The Difference Between “Its” and “It’s”

The Difference Between “Its” and “It’s” November 14, 2011
Or, Please Don’t Be an Ass-Hat in My Comment Box

So earlier, just as I was on my way to my first-ever Creighton session (more about that tomorrow), my Tardis notification sound wailed on my phone, alerting me to a new email.

It was a blog comment. I glanced at the title, “Anonymous…[Barefoot and Pregnant] New Comment on Me vs. the Weather” and my stomach turned.

In case you thought we bloggers have guts of iron, let me assure you that we (and by we I mean me) are the sissiest of sissies. Every time I get a comment from an Anonymous I feel like I’m going to puke. It is a battle of will to open the email without my hand shaking.

Why, you may ask? Actually if you read my blog a lot you probably won’t have to ask, but I’ll tell you just the same. Many of my anonymous commenters are lovely people who simply don’t have an account with blogger or google or whatever. One is my mother-in-law. Usually the comments are very kind and polite. However, almost without exception all the nasty, rude and hideous comments I’ve gotten have been from “Anonymous”. The best was the “Anonymous” who told me to kill myself.

So it’s with no small amount of trepidation that I approach anonymous comments. Today was no exception.

And the stomach-squirming turned quickly into a nauseous, sinking feeling when I read this:

Anonymous said…

Agree, kinda. Although there’s lots to love about warm weather, too. I realize “warm weather” means something different in Texas than it does up here in the north, though.

(Also, please learn the difference between “its” and “it’s.” Please.)

First things first. Anonymous absolutely has a point. For an English major, my grammar is atrocious. I know it. My husband tells me regularly. My father-in-law sends me emails about it. Some of my sweet friends send me facebook messages gently proof-reading my already published posts. I have an apostrophe problem. (Also, a comma problem and a clause problem and pretty much every other problem you can have, except an emoticon problem, because Simcha scares the hell out of me.) 
I’ve been thinking lately about putting together a reading list of things I have to read before I allow myself to bake brownies again (nothing like true motivation, am I right?), and one of the first things on the list is The Grammar Bible. I am not unaware that I am a total embarrassment to the term “English major”. 
But look, people. Anonymous didn’t even tell me what I had done wrong. He/she just acted personally affronted and insulted and even physically pained by my blithering ignorance. 
Perhaps that wasn’t the intent. This runs utterly contrary to my nature, as I usually like to deep-fry my mean anonymous commenters and feed them to the frighteningly large people at the Texas State Fair, but I’m going to give this Anonymous the benefit of the doubt. 
Perhaps, much like Allie Bosh, this Anonymous had just freaking had it with bloggers abusing grammar. I get that. Many are the “their, they’re and there” abuses that have made me want to tear my hair out. We all have that thing. That pet grammar peeve. Or, in the case of my husband, that stupid people peeve. I can see someone reading my post and just snapping. 
Here’s how it went down from my perspective, though. 
At 8 am I found myself furiously writing a post about the weather because the children were all five screaming and Sasha Feroce was trying to do laundry. I had exactly 47 minutes to think of something to write about, write a coherent post, proof-read it, add pictures and get it published before Liam went down for his nap and I was forced to commence homeschooling posthaste. Obviously this is why I wrote an entire post about the weather. During my writing I had to threaten three different children seven different times and supervise no fewer than five time-outs. I had to find two sippy cups, clean up one spilled cup of water, make an empty promise to help Sasha Feroce in just a minute, and gulp down two cups of coffee. 

At the end of my time, when Liam was clinging onto my legs and wailing in nap time exhaustion, I realized that my stupid weather pictures were overlapping the sides. This drove me insane for thirteen minutes of futile attempts to fix it before I muttered something that rhymed with “duck hit” and published the damn post. 

Two solid hours of homeschooling, thirty rushed minutes of lunch, one hasty shower and and forty-five minutes of vain attempts to persuade/order Charlotte to take a nap later, and my phone Tardised just as I’m rushing out the door, late, for a meeting that I’ve re-scheduled four times. And I read the following:


Granted, I may have over-reacted just a bit. Being on the receiving end of blog comments tends to make a person ever-so-slightly overly sensitive. 

But, well, bloggers are people too. I actually shed a couple tears this afternoon over that comment. Stupid, I know, but true just the same. 

I’ve considered posting rules for commenting on my blog, but thus far, my one rule is very simple. It’s this. 

Don’t be an ass-hat in the comment box.

This can be interpreted in many ways, though, which is why I haven’t written down a hard-and-fast rule. For example, unlike some bloggers, I don’t think that you necessarily have to approach a blogger with the same tact and charity with which you should approach a stranger in person, or a friend in person. 

Essentially, this is because a blogger is using a public forum. Sure, he or she is laying him or herself out for public ridicule and virtual flogging, but they are also being heard. With great power comes great responsibility and all that. 

So if I were to come across a blog in which someone was saying, “I think all homosexuals should die and burn in hell where they belong”, I would feel perfectly justified in telling that person, in their own comment box, that they are utterly devoid of love and also a complete jackass. Because those things would be true. 

But if someone said, on their blog, “I think all homosexual’s should be treated with greater charity” or even “I like the way homosexual’s do their hair” and I responded with, “Yeah, I kind of agree but could you please learn the difference between homosexuals and homosexual’s? Please,” then, I would be an ass-hat. 

However, if I said, “I kind of agree with your main point, but what bothers me about this post is that you added an apostrophe to the word “homosexual’s”, making it possessive, when you should have just added an s, making it plural. You might want to remember that rule for future usage,” then, I would not be an ass-hat. I would just be 
someone who has a slight stick up their ass about grammar rules. 
Do you see the difference?
*Please note that the grammar stick in the derriere doesn’t bother me. I have it about the rules I remember. The Ogre has it about every word that comes out of my mouth and off my keyboard. I will never be upset when you show your grammar stick. Usually I will be grateful for the fraternal correction. Occasionally I will commit the offense to memory and attempt not to make it again. 
Really, this entire post can be boiled down to this: 

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