its

Discussion in 'English Only' started by rafanadal, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. rafanadal Senior Member

    Asti, Piemonte
    ITALIANO
    Hi there.
    One of my mother tongue friends recently cast a doubt over my use of "its".
    She said she didn't like the sentence: "I love the English language because it's flexible and I love its sound".
    She told me to change it this way: "I love the English language because it's flexible and I love the way it sounds."
    We had a little chat about the use of "its" and I seemed to understand that there may be some difference in the use of "its" as a pronoun between BrE and AmE.
    Is the first sentence really awkward?
    Is the second one definitely better?
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Is the first sentence really awkward? A little, yes. It's uses the same sound for two different words, and it's a tiny bit abrupt.

    Is the second one definitely better? Yes. There is a flow to it that simply sounds better. One test I use for copy is to simply read it aloud -- listen to its sound, notice if it makes you stumble or if it just rolls out naturally. Prose isn't too far away from poetry and song.
     
  3. rafanadal Senior Member

    Asti, Piemonte
    ITALIANO
    Fair enough Copyright.
    But do I have to gather from what you say that all what I learned in school about the use of personal pronouns (his for males, her for females and its for animals and things) has to be reevaluated?
    Im talking about "its" without an apostrophe, of course.
    I mean, is there a drift in the language so that the use of its is gradually disappearing?
     
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    No, 'its' is fine there. There may be a genuine grammatical or stylistic choice between 'its sound' and 'the sound of it' - and for some reason, the second sounds a little bit more natural. That doesn't mean the first version shouldn't be said. The clash between the two homophones it's and its isn't very important either.
     
  5. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I was just talking about the rhythm of the sentence. You can certainly use "its sound" -- so don't do too much reevaluating.

    The only problem with it's and its is that what should be one of the simplest rules in English can't be memorized by many students. Perhaps we're not paying them enough. (I understand that many possessives add apostrophe-s to form the possessive, but this is an exception. There are many exceptions in the language. If we gave everyone a thousand dollars to remember this rule, they could do it.) :D

    As entanglebank says, and as I repeat: it's fine (its, I mean -- its is fine :)).
     
  6. rafanadal Senior Member

    Asti, Piemonte
    ITALIANO
    Thank you guys.
     

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