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Its vs. It’s

Would you like to know the #1 Grammar Error?
Hint:
The word involved is small and it’s contained in this sentence.

That’s right: its vs. it’s
Yet the two rules are actually quite easy to remember.

Rule 1: When you mean it is or it has, use an apostrophe.

Examples:
It’s a nice day.
It’s your right to refuse the invitation.
It’s been great getting to know you.

Rule 2: When you are using its as a possessive, don’t use the apostrophe.

Examples:
The cat hurt its paw.
The furniture store celebrated its tenth anniversary.

 
Note: From what we understand, the possessive was also written it’s until a couple of hundred years ago. While we don’t know for certain, it is possible that the apostrophe was dropped in order to parallel possessive personal pronouns like hers, theirs, yours, ours, etc.”

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Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012, at 5:35 pm


The Apostrophe with Numbers, Letters, and Abbreviations

Rule 1: The plurals for capital letters and numbers above nine do not require apostrophes, but some use them anyway.

Examples:
She learned her ABCs.
(some writers prefer ABC’s)
the 1990s (some writers prefer 1990′s)

Rule 2: For clarity, most writers use apostrophes with single capital letters and single-digit numbers.

Examples:
Please dot your I’s.
She learned her times tables for 6′s and 7′s.

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Posted on Monday, November 9, 2009, at 10:28 am


Apostrophes with Names

Question: How do you form the plural of a proper noun that ends in y like Murphy? Should you change the name to Murphies as in I visited the Murphies yesterday?

Answer: No. Never change the spelling of a name to show the plural form.

Example: I visited the Murphys yesterday.

Question: How do you show possession for a name that ends in y?

Answer: To show singular possession, use the apostrophe and then the s.

Example: I petted Mrs. Murphy’s cat.

To show plural possession, always make the noun plural first, then use the apostrophe.

Example: I petted the Murphys’ cat.

Example: I visited the Murphys’ store on Main Street.

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Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 10:01 am


Apostrophes with Names Ending in s, ch, or z

Are you confused about how to show the plural and the possessive of certain names? Maybe you know to write I met the Smiths, I drove Brenda Smith’s Ferrari, and I visited the Smiths’ house. But what if the name is Sanchez or Church or Williams?

Rule: To show the plural of a name that ends in s, ch, or z, add es.

Examples:
The Sanchezes will be over soon.
The Thomases moved away.

Rule: To show singular possession of a name ending in ch or z, use the apostrophe and another s.

Examples:
Harry Birch’s house
Mrs. Sanchez’s children

Rule: To show singular possession of a name ending in s, some writers add just an apostrophe. Others also add another s.

Example:
Bill Williams’ car OR Bill Williams’s car

Rule: To show plural possession of a name ending in s, ch, or z, form the plural first; then immediately use the apostrophe.

Examples:
the Williamses’ car
the Birches’ house
the Sanchezes’ children

 

Pop Quiz

Choose the correct proper noun in each sentence below. The original proper noun is in parentheses.

1. I’m going to marry Ms. Straus’/Strauses’/Straus’s daughter. (Straus)

2. The Ortiz’/Ortizes’/Ortiz’s dog bit the mailman. (Ortiz)

3. My son can’t seem to get enough of Sandi Finches/Finches’/Finch’s fried chicken. (Finch)

4. The Ames/Amess/Ameses are coming home from vacation tomorrow. (Ames)

 

Pop Quiz Answers

1. I’m going to marry Ms. Straus’s daughter. (OR Ms. Straus’ daughter)

2. The Ortizes’ dog bit the mailman.

3. My son can’t seem to get enough of Sandi Finch’s fried chicken.

4. The Ameses are coming home from vacation tomorrow.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 9:17 am


Confusing Possessives

The Chicago Manual of Style lists the following holidays as singular possessives: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day. Plural possessive is used for Presidents’ Day.

Your guess is as good as anyone’s about Secretary’s vs. Secretaries’ vs. Secretaries Day and Boss’s vs. Bosses’ vs. Bosses Day.

What would you do if we had a Children’s Day holiday? Because Children is an irregular plural (not formed by adding an s or es), you would have to use the apostrophe in the title because there is no such word as Childrens.

Example: Children’s Hospital

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Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008, at 7:00 pm