Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cousin Its

(Pic from
You know what we haven’t talked about in a while? My hair.

My hair is like the sun. Like the sun creates a beautiful sunset right before it disappears into oblivion, my hair experiences a day or two of glory right before it becomes completely unmanageable. I go to bed with Pantene hair; I wake up looking like Cousin Itt. It’s truly a wonder.

My state of mind goes through something similar as a result of my first cup of coffee. Right before I crash, I have an amazing moment or two of caffeine-induced clarity and overall sense of well-being.

Yesterday, during that blissful 120 seconds, I texted this to my husband: I love coffee.

He texted me back: Tell me something I don’t know.

So, what did I do? I Googled 'strange facts' to find something I was sure he didn’t know. And because he’s Aussie, I chose this one: A kangaroo can’t jump unless its tail is touching the ground.

As I was texting him the strange fact, I got into a little fight with my iPhone. When I got to its tail, my iPhone changed its to it’s.

So I tried again, and again it changed it.

Now I’m pissed, right? My iPhone is challenging me- ME- about grammar at the same time as my caffeine high is dwindling.

Plus, I already have an issue with the iPhone for adding our apostrophes. I blame it for making my students too lazy to add their own apostrophes. But, now, on top of that, it’s adding apostrophes incorrectly.

So I would just like to take this time to remind everyone that, despite what Apple would have you think, its is a word. It’s the possessive form of it. For example:

A kangaroo can’t jump unless its tail is touching the ground.

The tail belongs to it.

It’s is short for it is:

It’s fun to watch Kangaroos jump.

Or it has:

It’s been quite a while since I’ve heard such a strange fact.

So, now that that’s out of the way, can we talk about my hair again? Where were we…


Janet Johnson said...

LOL! I was wondering how you'd bring that around. You are amazing. And the bit of hair I can see in your profile pic looks fabulous!

So, did you husband already know that strange fact?

Carolyn Abiad said...

Blackberry likes to screw with me on this one too. Then the little voice in my head needs to reread the sentence every time to be sure.

Ricky said...

The hat suits you...just kidding.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

:) Adorable post. I hate auto-correct, it turns my texts/messages into ridiculous things that should never ever see the light of day. :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

You can never trust an iphone.

Jaya J said...

tell me about iPhones and Spell Checks!
my spelling has gone down the drains due to these.

Dylan Fitzgerald said...

My iPhone and I have a somewhat contentious relationship over the whole spelling thing. Sometimes I honestly believe Steve Jobs is just messing with us.

Side note: I have had a very frustrating day, and your blog nudges me back towards the warm, fuzzy universe where I seek to dwell.

Christopher said...

Damn you Steve Jobs!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh my word, I used to have the worst problem with its and it's. Spanish was my first language, so it was always surprising to my friends that I understood the rules of English grammar so much better than they did. But there are still certain words that sometimes trip me up. I know the difference between those two, but I still find that I have to correct myself sometimes. So annoying. Another thing I have trouble remembering is how to spell vacuum and exaggerate. I always try to double the wrong letter. In fact, I had to correct both of those after typing them. So annoying.

You must have curly hair. Mine is naturally curly, and if I don't straighten it, I can turn into a very unrecognizable beast thing. I sympathize with you. *offers coffee*

Amie Kaufman said...

Okay, first, I'm an Aussie and I didn't know that about kangaroos!

Its/It's is one of my biggest pet peeves. I'll admit I'm not always grammar-perfect, but gah.

Rachel said...

You really know how to wrap a grammar problem with an example. It's such a funny post, i must confess. The phone challenging your english authority (LOL).

I also have the same problem with Microsoft Office when it wants to autocorrect my words. For instance: Favourite with favorite which are both correct but i am more inclined to British English.

Stephen Tremp said...

I can relate ... I hate it when a computer changes the spelling of a word for me because sometimes I type so fast I don't realize it until after the fact.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

I hate the exact same thing on Spell and Grammar check for Microsoft Word! It's its own worst enemy.

MM the Queen of English said...

I love the title of your blog -- it's perfect for an English teacher.

Your blog was very humorous, and I admire your restraint. I'm afraid I might have thrown the phone ----
at the sofa. I'm not crazy -- I know much they cost!

MM the Queen of English

Theresa Milstein said...

I can't believe how many people mix up it's and its. It's bigger problem than there/their/they're and your/you're.

Did you hit "send"?

Lorena said...

As you can see in my profile, my hair is very curly. (And usually freezier than the drawing!) So I understand your morning hair-frustration.

About the grammar issue, yes the possessive for of "it" and the contraction for "it is" seems to be quite a problem for a lot of people. As an ESL writer, my biggest problem are pronouns (and having turned my husband, a native English speaker, as ESL as I am! He's so used to my English that now he can't tell me whether I should use "in" or "on" in a given sentence. (Or is it "on" a sentence?) See what I mean? [sigh]

Lorena said...

I meant "the possessive form of it" (ha, ha!)

ElisaJaime said...

LOL! That was delightful to read. And I really can't believe my eyes when people use these two "its" incorrectly. It's not that hard a distinction! Thanks! :D