I’ll come back to commas next week, but for today, I want to talk about possessives and pronouns.
Jan has already talked about it’s and its, so I’ll cover the other bugaboos in the same category. I see these errors every single day... it’s a HUGE area of misunderstanding and misuse.
The Possessive Case
Personal and relative pronouns form their own possessives WITHOUT THE APOSTROPHE.
Its, yours, theirs, ours, and whose.... DO NOT add an apostrophe. These words already are in the possessive form.
There are NO such words as your’s, their’s, her’s and our’s.
The exceptions are it’s and who’s, but these words are CONTRACTIONS for it is and who is.
So, “The dog licked it’s leg” is incorrect.
The girl who’s jacket is yellow is a skater is incorrect.
When the possessive words my, our, your, her, his, its, and their modify nouns or GERUNDS, they are called POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES.
My sewing machine is on the table. (Straightforward.)
I appreciate your picking up the mail for me.
Do NOT say, “I appreciate YOU picking up the mail for me.”
Picking is a GERUND, in other words, a NOUN formed from a VERB. So, “your” must be an adjective, not a noun. The verb in the sentence is “appreciate” not “picking” even though it looks like a verb.
Follow this pattern for all gerunds...
I am happy to hear of Sheri’s recovering from her accident.
Recovering - gerund.
Sheri’s - possessive.
NOT “Sheri recovering.”
My being late had no bearing on the outcome.
Being - gerund.
My - possessive.
NOT “Me being late...”
Clear as mud?
Try these... Hopefully, contrived mistakes (and lack of creativity) will help you understand HOW and WHY to use possessive pronouns and nouns properly.
One of my favourite thing’s is doing the laundry. Its relaxing to me, and nothing makes me happier than me hanging cloths in the sunshine. My neighbour who’s husband is a truck driver says she doesn’t have time, so she dries her’s in a dryer. I love the way our’s smell so fresh, not perfumed like their’s. I learned to love laundry from my grandmother. She’d laugh at me swirling the sudsy water with my fingers. Her’s were red and raw at days end, with them having so much laundry and she using homemade soap.
(Thirteen errors... one is a spelling error, one I see often, and some are apostrophe errors.)
I will be covering GERUNDS and other VERBALS, but this should be easy enough.
"What remains of a story after it is finished? Another story..." Eli Wiesel