# [OT] Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is" without changing your inteded m

Discussion in 'Python' started by Bengt Richter, Jan 18, 2006.

1. ### Bengt RichterGuest

Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)

Write the contraction "it's" only when you want its meaning
to be "it is," otherwise it's wrong ;-)

OTOH, how does one punctuate the posessive of a word per se?
E.g., the first letter of "it" is "i", but can one write that
as "it"'s first letter is "i," or it's first letter is "i" ? ;-)
And how many "it"s (?) are there in the previous sentence?

I wonder if "Eats Leaves and Shoots" (a book on punctuation) has something on that.
(vs, "Eats, Leaves, and Shoots" -- panda vs gunslinger).

Regards,
Bengt Richter

Bengt Richter, Jan 18, 2006

2. ### FuzzymanGuest

Re: Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

Bengt Richter wrote:
> Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
> is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
> embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
> If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)
>

Making grammatical errors in the subject of a post on gramamtical
errors must be embarrasing. ;-)

> Write the contraction "it's" only when you want its meaning
> to be "it is," otherwise it's wrong ;-)
>
> OTOH, how does one punctuate the posessive of a word per se?
> E.g., the first letter of "it" is "i", but can one write that
> as "it"'s first letter is "i," or it's first letter is "i" ? ;-)
> And how many "it"s (?) are there in the previous sentence?
>

Don't recall an answer to this one in "Eats, Shoots and Leaves".

The first one is clearer :

"it"'s first letter is "i"

All the best,

Fuzzyman
http://www.voidspace.org.uk

> I wonder if "Eats Leaves and Shoots" (a book on punctuation) has something on that.
> (vs, "Eats, Leaves, and Shoots" -- panda vs gunslinger).
>
> Regards,
> Bengt Richter

Fuzzyman, Jan 18, 2006

3. ### Fredrik LundhGuest

Fredrik Lundh, Jan 18, 2006
4. ### Steve HoldenGuest

Re: Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is"without changing your inteded meaning.

Fuzzyman wrote:
> Bengt Richter wrote:
>
>>Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
>>is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
>>embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
>>If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)
>>

>
>
> Making grammatical errors in the subject of a post on gramamtical
> errors must be embarrasing. ;-)
>

Almost as *embarrassing* as making two spelling errors in one sentence
complaining about grammatical errors (though I'll charitably accept the
second one as a typo, and gladly hold my hands up to being a dreadful
committer of the typographical error myself). What grammatical errors
were you trying to point out, by the way?

>
>>Write the contraction "it's" only when you want its meaning
>>to be "it is," otherwise it's wrong ;-)
>>
>>OTOH, how does one punctuate the posessive of a word per se?
>>E.g., the first letter of "it" is "i", but can one write that
>>as "it"'s first letter is "i," or it's first letter is "i" ? ;-)
>>And how many "it"s (?) are there in the previous sentence?
>>

>
>
> Don't recall an answer to this one in "Eats, Shoots and Leaves".
>
> The first one is clearer :
>
> "it"'s first letter is "i"
>
>

Best of all is to eschew the unknown and adopt a phrasing that gives an
unambiguously correct answer: 'The first letter of "it" is "i"'.

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Steve Holden, Jan 18, 2006
5. ### BartlebyScrivenerGuest

Re: Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

"The pronominal possessives hers, its, theirs, yours, and oneself have
no apostrophe."

Strunk & White, The Elements of Style. Section II.1

The Elements is a classic masterpiece of concision and lucidity, unlike
Eats, Shoots, Sells Books, and Leaves.

rpd

BartlebyScrivener, Jan 18, 2006
6. ### FuzzymanGuest

Re: Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

BartlebyScrivener wrote:
> "The pronominal possessives hers, its, theirs, yours, and oneself have
> no apostrophe."
>
> Strunk & White, The Elements of Style. Section II.1
>
> The Elements is a classic masterpiece of concision and lucidity, unlike
> Eats, Shoots, Sells Books, and Leaves.
>

Which is however eminently more readable, except perhaps for the
overlong introduction...

