Their/There/They're . . .AND . . .Its/It's . . . AND OTHER NASTY BITS


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Thread: Their/There/They're . . .AND . . .Its/It's . . . AND OTHER NASTY BITS

  1. #1

    Their/There/They're . . .AND . . .Its/It's . . . AND OTHER NASTY BITS

    Getting these dumbass little function words right is, for some users of English, right up there with practicing the mysteries of Alchemy or translating Kant into Urdu.

    Using them incorrectly simply makes your work look amateurish or careless. Who needs either?

    Let's fix this once and for all.

    I taught English for over 30 years. The tips below worked for thousands of students. They'll work for you.
    _______________________________________

    They're going to build their house over there


    They're = contraction of 'they are'. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. So how easy is that? If you canNOT substitute 'they are' for it, then this is not the form of the word you want. NOT. NOT. PERIOD.

    Their = pronoun. 90% of the time = PEOPLE. Sometimes wolves, salamanders, gophers, spiders, and bald eagles, but you can bet money this 'their' will refer to a LIVING BEING. No living being in sight? Wrong form of the word. PERIOD.

    There = location. Even in tricky sentences like "There is nothing wrong" the 'there' indicates location. PERIOD

    TIPS

    1. 'They're' as a contraction is just too obvious to waste time on. See above.

    2. That leaves the other two . . .but you only need to memorize ONE. Say you go for the easy one: THEIR. If it's a living thing, you use THEIR. If it is not a living thing, you want THE OTHER ONE.

    ______________________________

    ITS and IT'S

    ITS is a pronoun, functionally equivalent to HIS and HER

    Soooooo, here's a Rule: If you can substitute 'his' or 'her' for your proposed use, then you want 'its'.

    Examples: 'He ate its (his/her)dinner'; 'No one wants its (his/her) disease' ; "Statistics prove its (his/her) truth". NOTE that last sentence. You would probably never say "statistics prove her truth"--awkward and sort of silly, but that is not the point. It makes GRAMMATICAL sense, and that is all you need to choose the correct form. But look at this: "statistics prove its (his/her) true". Would you write "statistics prove his true"? NO. So that last one is "statistics prove it's true"

    I'll add to these little bits 'n pieces . . . . . .



    ________________________________________________

    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  2. #2
    "Their" can refer to inanimate objects and what belongs to them:

    Mountains and their steep slopes.

    Trains and their long journeys.

    Cars and their ​fucking alternators.
    Last edited by TL Murphy; March 22nd, 2020 at 01:23 AM.

  3. #3
    It's going to be difficult trying not to discuss the dreaded IT!

    Its been eating my lettuce. Or is it: It's been eating my lettuce? (It has?)
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  4. #4
    I do occasionally write their for there or vice versa, but that's only because my attention might wander. I pick it up on an edit.

    As far as "it" goes, a good rule of thumb is to only use an apostrophe if you're omitting a letter.

    it's - it is

    its - belonging to it


  5. #5
    It is and it has are both made into contractions - it's

    It's come to my attention.

  6. #6
    It's something that always amazes me, as foreigner, non-native speaker. My English is far from perfect, as everyone here knows, but its, it's and there, their, they're have never given me any problem.
    Can you explain that to me? Why it's such an issue? Is it because it sounds the same, or is it a different problem?

  7. #7
    When it comes to lie or lay
    get it wrong to my dismay
    no matter if it's lay or lie
    might as well have slice of pi.

    You know it's bad when to stare at a mistake but don't see it. Like Phil says, catch it on the edit.
    "Self-righteousness never straddles the political fence."

    Midnightpoet


    "The bible says to love your neighbor. It's obvious that over the centuries it has been interpreted as the opposite."
    (sarcasm alert)

    Midnightpoet


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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Darren White View Post
    It's something that always amazes me, as foreigner, non-native speaker. My English is far from perfect, as everyone here knows, but its, it's and there, their, they're have never given me any problem.
    Can you explain that to me? Why it's such an issue? Is it because it sounds the same, or is it a different problem?
    For all us that know better, having learned it some 60-70 years ago, it's just being careless. You start typing along and before you know it you messed up.
    "Self-righteousness never straddles the political fence."

    Midnightpoet


    "The bible says to love your neighbor. It's obvious that over the centuries it has been interpreted as the opposite."
    (sarcasm alert)

    Midnightpoet


    Hidden Content Hidden Content

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