Tag Archives: possessives

brought to you by the letter z

Just a quick tip on possessives today: While AP style prefers not to add an extra s when making a word that ends in s possessive, you should add an s when the word ends in z (even though it sounds similar).

Tiger Woods’ indiscretions proved to be a public relations disaster.

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s engagement to Rose McGowan ended in October 2009.

Likewise, add the s to words that end in x, ce or other s sounds.

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it’s or its?

A story on one of my favorite YouTube personalities made the classic it's/its error.

Every time I pick up my red pen, there’s a 95 percent chance I’m going to make this correction. Many people have a tough time determining when to use an apostrophe in “its.” This is understandable, considering that it’s another seemingly arbitrary rule. Grammarians somewhere decided that we needed to be able to distinguish between the contraction that means “it is” and the possessive form of “it.” But what they came up with is an easy rule to memorize: When you’re using the contraction, you need an apostrophe. For the possessive, you drop it.

Here are some examples to help you remember:

It’s a shame that so many famous men cheat on their wives.

Condé Nast ceased publication of its parenting magazine, Cookie, last fall.

Now that it’s down to three designers on Project Runway, I think the show definitely has its mojo back.

The next time you write “it’s,” take a moment and think, “Do I mean ‘it is’?” If so, you’re good to go.