Rhymes With Fuchsia

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Conan's Corner: Who's Whose

You may (or, more likely, may not) recall that on his first appearance on the blog Conan had worked himself into a lather over the proper use of its and it's. Lately he has observed that not only does rampant confusion between these two forms continue, but similar difficulties exist over whose and who's as well as their and they're.

Therefore he would like to reiterate: never, no, never in the English language does a possessive pronoun contain an apostrophe. The apostrophe followed by s (or re) in the peskily identical-sounding words is a contraction of is or has (or are).

Armed with this knowledge, you can happily watch "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" with friends of yours.



  • I heartily agree. I often parse the contraction and read it back to myself just to make sure I will not draw Conan's ire. Also, nice job with the Churchill (maybe via Safire) reference in the first Conan post.

    By Anonymous Suzanne, at 5:36 AM  

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. And the other thing that drives me freakin' nuts is "I" when used instead of "me".

    By Blogger Joan, at 5:42 AM  

  • Good PSA.

    By Blogger Laurie, at 5:55 AM  

  • Amen, sister.

    By Blogger Danielle, at 7:00 AM  

  • Possessive pronoun? Ack, you are making me think grammar you nasty grammarian! Sadly I only learned a bit of grammar when I took Spanish classes (7th and 8th grade). Imagine my shock when in the 9th grade I was in a Catholic school for that year and they expected you to know grammar in English. I survived, and went back to only knowing grammar in Spanish for the next few years. Here's how I learned to keep it all separate (which I know how to spell because you sep a rat-not rate which would make more sense). ANYHOOOO... Can you make the same sentence using 'it is', 'who is', or 'they are'? If not, you know it's the other one. Actually I never had trouble with this. And I never USED to have trouble with effect/affect but have recently. What's with that? Fried one too many neurons? Oh, and in one of those Rowan mags that I stumbled upon recently, I saw 'it's' used as a possessive pronoun. ACK thought I... then I got to wondering if the Brits do it differently. Conan, do ya know?

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 7:17 AM  

  • Conan, would you take your club to the newscasters who tell us that the defendant "pleaded" guilty? Next thing you know, "I bleeded all over the floor." will be acceptable.

    Arrrrrgh! Go Conan!

    By Blogger Roxie, at 10:13 AM  

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