PDA

View Full Version : Rules Demons



Shadow_Ferret
01-25-2006, 12:02 AM
Is there a grammar rule, spelling, or what-have-you that just is so spiteful you can't lock it down in your memory?

For instance, its and it's. I tell you this right now. I have tried for 40-some years now to try and remember this one and so help me I'll go to my grave having to look it up.

I have it written on a post-it note on my computer. "It's = contraction. Its = possessive." My copy of Strunk and White falls open to page 1 automatically because I've looked it up so many times.

Why can't I remember that? I don't know. It's driving me crazy!

Do you have your own personal Rules Demon?

TheIT
01-25-2006, 12:05 AM
When to double letters. On some words like "embarrass" I can never remember whether it's one or two r's.

three seven
01-25-2006, 12:27 AM
I can't remember which one's practise and which one's practice. Ever. And I've looked it up maybe a million billion times.

Unique
01-25-2006, 12:31 AM
The spelling of certain words gets me every time.
Like mayonnaise, or is it mayonaise? One n? Two n's?
It seems like the same words over and over.

Except for definitely. I learned that one last year. (It's mine, mine, mine!!!)

There is hope - but definitely no rhyme or reason.

writerterri
01-25-2006, 12:49 AM
Don't worry honey, if it's longer than 5 words, edit: I mean letters, I have to spell check it.


Comming looks better to me than coming.

Begining and beginning, I can't remember.

Good-by and goodbye good-bye all looks the same to me. Can't remember those.


When it comes to it's and its, I always ask myself if I'm saying it is or its. If I'm saying it is and I know I don't want to use the two words, then I know I want to use the ' as a way to shorten it. So before you write its or it's, ask yourself what you are saying, its=poss. or it is. It's is slang for it is. You're or you are replacing the missing letters with an ' . Like they're= they are. It's= it is.

Shadow_Ferret
01-25-2006, 01:23 AM
I've tried that Terri, and it works for all of a few weeks, then I start questioning again.

"Wait, if it is mine, then it is Ferret's, so why if it is possessive isn't it it's, too?"
I also wonder because every-now-and-then Word highlights it as misspelled even when I'm pretty sure it's correct. That's what prompted this one. It was highlighting an it's which I was pretty sure was correct as it is but then Word got me all discumbobulated.

My sentence was:

One doesnít visit the astral plane, it isnít so much a place per se as a passage, itís a way to get to other places.

And I thought at least the "it's" was correct grammatically. Unless something else is wrong in the sentence and Word is flagging that because I have an error elsewhere.

reph
01-25-2006, 02:32 AM
Ferret, no, I don't have any demons like that. Visual memory runs in families, and I got a good dose of it.

What Terri said is right. The apostrophe stands in place of what's left out. The other trick with "its/it's" is that the possessive OF A PRONOUN doesn't have an apostrophe even if it ends in "s." His, hers, yours, ours, theirs, its.

The "it's" in your sentence is correct. Maybe Word flagged the sentence because it's a runon. It has three independent clauses separated by commas.

SC Harrison
01-25-2006, 03:15 AM
For instance, its and it's. I tell you this right now. I have tried for 40-some years now to try and remember this one and so help me I'll go to my grave having to look it up.



Thanks for this thread. Its and it's gets me constantly also. Half of the post edits I do are to fix this problem, before the intelligent folks here read it and think I'm a dumb-@$$. It's the possessive thing. I think I subconsciously avoid removing the apostrophe for fear I'm taking away the thing that "it" owns.

roach
01-25-2006, 06:12 AM
I have the same problem re: it's/its. And Word doesn't help because it has highlighted the usage as wrong when it's not.

What I've started doing, to help differentiate* the two is to say "the possessive its does not possess an ' " and that helps sometimes.

*I had to look that one up.

Sage
01-25-2006, 06:19 AM
I've tried that Terri, and it works for all of a few weeks, then I start questioning again.

"Wait, if it is mine, then it is Ferret's, so why if it is possessive isn't it it's, too?"
I also wonder because every-now-and-then Word highlights it as misspelled even when I'm pretty sure it's correct. That's what prompted this one. It was highlighting an it's which I was pretty sure was correct as it is but then Word got me all discumbobulated.

My sentence was:
Quote:
One doesnít visit the astral plane, it isnít so much a place per se as a passage, itís a way to get to other places.


And I thought at least the "it's" was correct grammatically. Unless something else is wrong in the sentence and Word is flagging that because I have an error elsewhere.The "it's" is correct, but it should probably be a new sentence after "plane" and another after "passage."

A good way to remember for me, is to try & separate it. If "it is" doesn't work in place of the "it's," you should lose the appostrophe.

Jo
01-25-2006, 06:31 AM
My sentence was: One doesnít visit the astral plane, it isnít so much a place per se as a passage, itís a way to get to other places.


And I thought at least the "it's" was correct grammatically. Unless something else is wrong in the sentence and Word is flagging that because I have an error elsewhere.

Ferret, if you right click on the flagged word, you'll find Word is suggesting "and it's" instead of "it's". The box that comes up from right clicking the flagged word/sentence will also offer a reason for the flagging (click on Grammar, but be aware that not all Word suggestions are appropriate or necessary).

Shadow_Ferret
01-25-2006, 07:37 AM
Ferret, if you right click on the flagged word, you'll find Word is suggesting "and it's" instead of "it's". The box that comes up from right clicking the flagged word/sentence will also offer a reason for the flagging (click on Grammar, but be aware that not all Word suggestions are appropriate or necessary).

Doh!

