Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Grammar Blog No. 1

Being a writer does something odd to your brain, Noble Reader. Given enough time it can turn an ordinary, well-disposed individual into a crazy word-Nazi.

Yes, I'm talking about pedantry here. We writers spend thousands of hours working with words, and sooner or later we get to love them, even if we didn't to begin with. It's like the relationship a craftsman builds up with his tools. And like that craftsman, the writer winces when he sees those tools chucked around and stomped on.

We all spend a lot of time in Internetland these days, and many people who have things to say don't necessarily have the tools for the job. Specifically, they have poor spelling and poor grammar. That's fine to some extent. I'd rather they contribute to the Great Ball of Wisdom than fail to do so on account of embarrassment. But ...

One little plea from me. One little favour (or should it be favor?) to get this particular piece of grit out of my shoe. Please, Noble Readers, ask your less-educated friends to learn this one simple rule: the word "its" is not the same as "it's".

That little apostrophe makes all the difference. What it does is show that a letter has been left out, and that's because "it's" is a short version of "it is". That's the only time "it's" uses an apostrophe: when it means "it is". Please remember the one simple rule and do your duty in relieving a part of this immense suffering. Thank you.

As a little distraction, here is a photograph of a beautiful statue of a horse taken in the grounds of Woburn Abbey in the lovely English countryside ...


  1. Nice read and I will return SaBrowny Rae of SaBrowny Rae Books

  2. Thank you, Sir. It is always a pleasure to see a craftsman treat his tools with such respect. I add my plea to yours for the correct use of "its" and also for the care and feeding of the humble semicolon, for he is small, but mighty. Excellent post. Cheers from a fellow wordsmith.

  3. This is confusing for so many people because customarily the apostrophe is used to denote possession. Thanks for clarifying it for us.