It’s and its can be confusing (UPDATED)

by Glenn on October 1, 2014

Screen capture of the front page of a website with a typo.

There is something wrong with me. Well, before I get to that, there is something wrong with a website for a new church plant. The image above includes a screen capture from their front page.

This really bothers me and I hold out hope that I’m not alone.

A few days ago I sent an email to the contact listed for the website.

“Hello,” I wrote, wanting to sound upbeat and friendly.  Then I offered, “I am a grammar snob.” (My idea was to make the email about me and my problem although it would be clear immediately that I was writing to tell them they had a problem. By establishing a hierarchy of problems—their small issue with punctuation greatly eclipsed by my pretension—I thought they might be more receptive.) I got right to the point: “The ‘it’s’ should NOT have an apostrophe.”

This was my explanation: “It’s means ‘it is,’ while its is used to show possession (in the same way that ours, hers, theirs do not have an apostrophe). For example: It’s (it is) fascinating to watch a bird flap its (possession) wings.”

I didn’t want to be any more of a bore than I was, so I closed with, “I hope the other people coming to your website will not be as snooty as I am. I wish you all God’s best in this new adventure.”

With all the problems in the world (and all the problems that you are going to have when you start a church), here I am twitching about this. Yes, there is something wrong with me.

Since I didn’t get a response and the offending “it’s” remains in all its spectacular wrongness on their website (Are there no English majors in this church start?),  I am wondering if my email got through. And if it got through, why hasn’t the website been corrected? Am I wrong? (Don’t think so.) Do they disagree? Fine. Say so.

Is it too much for whoever received the email to write back with something like, “Thank you for contacting us. Is it possible that your priorities about what’s important in life and eternity are a little out of kilter? We here at the church are busy trying to do, you know, the Lord’s work, nevertheless you are absolutely correct about that apostrophe and it appears that you are a little bothered by it. Seriously, thank you for bringing it to our attention. The next time we update our website, we’ll correct this. It is our pleasure to serve you.”

Or something like that.

I know there are crazies out here in internet land (see however much irony you want there, I did intend to exclude present company), but all I was trying to say was, “Help me help you.”


I checked the website today. (“Please let it be fixed. Please let it be fixed.”) Look what I found or, more precisely, what I didn’t find:

Screen shot of a website that has been corrected.

I can’t begin to say how good this feels. Something in this world has been improved. The crooked painting on the wall has been straightened. That piece of lint on that beautiful suit has been removed. Bless the good folks at this new ministry for responding to my email in the best possible way. The world has one less typographical error, which is not nothing. I do wish them well in their endeavors. Selfishly, I am grateful for one less thing to be twitchy about. My work here is done.