Recently, I got a second email from a reader who was clearly disturbed by my many mixups of ITS and IT’S. She tried to be nice about it, encouraging me to Blog On! after quoting the snippy but illuminating Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation:
The confusion of the possessive “its” (no apostrophe) with the contractive “it’s” (with the apostrophe) is an unequivocal signal of illiteracy and sets off a simple Pavlovian “kill” response in the average stickler.
I KNOW the difference between it’s and its. ! I just move too fast and have way too much on my plate publishing three times a day to not catch every typo. I am editor-in-chief, photo editor, writer, copy editor, production assistant, designer…I work under pressure. Sometimes, I get blind. I opt to make mistakes publicly rather than not publish at all. (End of rant)
Soon after that email arrived, I stumbled on the great online challenge: You Can’t Write Proper English Under Pressure. Click on the link and press PLAY to find out how well you spot typos and grammar errors …under ….pressure………
Okay, smarty pants. See how you do! (;
Related post: ‘fail better’ (samuel beckett)