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  1. #1

    Punctuation question

    I know this is high school stuff, but I get confused with the placement of certain apostrophes.
    This is the one I mean. Its.
    Now I always learned that the apostrophe was used to replace a letter, as in "it is" would become it's. I'm also thinking that apostrophes are used in the context of possessions but not plurals; "It was John's dog", but not in the case of "There were seven Johns in my class..."
    Now my query is this: Does the same apply for its. Would I apostrophise "The tiger neglected i'ts cubs" for example? It's still talking about a possession, but it doesn't quite feel right. It feels like I'm saying "The Tiger neglected IT IS cubs. I just don't like how it feels when I write it, and I wasn't sure. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Sam Stinson

    Re: Punctuation question

    In the case of"it is" the punctuation is before the "s", in the other case of possessions the apostrophe goes after the "s", as in Chris' car,or the tigers' cubs.That's the general rule.

  3. #3
    louise wise

    Re: Punctuation question

    The tiger neglected ITS cubs, the cubs are an IT. The cubs do not belong to IT, but to the tiger.
    Therefore, the tiger neglected it's cubs is wrong.

    It's hard to explain... I could never be a teacher!

  4. #4
    HM Lewis

    Re: Punctuation question

    Hi Chris,

    Just memorize this:

    Possessives end in APOSTROPHE S.
    If the name ends in S it is often written APOSTROPHE.
    Since, the contraction for IT IS is it's, to show possession with IT, one writes ITS

    John's cat is fat.
    Chris' cat is fat.

    John's cat is fat. It's (IT IS) ashame that its (THE CAT'S) belly drags on the floor. Chris' cat is fat, but its belly isn't as big.

  5. #5
    mark blanchard

    Re: Punctuation question

    Hm Lewis is correct, but there's an easier way to remember it.

    1) Possessive ITS possesses no apostrophe. (As is: "Her last letter demonstrated its power to convince through its use of persuasive arguements and smooth style."

    2) IT's when it's a contraction of 'it is' or 'it has' uses the apostrophe. (As in: "It's been a long time since I heard from you. I hope it's not due to something I said.")

    Message clear? Good. Now would someone please explain who and whom!


  6. #6
    J. Casey

    Re: Punctuation question

    Forget whom unless it's dialogue protraying a snooty or an extremly genteel person, otherwise stick with who that is used by most people.

  7. #7

    Re: Punctuation question

    The easiest way I determine if I should use IT'S versus ITS is by rereading the sentence aloud. If I can easily substitute IT IS, then I use IT'S. If it's awkward, use ITS.

    I never use WHOM, it usually sounds more awkward than using WHO. I rarely use it in the spoken word. But I believe (I could be wrong) that WHOM is used when it is the subject of a preposition.
    This is the only example I could think of:
    "So this is the boy who I've heard so much about" or
    "So this is the boy of whom I've heard so much about"
    Which do you say???

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