between ITS and IT'S is this: IT'S is short for it is or it has. (NO exceptions. If you can't substitute IT IS or IT HAS in the sentence, don't use the apostrophe.)
ITS is the possessive form of it. 

If you're still confused, read more here. But come on, people. This is not rocket science.

I saw it misused last week in our local paper, right here on the front page.  Can you spot it? (Third sentence.)

I've seen in in magazines, reputable ones. I see it in newsletters with more frequency than I'd like. There's an area blogger who loves to put apostrophes in random words, like these examples: " ...for little Leprechaun's..."  " ...there are lots of variety's..."  

I know it shouldn't. But it makes me crazy. 

If you read this blog regularly, I know you'll find my own misspellings and grammatical liberties, although the latter is partly just my style of writing in this venue. (The misspellings I do try to correct when I see them, but you also realize that a writer cannot accurately proof his/her own work, don't you? EVERY writer needs an editor. All it takes me for to see my errors is to put it in print -- a newspaper or magazine or program or poster -- and then boyoboyoboy, do I see it. And so does everyone else. Yikes. I hate that.)

There are some grammar/punctuation/usage things I have to look up every damn time, like the difference between 'lay' and 'lie,' 'that' and 'which,' and essential/non-essential clauses. (I have three reference manuals: The AP Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style, and The Gregg Reference Manual, and they don't agree on some points. I don't use them much anymore -- but when I was editing and proofing, the stickier issues were tabbed so I could find them quickly.)

But is it too much to ask for people to learn the difference between the contraction of IT IS (IT'S) and the possessive ITS? 

1 comment:

edna million said...

Oh, this is one of my BIG PET PEEVES too. For some reason, the it's/its thing has been driving me right around the bend lately. Even more than it usually does, which is a whole lot. And the more time I spend on Facebook, the crazier I get.