Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Possessives, Contractions, and Plurals

This is my latest pet peeve. Don't schools teach this anymore? I am astounded by the number of times I've seen these used incorrectly in books and on professional blogs.

Here's a brief review:

Ownership by one person or thing: school's John's
Ownership by more than one person or thing: students'

Using its and it's:
When used as a possessive, use its: The truck lost its muffler
When used as a contraction--"it is": It's best not to question a judge in a courtroom.

When a word ends with the letter "s" (including a plural) to make it possessive use an apostrophe after the "s" without adding another "s": snakes'

How hard is that?


Marcia said...

I'm a publications editor and see these errors a lot, along with "your" for "you're." What annoys me more is how often "loose" is used for "lose."

~ Sil in Corea said...

Agreed! I'm an older (67) American teaching English in Korea. The kind of errors I see on the internet made by native English speakers upset me greatly. It's a terrible example for the rest of the world. Most of the people I teach here don't make those kinds of mistakes. The ones who do learned their English from the U.S. military, not from Korean English teachers.