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A break from commas

Back to the basics with regular Challenge winner, Ann Grover. Weekly lessons to help you hone your basic writing skills.

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Anja
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A break from commas

Postby Anja » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:35 pm

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.
Ann Grover

"What remains of a story after it is finished? Another story..." Eli Wiesel

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Postby Green Leaves » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:29 pm

Okay, here is my try at this:

One of my favorite things is doing the laundry. It's relaxing to me, and nothing makes me happier than hanging clothes in the sunshine. My neighbor, whose husband is a truck driver, says she doesn't have time, so she dries hers in a dryer. I love the way ours smell so fresh, not perfumed like theirs. I learned to love laundry from my grandmother. She'd laugh at my swirling the sudsy water with my fingers. Her fingers were red and raw at days end, having so much laundry and using homemade soap.


Carol Penhorwood
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"God has not called me to be successful, God has called me to be faithful." Mother Teresa

"...not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.". Brother Lawrence

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Postby Green Leaves » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:44 pm

Personally, I found the gerunds and possessive part of your lesson difficult. I admit I have been out of school a very long time....
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Postby JesusPuppy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:35 pm

One of my favorite things, is doing the laundry. It's relaxing to me, and nothing makes me happier than me hanging cloths in the sunshine. My neighbor, whose husband is a truck driver, says she doesn't have time, so she dries hers in a dryer. I love the way ours smells so fresh, not perfumed like theirs. I learned to love laundry from my grandmother. She’d laugh at me, swirling the sudsy water with my fingers. Hers were red and raw at day's end, with them having so much laundry and her using homemade soap.
Last edited by JesusPuppy on Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:55 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby browniesgal » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:39 pm

I will try this tomorrow. I, like Carol, find I have forgotten much. I had totally forgotten what a gerund was. Thank you for the lessons Ann.
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Postby Anja » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:19 pm

Green Leaves wrote:Personally, I found the gerunds and possessive part of your lesson difficult. I admit I have been out of school a very long time....


Please don't stress about these things.

It's more important to discover "patterns"... and soon it will be natural. You'll hear it.

I'm running out the door... I'll come back later and try to clarify gerunds without giving a lesson on gerunds.
Ann Grover

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Postby Green Leaves » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:33 pm

Thanks, I really feel like I am absorbing so much. If you don't hear from me, it is because for some reason, I didn't receive the information that there was a NEW post. I don't know why that happens some times.

But I WANT to be a part of it ALL.

Carol Penhorwood
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"God has not called me to be successful, God has called me to be faithful." Mother Teresa

"...not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.". Brother Lawrence

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Postby Anja » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:14 pm

Green Leaves wrote:Thanks, I really feel like I am absorbing so much. If you don't hear from me, it is because for some reason, I didn't receive the information that there was a NEW post. I don't know why that happens some times.

But I WANT to be a part of it ALL.

Carol Penhorwood


Thank you, Carol, for coming and wanting to work on your grammar.

I don't get notification of new posts either, and I have a busy and unpredictable, but very happy, LIFE. I don't get here as often as I should.
Ann Grover

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Postby Green Leaves » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:19 pm

It's nice to know there is no huge pressure! I feel like I too have a lot of irons in the fire and my kids are grown. I'm just trying to keep up and keep growing, continue learning.

Thanks, Anja.
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Postby Cajunluvie » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:03 pm

One of my favorite things is doing the laundry because it is a relaxing activity for me. Nothing makes me happier than when I hang clothes in the sunshine. My neighbor's husband, who is a truck driver, tells me she does not have time so she puts the clothes in a dryer. I love the way ours smells so fresh unlike theirs that smells too much of perfume. I learned to love doing the laundry from my grandmother. She would laugh at me swirling the sudsy water with my fingers. Hers were red and raw at day's end because of the homemade soap she used with the amount of laundry that she did.

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Postby Anja » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:53 pm

Green Leaves wrote:Okay, here is my try at this:

One of my favorite things is doing the laundry. It's relaxing to me, and nothing makes me happier than hanging clothes in the sunshine. My neighbor, whose husband is a truck driver, says she doesn't have time, so she dries hers in a dryer. I love the way ours smell so fresh, not perfumed like theirs. I learned to love laundry from my grandmother. She'd laugh at my swirling the sudsy water with my fingers. Her fingers were red and raw at days end, having so much laundry and using homemade soap.


Great, Carol.

I'm not going to make you search for the one missing apostrophe.

day's end

I'm sure you are aware that I often used the incorrect pronoun, hoping to see some changed to possessive pronouns. You made good corrections, though, without 'biting' many of those specific 'errors.'

One example... (and posted for everyone who chose alternate corrections... WHATEVER works for you is fine.)

Hers were red and raw at day's end, with their having so much laundry and her (or Gramma's) using homemade soap

Congratulations for finding the spelling error... clothes
Last edited by Anja on Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ann Grover

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Postby Anja » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:00 pm

JesusPuppy wrote:One of my favorite things, is doing the laundry. It's relaxing to me, and nothing makes me happier than me hanging cloths in the sunshine. My neighbor, whose husband is a truck driver, says she doesn't have time, so she dries hers in a dryer. I love the way ours smells so fresh, not perfumed like theirs. I learned to love laundry from my grandmother. She’d laugh at me, swirling the sudsy water with my fingers. Hers were red and raw at day's end, with them having so much laundry and her using homemade soap.


Good, JesusPuppy!

Some suggestions...

Delete the comma in the first sentence.

...my hanging clothes in the sunshine.

She’d laugh at my swirling the sudsy water with my fingers.

However, your correction of that sentence would have been great, with a little more renovation. As you wrote it, it is unclear whose fingers are swirling in the water, as Gramma was the subject of the introductory clause.

She’d laugh at me, as I swirled the sudsy water with my fingers.

This would have worked, if you really wanted the added comma, and to be honest, it's not necessary, except for slight emphasis, in this case.

And, finally...

...with their having so much laundry...

Good job!!
Last edited by Anja on Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ann Grover

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Postby glorybee » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:02 pm

[quote="Anja]I don't get notification of new posts either, and I have a busy and unpredictable, but very happy, LIFE. I don't get here as often as I should.[/quote]

There a box you can click when you start the thread, at the very bottom of that greyish text area. It says "Notify me when a reply is posted", and you'll get an e-mail when people submit here.
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Postby Green Leaves » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:37 pm

I feel really dumb here. But I'm not seeing what Jan's talking about so I don't miss a post. Can someone help me out?
http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=45576

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"...not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.". Brother Lawrence

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Postby Green Leaves » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:39 pm

Oh, I see that now. It's under where I just posted my note, but I STILL don't always get notification even though I have that checked.
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"God has not called me to be successful, God has called me to be faithful." Mother Teresa

"...not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.". Brother Lawrence

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