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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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January 29, 2014


Jenny Chan

3rd line.


Read the first rule of "Elements of Style" - Strunk and White. It's right there. It's simple in its elegance.


Most certainly the 3rd line reflects the correct usage. For me, it's helpful to read every instance of "it's" and "its" as "it is". It's a habit drilled well into my consciousness thanks to my 3rd grade teacher.


One out of 3 got it right so far. Sorry Jenny. I like the clue hidden in doug's post. Chris, nothing against your 3rd grade teacher, as I'm sure she also taught you that "it's" is a contraction of "it is" and "its" is an adjective that's not apostrophized.

Lorraine Green

That's an easy one. "It's" means it is," and "its" is the possessive of "it." I believe this is the only time that a possessive does not take an apostrophe.


Which It's Is Correct?

Yes it is.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thanks, everyone, for commenting.

Jenny, you win! You are first and correct.

Doug, thanks for illustrating the rule with your wonderful third sentence.

Chris, yes! We give thanks for those teachers from long ago.

Pete, everyone has gotten the answer correct. Perhaps people got to it different ways, but they all got good results.

Rather than thinking of "its," "my," "your," "his," "her," "our," and "their" as adjectives, which they are, I have found it helpful to think of them as possessive pronouns working as adjectives. Then I can remind myself that no possessive pronouns have apostrophes. That includes "yours," "hers," "ours," "theirs," and "its."

Lorraine, correct! As I noted directly above, no possessive pronouns take apostrophes.

Bob, I believe you are hinting that "it's" is "it is." You are correct, of course!

Now to report on the wine (and display correct usage):

Its taste is a bit dark for me, tending toward prunes. I believe it's a good complement for some foods, perhaps pasta with tomato sauce. (Sorry for the lack of nuance here--I am better at punctuation and grammar than food.)


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