Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Living in a Bilingual World (The One About It's/Its)

'Man Reacting to the Murder of Its by It's on Millennium Bridge
(Edvard Munch, 2005)
Part of the current exhibition at the National Gallery
'The Internecine Schisms in the English Language
and their Effects on Contemporary British Society'
1st Oct 2008 - 1st Feb 2010 (extended due to popular acclaim)
The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square

For more titles from this series, please click here and here.

Next post: Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music, Ad Infinitum to be published on Thursday 14th May at 11:59pm GMT

Copyright 2009


  1. Oh, this is great. The misuse of its by it's drives me totally insane. The Munch depicts my reaction to a tee!

  2. Hello Mr C
    with all this blogging I have become extra watchful of my its and it's but if you spot an error please forgive me.
    I know I left my Lets without the ' yesterday too lazy to go back and fix it...

    The ones that bother me most are the tomatoe's and potatoe's, the apple's and pear's at the supermarkets...and also the potatoe and tomatoe appear around here sometimes.

    I will be more vigilant with my its and it's


    It's Happy Days to you

  3. As a PS,

    I have noticed that Mr Blog does not like my spelling which is Au-English and is always suggesting alternatives. I find some of the rejects very interesting. He doesn't like traveller for example or dialogue...

  4. Ah, the unbridled expresssionistic expression of the brooding Norski. Unlike the tempestuous southern man, we of the northern climes rarely show our feelings, CiL, but when we do, they come across loud and clear. This painting always makes me smile.

    As for its and it's, grammatical error is not nearly the problem for me as is proof reading my own stuff. I "know" what I am saying/thinking, so I tend to read right through my errors without actually seeing them.

  5. I am afraid to say these(its and it's) are common mistakes when I read various works by various people around here.

  6. Siempre me ha gustado este cuadro... parece pintado por un niño pero una vez lo intenté copiar en clase de pintura y me costó lo suyo... y ni se parecía.

  7. Lol...........I'll bet you do have a few spell check issues with translations and such Cuban.
    Doesn't matter.........we all know that all of your words come from your heart and I think we all "get" it :)
    Love how you threw in "The Scream". I often feel that way meself........
    Have a fantastic day and........

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  8. Many thanks for your comments. I must admit that when it comes to apostrophes it's names ending in 's' in English and indicating possession that get me. I usually write "Jones'" instead of "Jones's". Luckily at work I have The Guardian Book of English Language whereas at home I have the latest copy of The Economist Guide to English Language.

    Fram, I think that most bloggers will confess to undergoing a similar phenomenon. I still go back sometimes to posts I have uploaded and check for misspellings and grammatical errors.

    Delwyn, I know, Australian English gets a hard time with the spellchecker, I get it whenever I visit a site based in the US, too :-).

    Ramon, por lo menos trataste, compa! :-D

    Midlife, I have to be ever so careful with writing in English. When I write in my native tongue I can be as inventive as I want to. But when I switch to English sometimes I have to rein myself in. Long sentences are definitely a no-no, although if you read Rushdie and Gordimer you'll realise that they mock the traditional short sentence that is so customary of the English lingo.

    Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  9. There isn't a time when I don't have to pause and decide which its, it's, it is. It is easier to write 2 words instead of it's, don't you think that's it?
    Poor Munch..I always thought he was more profound..how the mighty fall!! It is (coward's way out) a shame..

  10. Guilty as charged, now that is the truth. Thanks for helping me along and for your recommended reference books.

    BTW, are you a bilingual dreamer?

  11. The bar continues to rise...

    'tis the dangling preposition I must still run from ;-) Now I must mind my its and it's.

    After all this learnin', we will sound downright educated.

  12. This is really good. I won't miss the exhibition!

    As someone who has learnt English (grammar and all that) I'm very sensitive to its-es and it's-es. I did notice how confusing it's becoming. No wonder that poor guys is screaming his head off.

  13. Great post - wish I'd had time last week to make this exhibition,I was in London for the day on my way back from Stratford
    I promise to be more caeful with my its and it's in future..^_^

  14. oh dear...
    it's quite a phenomenon !

    i enjoyed very much reading your little tale in my comment section. So true...it's all about making your instrument talk !
    BTW, it would be great if you set up an afro-cuban dance workshop at the next Hay Festival in Granada!

  15. Oh, boy. Now you've done it! I speak the bastardized Yankee English and we don't do crisps and lorries. Like, you know, it's uh, like crazy tragic and gnarly, dude.

  16. Many thanks for your kind comments. Yes, I dream in two or even three languages sometimes. And it's quite confusing.

    My castle, I would love to. In fact, there's a Brazilian lady who lives in Bubion and asked me to teach when I go next time. The problem is to find good musicians who can play bata and/or conga drums.

    Lyn, fully agree with you. That's why I try to avoid contractions when I write posts.

    Gabby, it's the same problem here in Blighty.

    Polly, amazingly enough, it's us, the non-native, who are flying the flag for English grammar, so to speak :-). No, I'm just joking, I know many a conscientious Brit who does use his/her 'its' and "it's" correctly.

    Many thanks for your comments.

    Greetings from London.

  17. Oh my goodness - this stings. I'm hopeless when it comes to grammer. I must have slept (and dreamed) my way through lessons at school. I know a bad workman always blames his tools, nevertheless, I blame Miss Cavendish. Ghastly woman. Grammer, for me, is like looking into a gaping chasm. There is no end the hell of it all.

    My husband, however, is rather brilliant - so he is my reference book.

  18. It's its are really it, don't you think?

  19. Thanks, Tessa and dave. Grammar was always daily staple in uni, Tessa, so I got used to it very quickly and English grammar is not as complez as Spanish or German. Dave, that's brilliant, mate!

    Greetings from London.

  20. Boy oh boy, it's a screamer, alright!! But, mastering the rules of grammar is its own reward:)

  21. ha! just posted about some of my own grammar woes today. but it's and its?? no problem.

    (now if you find the 2 misused somewhere on my blog, don't hold it against me. fast typing, not thinking, etc, etc. lol!)

  22. Many thanks, fly and every photo. I just realised that I wrote 'complez' instead of 'complex'. You see, fly? Fast tTyping, it's a problem :-)!

    Greetings from London.



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