This morning, once again, while reading an internet write up of a very fine Inn it was talking about “it’s fine dining restaurant”. Herein lies one of the most common grammatical errors known to man or woman. We should know that its (no apostrophe) already is a possessive and is not possessed of an apostrophe. The apostrophe is only used for a contraction of it is (and also it was). Whenever we see an apostrophe we should be able to substitute “it is”.
Here are a couple of useful examples:
The dog happily wagged its tail. (No apostrophe because it’s already a possessive and cannot be replaced with it is.) On the other hand, it’s a beautiful tail. Since it is can replace this “it’s” with “it is”, it’s a contraction. Sometimes little things get to you and according to my therapist it’s good to express them!
While I am at it, let’s air another of my pet peeves. That is the use of the word “unique”. Unique is an adjective and as such, by its very nature, it’s already a superlative. That means that there are no modifiers appropriate to the word unique. I cringe when I hear or read “very unique”. You simply cannot be “very unique”, you can only be “unique”.
Of course, there are many mistakes in grammar or spelling that are harmless, at least to my psyche. For instance, I almost always spell the word also as “aslo” (Thank goodness for spell check). My wonderful wife, Heide, for whom English is a second language, and she uses it beautifully unconstrained by conventional English. For years, the family tried to change a word she uses, but eventually we all decided to enjoy our spring vegetable, “aspagarus”. Among her other creative uses of English are several maxims. Her favorite and her family favorite is, when upset by the way things are going she announces, “That’s the way the cookie bounces!”
Well, Tim Piper’s father had a phrase for everything, but we’ll wait until the muses inspire me to have him share them.
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We hope to see you there.