Works For Me: Its vs. It’s

I’m not a grammar snob, really.  Okay, so maybe I’m just a little bit of a grammar snob.  Teeny tiny.  Just on the big grammar doozies, like your vs. you’re and I vs. me and OH-FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-PETE its vs. it’s.  I’m sorry, y’all, but it’s time for the bloggers of the world to unite and master it/it’s.  I see it done incorrectly on blogs all the time, (including, ahem, my own, when I’m proofreading). 

Here’s my little trick to help me remember the right way to do it:

Imagine that the little apostrophe is the letter i.  Therefore, when you write it’s, you are writing it is.  When you are writing its, you are using the possessive form of the word (as in, "Shannon’s blog has reached its highest level of control-freakishness now.") 

Works for me!

For more riveting grammar advice, check out Dr. Grammar. I love this stuff!

If you’d like to share your advice with Blogland, please link below!

56 thoughts on “Works For Me: Its vs. It’s

  1. Des says:

    Now if I could just learn a trick to spell wednesday, (I cheated, I looked up at the banner, I’m college educated and I still can’t recall that one word)any tips?

  2. Katrina says:

    I’m a little bit of a grammar snob too – love the link.
    And I just have to say, that I think I have an illness. It’s called blog addiction. You see, I couldn’t sleep tonight, so I got up to do some stuff around the house. By the time I was feeling really tired, it was midnight (EST). But did I go to bed? No! I said to myself, “In just one hour, Shannon’s WFMW post will be up. If I can just stay up a little bit longer, I can get my link up and have a number before #50.” Well it worked; I’ve been rewarded with the enviable #8.
    But – I have a 12-week-old upstairs. Who does not sleep through the night. Who will be getting up to eat before long. Mothers of 12-week-olds should not be staying up until 1:00 a.m. just to get a good spot on WFMW! I am so going to regret this.
    Okay, well maybe not. After all, I am number 8. 🙂

  3. Rebecca says:

    I am not perfect on the grammar front, but I do find it annoying to see things that should’ve been proofread published with mistakes like the one you’ve blogged.
    I think we have a local cab company with “Affordable Taxi’s” painted on it. ???

  4. Lindsey says:

    Oh, I am sooooooo with you! I was an English major, and this was one of my BIGGEST pet peeves! And the method that you’re using to determine its or it’s is the same one that I’ve been using for years. Such a lifesaver – you really look silly when you make a mistake like that!
    Thanks for sharing! I’m participating in my first WFMW!!!

  5. PastorMac's Ann says:

    Thanks for the Mr. Grammar tip! Proof-reading?! What a novel idea. I’m always in such a hurry to get things posted, half the time I don’t see something in a comment until it’s posted. Arg!

  6. Carmen says:

    I can’t deny it. I’m a closet grammar snob. Yes, yes, yes. A contraction has an apostrophe for the specific reason to show that a letter has been left out. I like that you spell y’all in that way, too. Many Southerners write ya’ll. Sorry guys, the ‘a’ is still there. It’s the ‘o’ and ‘u’ that are omitted, thus the apostrophe goes after the ‘y’. Just don’t inspect my spelling to close–I mean too close–or is it two close?

  7. Susanne says:

    I agree!!! That’s one of my pet peeves as well. My other grammar pet peeve is when people use “I” when they should use “me.” For example, so many pop songs today say something like, “It’s been heaven for you and I.” I hate that!!!! I don’t know how so many people missed the part of elementary school when they were supposed to learn that you use “me” in a prepositional phrase. My teachers taught me to imagine the phrase without the “you”…say to yourself, “It’s been heaven for I.” Then you’d realize that you should use “me” instead. Enough of my soapbox… 🙂 BTW, thanks for the grammar link! Cool site.

  8. Susanne says:

    I had to add this…a store in a city near me has a HUGE sign that says, “Ceramic’s.” That apostrophe bugs me to no end. I always want to say, “Ceramic’s what???”

  9. Rebecca says:

    I still remember a long email debate I had with some friends who simply could NOT be convinced that they couldn’t pluralize “it”. Poor it, I explained, didn’t get to own stuff. Very sad.

  10. Lauarie says:

    I do get irritated at myself when I realize, after I’ve posted…maybe a day or two later, that I made a major cafaffle in either grammar or spelling. What is worse is if my kids find it before I do! Red face!

  11. mom2fur says:

    I agree with you 100%! My own pet peeve is loose and lose! Sometimes I think if I see one more person write “I’m going to loose my mind,” I will lose mine! That’s lose one “O.” Although I suppose in both of our examples, it’s because spell check doesn’t pick it up. Which is why you need to read for yourself, too. And ha, ha, Carmen–I think you mean to say, “just don’t inspect my spelling too closely!” (I am a writer and used to be an editor.)

  12. peach says:

    Oh, man, this one is awesome. I do this very thing for a living, and it drives me CRAZY to see those simple mistakes all over blogland. My red pen could get a work out if I printed people’s posts and took a crack at it. Thanks for the Dr. Grammar link, Shannon. Maybe everyone will take the hint, and we will all be better grammarians!

