However, I am an editor, so people tend to ask . . . even when they’re not paying me. That’s okay. My main concern is that written English is used correctly. Spoken English is too versatile, subjective to each listener and speaker, and transitory to worry about, in my opinion.
I am going to begin to speak about common grammar and usage errors, and anyone with a question can feel free to ask :-) I'll start easy:
Its versus it's
Our elementary-school grammar teachers probably helped this one to be so often misused. After all, it was drilled into our heads that whenever you see an apostrophe, that word is possessive (has ownership). Well, not always. In the case of its versus it’s, it’s never the case.
"It's" is a contraction, which stands for "it is" or "it has." Examples:
· It's a beautiful day out. (It is a beautiful day out.)
· It's been raining for three days straight. (It has been raining for three days straight.)
· It's a very small boogar. (It is a very small boogar.)
When you don't know whether to use it's or its, give it the "it is/it has" test. Say the sentence to yourself and if you can't replace "it's" with "it is" or "it has," then it's possessive (has ownership). No apostrophe.
Its is possessive, which I know sounds weird, but just pretend like it works. Examples:
· Our family tree has its roots in Scotland.
· The camera has its pictures stored digitally.
· The alarm clock has its own way of telling time.
In each of these instances, again try the "it is/it has" test--it won't work. This is a very common error, so I'm hoping this helps some non-grammar nerds.