Ask Pat: “it(‘)s?” -UPDATED!

tom asks—

Is there a good reason why you often and erroneously put an apostrophe in the possessive form of “it?” (See e.g., “Photo radar has it’s use,” “This book (along with it’s Canadian version” and others too numerous to mention).
“It’s” is a contraction of “it is” and nothing else. Possessive pronouns don’t take apostrophes: we write “my,” “your,” “his,” “her,” “its,” “our,” “their,” “whose,” and so on. I’m only bringing this up because you’re a fine writer, which makes these occasional punctuation lapses even more jarring. It’s like seeing you smile with a piece of lettuce in your teeth.
Anyway, thanks for letting me sound off. I’m glad we have you on the city council, and I’ll keep on enjoying your articles — with or without the apostrophes.

Simple answer: Much like my penchant for ending sentences with prepositions, starting them with conjunctions, and generally letting them run on past any kind of social norm, I need an editor. I am pretty proud of my punctuation overall, but have a frenetic writing style, terrible typing skills, do most of my writing in me free time distressingly close to midnight, and hardly have the time to edit my own stuff, so bad practices slip through. Or maybe I just put them there to see if you are paying attention. Really, I just need an editor.

Thanks for reading.


…and to the three (3!) people who have already written me offering editing services for as little as a penny a word: No. You see, this little blogging hobby of mine returns me exactly zero dollars, and I am in no position to pay someone to facilitate my hobby. Oh, god, no! SEO and “Monetize your Blog” people, please don’t write me now, not interested, not doing it, can’t even imagine why I would.

You might want to look at this page (oh, boy, it really needs an update!) about why I am doing this. I started blogging for the fun of it, and because I had a lot to say about things in the City and about the state of the world. I now do it for somewhat different communications goals – I want people to understand a bit more about what City Council does and how I, as a newbie Councillor, am learning to understand the job. I also want to make it easier for people (especially those who disagree with me) to understand how I approach issues in the City, as I generally find the “traditional media” doesn’t have the time or inclination to dig past the he-said/she-said aspect of most stories. If things go well, it will probably turn into an X-year running journal of idealism slowly eroded by cynicism as my soul is systematically hollowed out by the sheer impossibility of representative governance. Or everything will be good. Who knows? Should be fun to see.

However, it will always be amateur-hour here at GreenNewWest NWimby because that is what people (and by “people”, I mean “me”) come here for, and because the world is full of really interesting professional writer types that you should be reading if you want quality professional writing skills with editors. Just today, a great new source of professionally-curated, well-written, excellently edited, and beautifully presented on-line and print media has entered the Hyper-local New Westminster scene. I’m really looking forward to where Tenth to the Fraser is going to take us!

One comment on “Ask Pat: “it(‘)s?” -UPDATED!

  1. Pat, why displace the locus of control? “It’s vs. its” isn’t that difficult of a grammatical concept; a simple “I will try to do better with this” would do. When you suggest that you need to outsource proper writing to an editor, it’s easy for me as a taxpayer to jump to assumptions that this mode of thinking might permeate into other areas of your work for Joe taxpayer (from reading your other posts I’m inclined to believe that you’re actually working hard for us).

    Perhaps I’m tired and grumpy, but there’s a very vague line between coming off as casual, frank and approachable, and accidentally coming off as arrogant and suggesting that it’s too much to expect a politician to be able to convey their thoughts in writing clearly and correctly.

    P.S. don’t let this dissuade you from blogging — just another voter with $0.02 to share.

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