Thanks. But I'm leaving my post-it up nonetheless. ;)

poetinahat
01-25-2006, 07:43 AM
who(m)

Shadow_Ferret
01-25-2006, 07:52 AM
I didn't include who(m) because that's one I've never fully understand and no teacher or book has been able to explain to my satisfaction whereas it's and its I understand, just have a mental block keeping straight.

poetinahat
01-25-2006, 07:54 AM
Same. I thought it was just direct vs indirect object, but I've been told that's wrong. The rules I've been told for it are worse than the US income tax instructions.

maestrowork
01-25-2006, 07:58 AM
Advise vs. advice

commitment vs. committment

that which... ;)

would have had done it... (yikes!)

poetinahat
01-25-2006, 08:01 AM
motherf***er, mother-f***er, mother f***er

blacbird
01-25-2006, 09:25 AM
I can't remember which one's practise and which one's practice. Ever. And I've looked it up maybe a million billion times.

You're right with either, technically. Brits use "practise" and Yanks use "practice".

caw.

AdamH
01-25-2006, 09:43 AM
motherf***er, mother-f***er, mother f***er

The answer to this depends on the situation and context your in. I get confused on that sometimes too.


The one that always gets me is recieve and receive. I know the rule "I before E except after C." But it still screws me up because when I spell it right it still looks wrong.

writerterri
01-25-2006, 10:38 AM
motherf***er, mother-f***er, mother f***er



Okay, now I see it. whew

mkcbunny
01-25-2006, 11:44 AM
license [look it up every ... single ... time ...]

Old Hack
01-25-2006, 02:52 PM
You're right with either, technically. Brits use "practise" and Yanks use "practice".

caw.

I use both--practice and practise--but I can never remember which one to use when. I think that one has a Surveying Practice, but one practises surveying... or I could have got that the wrong way round. Similarly with its and it's, discreet and discrete... the list goes on and on.

I think I have the hang of who vs. whom, though: I re-write the sentence using the words him or his in place of who or whom: if I'd need him, then I'd use whom (see? him and whom, they end with the same letters), if I'd need his, I'd use who. Without an m. Does anyone else understand what I just said there or is it just me?

Celia Cyanide
01-25-2006, 05:04 PM
"Wait, if it is mine, then it is Ferret's, so why if it is possessive isn't it it's, too?"

You know, Ferret. I don't have a problem remembering the its vs it's rule, but I get what you're saying, and it has always bothered me. Take, for example, this ashtray. It belongs to the club where I work. It's the club's ashtray, but if I substitute the pronouns, it's its ashtray. Why an apostrophe s in one, but not the other?

I'm sure I have some, if I can think of them. Great thread.

mmm... pancakes
01-25-2006, 08:50 PM
I don't usually have many problems - except spelling "gauge", "guard" and typing words that end -re instead of -er.

But recently I've caught myself - after two years of living in China - beginning to speak Chinglish... I keep mixing up when I ought to use is/are, I use words in their singular forms to keep speech simple... but I'm going home soon so don't despair. Father is soon to be on I head whacking for doesn't speaking proper England.

Shwebb
01-25-2006, 09:49 PM
I have problems with who/whom sometimes. I know that usually "who" is used as a subject, "whom" as an object. Even when I diagram the sentence in my mind, "whom" seems appropriate but doesn't sound right. Or sometimes using "whom," to me, sounds pretentious and uppity, so I use "who" for the more familiar connotation.

farther/further can give me problems.

Or the linguistic acrobatics it takes to remove the preposition from the end of a sentence. (Unless I'm writing formally, I usually don't bother--the average person probably doesn't care where the heck I put my prepositions, anyway.)

Celia Cyanide
01-25-2006, 10:51 PM
whose and who's. I know it, but I always forget.

maestrowork
01-26-2006, 12:49 AM
I really don't get this and how it should be use (help please):


I would have liked to have seen Mel Brooks write this script, not Albert Brooks.

Also, usually I'm okay with the following, but sometimes I goof and I have to remind myself during rewrite:


Listening to the sound of rain, the slow rhythm makes me sleepy.

reph
01-26-2006, 03:28 AM
I really don't get this and how it should be use (help please):
Quote:
I would have liked to have seen Mel Brooks write this script, not Albert Brooks.

Also, usually I'm okay with the following, but sometimes I goof and I have to remind myself during rewrite:

Quote:
Listening the sound of rain, the slow rhythm makes me sleepy.
Both sentences need help.

First one: If you mean "I wish Mel had written this script," say "I would have liked to see." I'm imagining Mel as the scriptwriter; it's a sight I would have enjoyed.

Occasions for "would have...have done" and such combinations are rare. "Yesterday, when that rainstorm came up, I would have liked to have thought to bring an umbrella."

Second one: I don't like this construction. Rhythm doesn't listen. (And a "to" is missing, but that may be an accident. Listening to the sound of rain.) Many readers won't mind, though. The sentence isn't far removed from similar danglers that have become acceptable, like "Judging from the overgrown weeds and boarded-up windows, no one has lived in the house recently."

maestrowork
01-26-2006, 03:46 AM
Second one: I don't like this construction. Rhythm doesn't listen. (And a "to" is missing, but that may be an accident. Listening to the sound of rain.) Many readers won't mind, though. The sentence isn't far removed from similar danglers that have become acceptable, like "Judging from the overgrown weeds and boarded-up windows, no one has lived in the house recently."

Reph, I meant to say that the second sentence was wrong, but it's a mistake I usually don't make, but sometimes I goofed.

It should be: "Listening to the sound of rain, I slowly fell asleep."