A writing pet peeve


One of my biggest pet peeves in writing is the proper use of the words there, their and they’re, and its and it’s.   I hate, hate, hate people who claim to be writers, yet don’t use these words properly.

I applied for a writer/editor position a couple of months ago with a print magazine.  I was sent an article, previously published, to critique.  There was a sentence in the article that said “…the Nintendo Wii, with it’s multi-player platform…”.  I pointed out that the “it’s” should have been “its” and the editor argued with me.  “It’s” is a contraction – for “it is” or “it has”.  If you use “it’s”, substitute “it is” in its place, and see if your sentence makes sense.  Such as “…the Nintendo Wii, with it is multi-player platform…”  Doesn’t make much sense this way, does it?  Yes, most often, the apostrophe s added to a word makes it possessive.  However, not in the case of “it”.  Actually, the possessive of  “it” is “its”, without the apostrophe.  Yeah, it’s one of the quirks of the English language.

Then there is there, their and they’re.  There, as in “over there” and “There it is” ~ a place, a location.  Their, the possessive of they, as in “their belongings”, “their dog”, “their car”.  They’re, a contraction for “they are” ~ as in “They’re (they are) coming over for dinner”.  I was in the post office the other day, and they had a bin of phone books by the door.  The sign on the bin read “Phone books – Take One – There Free”.

Illiterates, or idiots?


About Beth

I'm a part-time freelance writer, full-time high school CTE administrative assistant, mother, wife and dreamer. In my free time I enjoy reading, crafts, watching movies and spending time with my best friend and love of my life.
This entry was posted in Freelance writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A writing pet peeve

  1. Laura says:

    OMG! I’m with ya on this! I really don’t understand how anyone can be confused by those homophones. But it happens every day, especially on the Web. Funny you should mention the its/it’s mistake, because an EDITOR at Yahoo! made the same mistake. You can see my write-up of it at http://terriblywrite.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/maybe-you-shouldnt-rely-on-an-editor/

    My blog, Terribly Write, chronicles the abuse of the language by the professional writers and editors at the Internet giant. It’s appalling that people get paid to write such crap and that said crap is read by millions of people daily.

    Please take a look at http://terriblywrite.wordpress.com and leave a comment. I’m really interested in your feedback.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s