  13. Heather says:

    Thank you so much for this one. I used to be a teacher, now teach my own, and poofread on the side and I hae never found a tip to help me remember my its and it’s. Everytime I write “its” I have to agonize over whether it’s right or not. Excellent tip.

  14. Laurel Wreath says:

    Great web site (says the person to scared to post here anymore) =)) Just kidding Shannon. I have a cousin who use to be a journalist, and I get an email “PROOF READ YOUR BLOG”. I try, I really do but I know that I makes some glaring mistakes. Thanks for the web site to go back and reference.

  15. floorplan says:

    Shannon! Get OUT! I can’t believe your little teeny-tiny tip has totally changed my life — I get it now!
    p.s. Have you ever read “Eats, Shoots and Leaves”? it’s hilarious.
    your faithful WfmW reader, floorplan

  16. Barb says:

    I’m a stickler for that, too. However, I go on record right now informing everyone out here that I’m not responsible for being all correct and everything in anything I type before my first cup of coffee or after midnight. That’s either too early or too late to be blogging, right?

  17. Neighbor Jane says:

    Shannon, if microsoft would get it right in their word program it would help American bloggers everywhere! Everytime they try to stick an its in my document for an it’s I think, someone ought to notify these guys.

  18. Barbara H. says:

    That is a neat way to remember it. I cringe at a lot of grammar mistakes, too (particularly loose for lose, as mom2fur mentioned. But I’ve also been humbled to find some of the most horrifying mistakes in my own writing, even after I’ve proof-read it– and I know better!! I guess it comes from getting too dependent on Spell-check and in too much of a hurry.
    Here’s another tip: people get “stationary” and “stationery” mixed up. If you remember “e for envelope” then you’ll remember “stationery” is the one for writing paper.

  19. Tess says:

    I’m sure you have quite the same triumphant feeling as I do when I find typos in, say, Time magazine or an advertisement. I just grin like I’ve been handed a free bowl of ice cream.

  20. Cmommy says:

    AMEN! (I just discovered that I don’t need a comma after ‘but’, though, so what do I know?!)
    Shannon, have you heard the CD I wrote about today? It’s really beautiful. :-)C

  21. An Iowa Mom says:

    I am the same way … I notice it other places … and it somewhat irritates me. Then, I read my own posts (sometimes a day or two later) and find the same type of errors and I’m actually turn red in the face. Most of the time I won’t even change them though. From this moment on, I’ll proof BEFORE I post. Thanks for the tip.
    Mine is up – Video Game Solution

  22. Amy says:

    The more I read from you, Miss Shannon, I am convinced I have a twin 🙂 I hear ya girl on the grammer errors. It really bugs me too.
    I am also addicted to Scrabble & Upwords. Any chance I can get to show off my superiority over the English language 🙂

  23. Peggy says:

    I’m not a grammar snob either…and I make my own mistakes…but grammar mistakes in posts bother me on certain days. LOL

  24. Rhonda says:

    Thank you for sharing that tip! I have been doing it for years and it really works. “You’re” and “your” is easy, too, because you can just figure out if you would say “you are” in place of it. If not, use “your”.
    Des asked about a trick for spelling Wednesday. I can’t spell that word without thinking of the trick I’ve used since I was a child – I sound it out as Wed-nes-day. That works for me! 🙂

  25. susan says:

    Shannon, Thanks for your tip and for this Wednesday tip share.
    Trisha, to help me remember how to spell today’s day, I always say, “Wed Nes Day.” See if that makes your life easier.

  26. KimC says:

    My sister is very annoyed by mistakes like these. Our family refers to her as The Gramminator, and she wears the title with pride.

  27. trinaleah says:

    I have gleaned so much good advice from these posts, but this is my first time to add my name to the list. Thanks for coming up with this wonderful idea!

  28. nikko says:

    What an easy way to remember!
    I’ve been lurking in blogland for a few weeks, but this is my first time posting a tip. Thanks for letting me play! :o)

  29. Amy says:

    Thank you for hosting these clever ideas! I am new to all this blogging and I love reading your sites and learning from all of you!

  30. Karla says:

    Oh.My.Gosh. Thank you!! I’ve been wanting to address this for a long time, but I just know I’d offend all sorts of people & be banished from Blogland forever!! 🙂
    Another one: “Me and her are going to the store.” AAGH! 🙂 If you take either one of those people out of there, you’ve got “Me am going to the store” or “Her is going to the store.” So it should be “She and I are going to the store.” And (I’m getting this one from our pastor 😉 “Christ died for you and I.” Wouldn’t it be “Christ died for you and me”?

  31. Amelia says:

    LOL! I am a grammar nut too, and that is exactly how I have always remembered it’s and its. That mistake drives me nuts too, that and a hundred other common errors!

  32. Peggy says:

    I’m a grammar nutcase married to an editor. Is there anything worse? My poor kids!!
    “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” was my favorite nonfiction book for an awfully long time!
    I remember its vs it’s:
    You wouldn’t put an apostrophe for his or hers, so you shouldn’t for its.
    But then, I’ve seen hi’s and her’s lately, so although it works for me, it might not work for anyone else!!

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