All the best,

Fuzzyman
http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/index.shtml

> rpd

Fuzzyman, Jan 18, 2006
7. ### Peter HansenGuest

Re: [OT] Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute"it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

Bengt Richter wrote:
> Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
> is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
> embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
> If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)

Maybe we can also hold forth on "which" vs. "that", proper use of "I"
versus "me" (usually the opposite of what many do), "each" vs. "all",
and when to use "whom". Also throw in the old stand-bys "they're" and
"their" and other homonyms, but consider that often the mistake is not
cause by a poor grasp of grammar but simply by writing too quickly, as
one sometimes "hears" the words incorrectly in one's mind as one types,
"their" swapped with "they're" when proofreading, but I do sometimes use
the wrong one when I write quickly.)

Of course, even the best of us make such mistakes, and holding everyone
to task for it is probably not going to help. This is a problem which
only constant and instrusive reminders would cure, and the cure would be
far worse than the disease.

> OTOH, how does one punctuate the posessive of a word per se?
> E.g., the first letter of "it" is "i", but can one write that
> as "it"'s first letter is "i," or it's first letter is "i" ? ;-)

When a construction is awkward, pick a different one. '''The first
letter of the word "it" is "i"''' should be just fine.

> I wonder if "Eats Leaves and Shoots" (a book on punctuation) has something on that.
> (vs, "Eats, Leaves, and Shoots" -- panda vs gunslinger).

Eats Shoots and Leaves: less cowardly than leaving _then_ shooting...
also the actual name of the book. ;-)

-Peter

Peter Hansen, Jan 18, 2006
8. ### SpellmanGuest

Re: Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

Fuzzyman wrote:
> BartlebyScrivener wrote:
> > "The pronominal possessives hers, its, theirs, yours, and oneself have
> > no apostrophe."
> >
> > Strunk & White, The Elements of Style. Section II.1
> >
> > The Elements is a classic masterpiece of concision and lucidity, unlike
> > Eats, Shoots, Sells Books, and Leaves.
> >

>
> Which is however eminently more readable, except perhaps for the
> overlong introduction...
>

My favorite grammar book, Patricia T. O'Conner's "Woe Is I," is
readable as well as concise and lucid. Here's how she explains it (or
rather "it's" vs. "its"): If the word you want can be replaced by "it
is," you want "it's." If not, use "its." (By the way, her chapter
titles are a hoot; the one on punctuation is called "Comma Sutra.")

Spellman, Jan 18, 2006
9. ### SpellmanGuest

Re: Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

Fuzzyman wrote:
> BartlebyScrivener wrote:
> > "The pronominal possessives hers, its, theirs, yours, and oneself have
> > no apostrophe."
> >
> > Strunk & White, The Elements of Style. Section II.1
> >
> > The Elements is a classic masterpiece of concision and lucidity, unlike
> > Eats, Shoots, Sells Books, and Leaves.
> >

>
> Which is however eminently more readable, except perhaps for the
> overlong introduction...
>

My favorite grammar book, Patricia T. O'Conner's "Woe Is I," is
readable as well as concise and lucid. Here's how she explains it (or
rather "it's" vs. "its"): If the word you want can be replaced by "it
is," you want "it's." If not, use "its." (By the way, her chapter
titles are a hoot; the one on punctuation is called "Comma Sutra.")

Spellman, Jan 18, 2006
10. ### Grant EdwardsGuest

Re: Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

On 2006-01-18, Fuzzyman <> wrote:
>
> Bengt Richter wrote:
>> Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
>> is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
>> embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
>> If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)

>
> Making grammatical errors in the subject of a post on gramamtical
> errors must be embarrasing. ;-)

Not really. It's one of the basic laws of Usenet. All
complaints about grammar/spelling will contain grammar/spelling
mistakes. Nothing you can do about it.

--
Grant Edwards grante Yow! Yow! I want to mail
at a bronzed artichoke to
visi.com Nicaragua!

