It's = it is. Otherwise, no apostrophe!

I recently posted four simple things to remember about apostrophes on SitePoint. That article arose partly out of my frustration that this incredibly simple punctuation mark is so badly used online.

Jeesh! Why is it so hard to remember that it’s = it is (or occasionally it has)? That’s the test you should use if you’re not sure: can it’s be replaced with it is or it has? If not, leave out the apostrophe.

The confusion is possibly caused by ownership or possession normally being indicated with an apostrophe in English—as in the dog’s bone.

Its is an exception to this: the dog chewed its bone. Including the apostrophe there would make it look like it is, so it’s just as well that we have this exception to the apostrophe of possession rule. It’s at least consistent with the other possessive pronouns in English, which likewise have no apostrophe: hers, yours, ours, theirs, his.

Anyhow, check out the article if you want to make sure you’re on the money with apostrophes!


Not really. You don’t write hi’s or her’s - it’s his, hers, and its - no apostrophe in any of the third person singular possessives…

There are vastly more nouns which do require an apostrophe to make them possessive than pronouns which do not - I’m sure that is what he is referring to, at least, that is what his example (dog’s) indicated.

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Thanks for a great article. This has become a real pet peeve of mine lately.

More and more often I am seeing apostrophes showing up in very strange places on the web, such as “Today I took four dog’s for a walk”. This happens even in so-called professional websites and is very annoying.


Those are the few exceptions—as pointed out—to the general 's for possession. And I assume the mistaken use of the apostrophe on the possessive its is due to not knowing about these exceptions.

Is it worth considering that a large percentage of text is produced mobally (your word for today), suffers from amendments, proof reading overlooked and final draft ignored because editing is tedious?

U R right

If one has no problem with something like that, there’s little chance they’ll be concerned about an apostrophe here or there

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In an informal conversation between friends, I can accept some level of slapdashery around spelling and punctuation. Beyond that … if you (ie you, anonymous author, not you, John) don’t know me, I expect you to put in the effort to get it right, just like I would for you. If you can’t be bothered to do that then I can’t be bothered to put in the effort to decipher and decode your text-sludge. That’s irrespective of the medium.


They are not actually exceptions. None of the pronouns use apostrophes to indicate possession the pronouns indicate possession by their existance.

You could say the rule is pronouns don’t use an apostrophe but other nouns do.

Is that a cromulent word?

Wow. ‘mobally’ I could guess, but ‘cromulent’? I’ve never used the dictionary so much in one day!

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That’s an ineluctable challenge to some of us!

Mobally is a word I have not come across before now, I can guess its meaning, but can’t find any reference to it on-line as an adjective.

I can’t find it either, although I think we’re looking for it as an adverb.

I have seen some tangential references to it as a possible solution for the need for an adverb form of “mobile” but it’s in no dictionary or reference I can find. Can anyone shed light? :smile:

Yes, an adverb not an adjective. I’m confusing my words. Grammar is not my strong point.

Mobally was a deliberate mistake and should be replaced with on mobile applications.

The point I was trying to make was that posting using mobiles is remarkably difficult due to:

  1. spurious text editor corrections
  2. proof reading overlooked
  3. text selection is virtually impossible

I hope that clarifies my previous post.


If mobally was a mistake, how did I manage to find its definition when I googled it so see if I was right?

Because there’s nothing new under the sun. :smile:

I acknowledge your point and in future will pay more attention to proof reading. If the errors are too difficult to correct then I will wait until a desktop is available before posting.

I don’t know, I couldn’t find it. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough.

So you are saying it’s incromulent… Is that a word?

Yes we understand :smile: It is common in informal communication for strict grammar to be ignored rather that writing proper like what I does.

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