Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grammatical Rebellion

"I can't be bothered to read any of this until you learn to use apostrophes correctly, like you should have done in grade school" - Rollory

I do so love it when people taste their own feet.  Let us discuss the apostrophe shall we?  It's about time Rollory got an education on it's use.

Did you catch that?  **GASP**  I just used it's for a contraction... then I used the same it's for a possessive!  Why I am a moron!  I should've learned in grade school that its is possessive!  I mean Nate's been to elementary school so somewhere in Nate's books it must have taught it.  Right?

I mean the word "it" is totally different though.  It's special.

Listen up people... it's time for a history lesson, and a grammar lesson, all rolled into one.   It turns out that your beloved rule about the apostrophe and the word "it" is in fact a load of bovine excrement.  In fact the rule was the exact opposite until the 19th century.  Originally the word "tis" was used where today we use "it is", and "it's" was used only as the possessive.  As "tis" fell out of use in the late 18th century things had to change.  It turns out though... that all through the 19th century "it's" was used for both.  Which, by the way, is far more consistent and logical than the stupid rule forced on us today.  After all... that's how we treat every other word in the language.

Folks... in every other case an apostrophe is used for both contractions... and to denote the possessive.  It is up to the reader to denote the meaning from the context.  Nate's running late... or Nate's running shoes.  It's all up to you the reader.

If you can lay out a case as to what about "it" makes it so special that it needs it's own rule today when it got along for centuries just fine, I should like to hear it.

It's or It's people.  There is no its.

Stand and fight with me!


Raggededge said...

'Tis a sad day indeed when Nate lets an ankle biter get under his skin.

I liked your original response to Rollory much better. 'Twas apropos.

Daniel said...

My case for two it(s):

It's fun to blitz with wits who itch and fit 'bout which its it is.

While the itiodic it's fit goes under the bus, how about tossing the folks who correct "more importantly" to "more important" for no discernible reason whatsoever except that they think they heard about it once in junior high.

People think the English language is some arcane megalith. What's so great about it is it is one of the more flexible neological languages out there.

Pretending you aint sposta fiddle with it soze it follows the imaginary rules of "sense" (or worse - grammar) just makes you sound like a dummy putting on airs.

Grammar in English is a set of guidelines, not a set of rules. It is important to know the guidelines so you can deflate idiocy like "its/it's" and so you can generally be clear.

But Thomas Jefferson wrote like an idiot by the completely idiotic grammar myths of today.

Thanks, public schools for another random thing you've standardized to the most pathetic setting.

Nate said...

"I liked your original response to Rollory much better. 'Twas apropos."

meh... I've explained this a few times in the comments of other blogs before... and have been meaning to do a post on it for a while.

Rollory just gave me an excuse.

Nate said...

Daniel... you're correct about TJ... and it was reading a bunch of 19th century writings that actually clued me into this quirk of the language. I have lots of books from that time... and none of them had the word "its" in them.

And of course... those wishing to claim that education today is much better than it was then would often point to such grammar "errors" in their defense.

Irony much?

Athor Pel said...

I got one suggestion for English grammar nazis, go learn another language, like Korean for example. Then start paying attention to just how many rule exceptions there are in English, (grammar, spelling and pronunciation), compared to just about any other language on the planet. English is a train wreck and a mongrel of a language. That we tolerate it says more about the adaptability of the human brain than it does about how 'wonderful' a language it is.

Now go learn some Polish and find some Polish literature from Chaucer's time. You'll notice very little language drift in Polish. Now go read some Chaucer. Is it English?

Now go read some newspapers from 1760's America and then 1860's America, then 1960's America and finally newspapers of today. Notice anything? Do you feel stupid yet?

Nate said...

Preach Athor.

Susan said...

Riddle me this Batman. How did Rollory know you committed these grammatical errors if he states that he will not read your post until you fix them?

Or am I missing something here? Frankly I just count reading Nate stuff as learning another language. So technically I guess you could say that we are all bilingual.

Nate said...

Consider me the Monet of grammar.

Crispy said...

Thanks for the history lesson!

Curious whether other pronouns besides "it" used apostrophes in the possessive case: my, your, thy, his, her, their, or analogues thereof.

Vidad said...

I'm not buying it, dude.

Even if I did agree with your archaic use of "it's", WTF is up with "Blog's of Interest?"

Do the blogs own "of interest?"

Is this an abbreviation for "Blog is of Interest?"

If so - why are you using the singular form for multiple blogs?


Nate said...

What are you talking about?




Nate said...

theirs, his, and hers don't use apostrophes... but they are special cases because you can't contract "his is" or "her is".

Their deal's with this by having three different ways to spell the word... ie... there's... for "there is" and "their" or "their's" for possessive.

That really isn't an option for the word it. I mean what alternative spellings can you come up with? et? yt? it doesnt' work.

Nate said...

deal's? DAMMIT!

Vidad! This is your fault!

Raggededge said...

This is turning into comedy gold.

Vidad said...

"Death By a Thousand Apostrophes."

Nate said...

It's nothing of the sort!

Vidad said...

What? You don't like the taste of feet's, you weaselly blameshifter you?

It's blogger's fault's! It's Vidad's fault's! (I mean its! No I dont! I mean it's. I mean i't's'!!!1!!!1!)


Res Ipsa said...

Nate if you are, you're, gonna start using grammer more proper does this mean I gotta start spell check'n my comments?

WaterBoy said...

Nate: "In fact the rule was the exact opposite until the 19th century."


[Some of your own advice:]

Nate: "Look this is hard for people to accept but things have changed big time."

And then this, in the same comment:

"Accept it. Its reality."

O, Delicious Irony....

WaterBoy said...

"If you can lay out a case as to what about "it" makes it so special that it needs it's own rule today when it got along for centuries just fine, I should like to hear it."

The justification for doing so lies in the fact that although "its" is an adjective, it still has a pronoun as the root -- so should be treated like the other pronouns with an 's' at the end which indicate possession (his, hers, yours, theirs, ours)...none of which are apostrophized.

The case could be made either way, really; it's just individual preference which should be the proper way.

Cool Hand said...

I can buy off on that, let's (heh) see the defense of the period usage.

Nate said...

Style. Stands up all day long.

Nate said...


There is a difference in technological advancement changing society... and stupid illogical grammatical rules that are both inconsistent and... illogical....

WaterBoy said...

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. It's still a subjective and arbitrary criteria to determine value in keeping one archaic form but not the other.

Digital devices may have rendered the pen superfluous, but you can still get them, quite easily.

And inconsistent? If we were to be consistent about it, then it should be me's, him's, her's, your's, our's, and their's.

I mean, what's so special about "my" and "mine", anyway, that they should be allowed to break the rules?

Nate said...

Because Asthetics!

Anonymous said...

One of my English profs challenged me to never use the word 'it' in my writing. Because "it's" and "its" confuses me, I find that meeting that challenge is actually taking the easy way out.