Grant Edwards, Jan 18, 2006
11. ### Bengt RichterGuest

Re: Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute "it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

On 18 Jan 2006 04:19:37 -0800, "Fuzzyman" <> wrote:

>
>Bengt Richter wrote:
>> Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
>> is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
>> embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
>> If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)
>>

>
>Making grammatical errors in the subject of a post on gramamtical
>errors must be embarrasing. ;-)

Yeah. I could probably get away with claiming that I inteded one error to soften the
blow of my demonstration of superiority, but actually neither was intentional.
Perhaps it worked out for the best ;-)

Regards,
Bengt Richter

Bengt Richter, Jan 18, 2006
12. ### Steven D'ApranoGuest

Re: [OT] Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute"it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

Bengt Richter wrote:

> Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
> is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
> embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
> If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)

For all three of the people on the Internet who haven't
seen this:

http://www.angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif

And in colour:
http://www.angryflower.com/aposter.html

--
Steven.

Steven D'Aprano, Jan 19, 2006
13. ### Grant EdwardsGuest

On 2006-01-19, Steven D'Aprano <> wrote:

>> Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
>> is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
>> embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
>> If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)

>
> For all three of the people on the Internet who haven't
> seen this:
>
> http://www.angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif
>
> And in colour:
> http://www.angryflower.com/aposter.html

But wait, if you follow the rules on the poster, you'd use an
apostrophe for the possive of "it", right?

--
Grant Edwards grante Yow! I'm losing my
at hair...did it go to
visi.com ATLANTIC CITY??

Grant Edwards, Jan 19, 2006
14. ### Steven D'ApranoGuest

Re: [OT] Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute"it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

Grant Edwards wrote:

> On 2006-01-19, Steven D'Aprano <> wrote:
>
>
>>>Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
>>>is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
>>>embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
>>>If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)

>>
>>For all three of the people on the Internet who haven't
>>seen this:
>>
>>http://www.angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif
>>
>>And in colour:
>>http://www.angryflower.com/aposter.html

>
>
> But wait, if you follow the rules on the poster, you'd use an
> apostrophe for the possive of "it", right?

But not if you actually followed the link I intended to
send but forgot to:

http://www.angryflower.com/its.gif

--
Steven.

Steven D'Aprano, Jan 19, 2006
15. ### Steven D'ApranoGuest

Re: [OT] Nit: please don't user "it's" unless you can substitute"it is" without changing your inteded meaning.

Steven D'Aprano wrote:

>> But wait, if you follow the rules on the poster, you'd use an
>> apostrophe for the possive of "it", right?

>
>
> But not if you actually followed the link I intended to send but forgot to:
>
> http://www.angryflower.com/its.gif

Dammit, wrong link. Serves me right for not letting the

http://www.angryflower.com/itsits.gif

--
Steven.

Steven D'Aprano, Jan 19, 2006
16. ### Tim RobertsGuest

Steven D'Aprano <> wrote:
>
>Bengt Richter wrote:
>
>> Typos happen to all of us, but in case you hadn't realized what "it's"
>> is a contraction for ("it is"), now you do, and you can save yourself further
>> embarrassment (assuming you care ;-).
>> If your friends won't tell you, who will ;-)

>
>
>For all three of the people on the Internet who haven't
>seen this:
>
>http://www.angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif
>
>And in colour:
>http://www.angryflower.com/aposter.html

My own name gives me trouble with this. There is disagreement in the
curmudgeon world as to whether I should refer to "the Roberts' computer",
or "the Roberts's computer".

I guess I'll just have to keep saying "that damn computer."
--
- Tim Roberts,
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.

Tim Roberts, Jan 20, 2006
17. ### Steven D'ApranoGuest

On Fri, 20 Jan 2006 07:06:29 +0000, Tim Roberts wrote:

> My own name gives me trouble with this. There is disagreement in the
> curmudgeon world as to whether I should refer to "the Roberts' computer",
> or "the Roberts's computer".
>
> I guess I'll just have to keep saying "that damn computer."

In English, you would say "Roberts' computer".

In ugly foreign languages like American, some people say "Roberts's
computer", but they are wrong.

*wink*

--
Steven.

Steven D'Aprano, Jan 21, 2006