It’s Like This – You Should Know Its Meaning

The suggestion for UBC post #3 was to discuss a subject about which we have some knowledge or expertise. I seem to have acquired an interest, and eventually a substantial amount of knowledge, in the area of language arts and writing.  This began early in my life – at least during junior high school (we’re talking a LONG time ago, folks!) – when I became interested in writing.

This interest continued through high school into college, as I took writing courses, published a few poems and school newspaper stories, and submitted occasional articles to newspapers.  When I became a mother, I got involved in home schooling my four children, and endeavored to give them a solid foundation in language arts and basic writing skills.

Ironically, when it was my turn to “grow up” and choose a career outside of parenting, once the “kids” were in their teens and twenties, I didn’t even consider pursuing writing until early 2008 when I “came home” to work!  I have thus far found some success in the freelance writing world, as I’ve managed to produce several hundred articles that are published and dispersed on various sites across the Internet.

That was my lengthy background information to introduce one tip:  I would like to encourage writers – or those endeavoring to be writers and bloggers – to PLEASE learn the difference between words that are possessives and words that are contractions! Yes, there really is a difference!

I think one of my main pet peeves is the wrong use of the word “it” – people often use “it’s” when they mean “its” – and seriously, my brain is trained to think “it is” any time I see “it’s” – so whenever the word is used incorrectly, I get hung up on that word and miss the rest of whatever the person meant to say.

So here you go – a practice exercise I wrote as a sample test question to submit with relevant freelance job applications:

>>In this test question, you need to demonstrate your understanding of the difference between contractions and possessive forms of words. Which of the following sentences demonstrates the correct usage of the word “it”?

a.  Its unusual to have snow in April when its supposed to be spring.

b.  It’s strange to see snow falling in April, when the first day of spring has already announced its presence on the calendar.

c.  You would think winter had run it’s course by now, but its snowing again.


The correct answer is the second one (b.).

Experiencing confusion over the correct times to use “it’s” and “its” is a common error. It’s at a time like this, while taking a test, you should remember its proper use. See what I did there? The word “it’s” is a contraction for two words, “it” and “is” — while the word “its” is the possessive form of the word “it.”

If you get in the habit of thinking or saying “it is” any time you see the word “it’s” you can more easily remember the proper form to use. For instance, looking at our third choice above (c.) you would sound really silly saying, “You would think winter had run it is course by now…”

Similarly, when you use “its” you should always be able to identify what “it” represents. In our correct choice above (b.), for instance, “its presence” refers back to “spring.”<<

I hope you all found that helpful! Even if you rarely make that mistake, it’s still good to refresh your memory once in awhile so you don’t make that error!

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