RE: It’s and Its

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I received more e-mails on “It’s and Its” than on any article I’ve written in months. I thank everyone who wrote to me in support of better grammar, which was virtually everyone. There was not one angry e-mail among you. One of you found an error I made, and I’ve corrected it. Another person informed me that anyone can download Strunk’s The Elements of Style free. Googling on grammatical questions will also turn up usually correct answers from several sources. A third person suggested that some errors are typos. This is true of written material, but I suspect that the frequency of grammatical errors has risen above a base level frequency of typographical mistakes. A fourth person with substantial and varied accomplishments to his name reported that he cannot overcome his difficulty with it’s and its. Maybe there is a brain problem among some of us imperfect human beings. If there is a rising frequency of such errors, is there a rising frequency of brain dysfunctions or worse education or both? I’ll leave this to a doctoral student who is looking for a dissertation topic, if it has not already been done in some literature with which I am unfamiliar. A fifth person (confirmed by another e-mail) told me that he had been taught that its’ was optional for its. Matters are even worse than I thought! Most all of you described the errors you encounter that bother you. I began to make a list and to explain each one, but I gave it up. It would take me all day and it’s already been done.

9:06 am on May 25, 2012
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