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Old 05-20-2019, 01:56 PM   #1
lumpynose
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A little spelling hint

I agree that it is hard to remember which one to use without this little memory aid: think of his and hers when you're wondering whether to use it's or its. The possessive one also doesn't have an apostrophe. (And neither do yours, ours, theirs, and probably others I can't think of.)
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:58 PM   #2
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If only my spell checker could remember this.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:05 PM   #3
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I agree that it is hard to remember...
Who are we agreeing with? Was this thread split from another, or something? Just seems a bit random, is all.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:20 PM   #4
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If only my spell checker could remember this.
My iPhone spell checker flags contractions like "doesn't". I guess the programmers who coded it don't understand contractions like "don't"!
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:23 PM   #5
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Who are we agreeing with? Was this thread split from another, or something? Just seems a bit random, is all.
I suppose I'm agreeing with all of the people I see using the wrong one.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:24 PM   #6
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I still remember it from school (we had a pretty good English teacher).
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Deskisamess View Post
If only my spell checker could remember this.
See if you can remove words from its dictionary and then remove both of them. That way you'd get a reminder to double check that you're using the correct one.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:35 PM   #8
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Given the contradictory nature of English genitive case (ie possessive), I find it easier to just associate the ‘ with contractions.

Of course it also helps that I know that ' originally stood for an omitted vowel. Hence ’Twas (It was). The reason its used most of the time in English genitive case is because the ending used to be “es”. (That said, plurals also used to end in “es”, regardless of the word, and in fact you see the ‘ being used to substitute this missing e in old manuscripts as well)

Last edited by Dylrob; 05-20-2019 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dylrob View Post
Given the contradictory nature of English genitive case (is possessive), I find it easier to just associate the ‘ with contractions.

Of course it also helps that I know that ' originally stood for an omitted vowel. Hence ’Twas (It was). The reason its used most of the time in English genitive case is because the ending used to be “es”. (That said, plurals also used to end in “es”, regardless of the word, and in fact you see the ‘ being used to substitute this missing e in old manuscripts as well)
I like the his and hers helper because for me my fingers are typically on autopilot and type the apostrophe and I need to go back and eyeball it and ask myself if it should be there. When I see the incorrect one used by others it's almost always the contraction used when it should be the possessive sans apostrophe one.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:53 PM   #10
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Possessive pronouns don't have apostrophes. I was taught that when I was about 7 years' old and have never needed to resort to tricks to remember it. It's an elementary spelling rule of English.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:03 PM   #11
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Possessive pronouns don't have apostrophes. I was taught that when I was about 7 years' old and have never needed to resort to tricks to remember it. It's an elementary spelling rule of English.
Yeah, and I'll bet you're a Brit. The English language is in your blood. Over here in the US we've got a little of Irish, Italian, Swedish, Zulu, Latin American, etc. all mixed together. And we don't have the pride in the English language the way you Brits do; for us it's more just a tool and not so much a part of our culture.

Last edited by lumpynose; 05-20-2019 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:17 PM   #12
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I don’t know where “over here” is, but in all seriousness I’d expect any competent English teacher to ensure that their students learned that rule at an early stage of their study of the English language, whether it’s being taught as a first or a foreign language.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:33 PM   #13
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I don’t know where “over here” is, but in all seriousness I’d expect any competent English teacher to ensure that their students learned that rule at an early stage of their study of the English language, whether it’s being taught as a first or a foreign language.
I do not recall ever being specifically taught that. It’s just something you’re supposed to catch onto in the American system at least. ( on the plus side, at least we have a slightly easier spelling system )
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:48 PM   #14
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It’s just something you’re supposed to catch onto in the American system at least.
Exactly. I've always wondered how people who learn English as a second language compare English to their native language and if their native language has so many exceptions, little gotchas, corner cases, and all sorts of quirks and anomalies.

(HarryT, I updated my reply to add the US to it.)
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:00 PM   #15
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Exactly. I've always wondered how people who learn English as a second language compare English to their native language and if their native language has so many exceptions, little gotchas, corner cases, and all sorts of quirks and anomalies.

(HarryT, I updated my reply to add the US to it.)
I've actually had to consult the rules more than once in my native language, because I wasn't absolutely certain of something. But English rules were specifically taught at school. Perhaps it's always the difference between native and foreign languages. You're just expected to know the rules of your own language, whereas foreign languages are "beaten into your head", so to speak.
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