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Jan Freeman has a lovely post (link) in her blog (Throw Grammar From the Train). Shee cites this passage from another language blog about whether it's for its is a typo, spelling/punctuation mistake, or grammatical error:
quote:
A: On a superficial level, this qualifies as both a punctuation error and a spelling error.
But on a deeper level, it’s a grammatical error, because it represents a failure to distinguish between (1) the possessive pronoun and (2) the contraction.
She points out that somebody's writing "It's tires are flat" does not indicate that the person does not understand the difference between the third person possessive neuter pronoun and a contraction of subject and copula.

1. Its tires are flat.
2. *It is tires are flat.

I think that peevers are disturbed by innocuous ephemera at a fundamentally deeper level than the rest of us.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I saw that quoted on another blog and, while I do like to see "its" and "it's" used according to the conventional paradigms, I can't think of a single instance where it will cause a problem in understanding.

I make typos of this nature often enough myself to cut others some slack when I see it.
 
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There is no way of telling, apart from context, if a speaker is using its, it's, or *its', for that matter. Why attach such importance to the written word when we don't worry about it in spoken English?


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Why attach such importance to the written word when we don't worry about it in spoken English?

Exactly. By nature language is ambiguous. Ambiguous sentences (or utterances) can usually be disambiguated by rewritten (respeaking). Just because some text is ambiguous does not mean that it is ungrammatical.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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The writers of the Grammarphobia blog have responded. If I may:

quote:
The language blogger Jan Freeman argues that these “its”/“it’s” errors are merely typos, but comments from readers of our books, articles, and postings over the last 15 years suggest otherwise.


Freeman never said they were typos. A typo is a one-time spelling mistake, right? But there are other kinds of mistakes. If someone sincerely believes that a word is spelled a certain (wrong) way, it's not a typo, but it's still a spelling mistake.

quote:

Although a lot of the mistakes are undoubtedly typos, many, many people believe the presence of an apostrophe in “it’s” makes it a possessive.


This is the same superficial spelling error you noted already.

quote:

In fact, Pat’s first book, Woe Is I, was inspired by a publisher whose highly educated, adult children didn’t know the difference between these two words.


That doesn't make it a grammar error.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
 
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