it's OR its?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by bigino, Jun 30, 2012.

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  1. bigino New Member

    It is not the first time I read a web page where it seems to me that "it's" is used in place of the right "its".
    For example here it is done twice (sorry, I cannot post the link because it's my first message and I haven't sufficient rights):

    I ask if I am right in stating that "it's" is wrong, and if it so I ask if there is a reason for having this trivial error to be so widespread. I am Italian, my English is very rough and I do many mistakes but this one is incomprehensible for me since it confuses a verbal expression (it is) with an adjective (its).
    Thank you.
  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Hullo Bigino. Welcome to the forum:)

    Yes, you're right, both those should be its, not it's.

    This is one of those Extremely Common Mistakes made by native speakers. There's nothing much that can be done about it, unfortunately.
  3. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    You'll find some previous threads here. The only thing I've ever done about it is to cast aspersions upon the errant, telling him that I'll refuse to read his posts until he gets it right.:D
  4. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    The reason is, of course, lack of education, although one may well wonder why we write one's with an apostrophe and its without one. For example, "The dog eats its dinner quickly" and "One's heart is not in it".

    << Wandering off topic. >>
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2012
  5. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Hullo, big.

    As ewie says, this is the kind of mistakes that are typical of native speakers. Foreigners like you and me would probably never dream of committing any.
    As a teacher of EFL, though, I would gladly welcome a sprinkle of such mistakes in the papers I mark daily: you start to learn a language when you make the same errors and mistakes of the natives. Here's a timid selection: me to; should of gone; computor; reciept.
    Once a student of mine came up with "gign't". His intention was to express the negative past of "go". This is NOT a mistake a native English speaker would make, nevertheless I was fascinated by it. I found it "geniale".


  6. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    It's so widespread because it follows a pattern used by other possessive/genitive cases. It started out that way, too*. Perhaps those grammarians who felt one shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition or ever split an infinitive, also proclaimed it should lose the apostrophe to be more "like" his and hers. However, there seems to be an underlying pressure to regularize language components and this can sometimes win over (lack of) education. (Honey, I shrunk the dictionary :D )

    *The big OED (1971) wrote

  7. Croas Banned

    Well,to talk about its and it's

    e.g : The situation of the camp was chosen with respect to its healthfulness and its its nearness to the city.

    Why it use its, but not it's ?

    thanks in advance :)
  8. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Hullo, Croas.

    I don't know where you found this sentence but one thing is certain: it is grammatically incorrect.
    To reach a minimum level of grammaticality it'd be "The situation of the camp was chosen with respect to its healthfulness and its (its) nearness to the city.


  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    << Moderator note.
    The difference between its and it's is explained in this thread and many others: see its it's.
    This thread has been closed to avoid further repetition.
    panjandrum >>
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