“’This embarrasses you and I’: Grammar Gaffes Invade the Office in an Age of Informal Email, Texting and Twitter” had over 600 comments a few hours after it was published in The Wall Street Journal online. The URL is below. Simple mistakes make a bad impression. Let's fix the problem.
I will save you from the kind of error that hurts your image. I won’t grade your question or your work, and I will cheerfully accept your corrections to my writing although I may disagree. You will have the simple answer and then the explanation because often you need the answer and can wait for the reason.
Let’s start with a very basic issue: the difference between it’s and its. If you understand the information in two bullets below, you will not make a mistake.
- “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.” The word cannot be anything else, nada, zilch. Examples: It’s time to take grammar seriously. It’s been too long since we talked.
- In "wouldn’t," the contraction for would not, the apostrophe takes the place of the letter o. In “it’s,” the apostrophe is the missing letter i.
The confusion arises, I think, because usually in English we use apostrophes for possession as in the “owner’s deed” for the “deed of the owner.”
The problem comes with possessive words (they’re pronouns but we can talk about that later) like hers, its, theirs, yours, ours. Examples: The dog is eating from its dish. Yours is a story I want to hear.
The way to keep from making an it’s/its mistake in this example is to ask whether “from it is dish” makes any sense at all. Remember, it's means it is and nothing else.
Yet to come: the difference between lie and lay, affect and effect, I and me, and anything else you would like to discuss including why the AP approves the lack of a comma after “Texting” in the first paragraph.
Check out the WSJ article at this link.