It’s, its, it is: the oddities of grammar and does it really matter?

And isn’t grammar odd! Yes, there are rules, but there always seem to be exceptions. But It’s is quite straight forward. The apostrophe means there is a missing letter or letters. So it could mean ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. And that is the only time there should be an apostrophe included. Its means ‘belonging to it’ as in: I can’t drive the car; its tyres are flat.

So – no apostrophe in Its unless there are missing letters. (Three hundred years ago, it would have been: I can’t drive the car, it’s tyres are flat. But that was a long time ago. And they didn’t have cars then, anyway 😉)

The bigger question is – does it really matter?

Well… yes and no. Grammar, (in my opinion) is to make sure the written word is understood correctly. So as long as you can understand the written piece as it was intended to be understood, that’s fine. But often, even if incorrect grammar doesn’t lead to a misunderstanding, it can detract from the reading experience for some people by pulling them out of the story.

When you’re writing fiction, to me, it’s all about the story. Grammar, if incorrect, might confuse the reader or deflect their attention. But the good news is that grammar can always be corrected. Many computer programmes (like WORD) will pick up errors. Or it can be checked when editing. Always keep a copy of Strunk & White close by and you won’t go far wrong.

Just remember that your first draft of anything fictional should always be about the story. If you’re not great at grammar, (or spelling, come to that) don’t worry! Just sort it later. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy.

(NB. I couldn’t think of a nice picture to go with this post. So you’ve got a photo of some cute piggies…Ahhh.)