Intrusive apostrophe

B. Ward Powers bwpowers at
Fri Mar 15 00:12:46 EST 2002

Dear all,

At 12:51 AM 020315 +0000, Maurice A. O'Sullivan wrote:
>At 18:05 14/03/02, Rob Matlack wrote:
>>"It is not our task to secure the triumph of truth, but merely to fight on
>>it's behalf."--Blaise Pascal
>I know that Pascal isn't to blame for that intrusive apostrophe -- but 
>let's honour his memory and leave it out <g>
>Maurice A. O'Sullivan  [ Bray, Ireland ]
>mauros at

Hear, hear! Quite right. Many other list members have used this same 
intrusive apostrophe, though, in recent years.

An apostrophe s either indicates possession or relationship when it goes on 
a noun (as in "the president's friend"), that is, equivalent of "of", Greek 
genitive; or an abbreviation. Note that the first type of apostrophe s does 
not occur with a pronoun - it is not correct to write hi's, her's, their's 
or your's - or it's.

So the only time it is correct to write "it's" is when it is an 
abbreviation for "it is" or "it has".

Let's get our English right, as well as our Greek.



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers        Phone (International): 61-2-8714-7255
259A Trafalgar Street          Phone (Australia): (02) 8714-7255
PETERSHAM  NSW  2049      email: bwpowers at
AUSTRALIA.                         Director, Tyndale College

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