It’s Complicated?

Well, apparently it is. I’ve read a number of articles over a number of webpages in the past few days, and there have been only two or three where there hasn’t been some utterly calamitous breakdown in how “it’s” or “its” has been used.

This isn’t a surprise. My wife has worked in recruitment since I met her in late 2001, and since then I’ve seen countless CVs that she’s brought home. Unfortunately, the general standard of English has been going down and down like the particularly smutty subject of a late-night joke.

I’ve got to be honest – I don’t understand. Either you’re trying to say “it is”, in which case you use “it’s”, or you use “its” for everything else. Now, I’m sure that I’m far from perfect, grammatically – I confuse dashes for colons very easily (ie. there), and depending on who I’m writing for, I use bucketloads of commas or very few; but for me, usage of “it’s” is one of those rules that was drummed into me from a very early age.

I won’t mention any names (just in case), but it’s (see: it is) becoming more than a bit of an epidemic in terms of wrongness. So what’s going on? Many major websites are completely screwing up seemingly very basic grammatical rules. Is everyone getting slack? Or is there something else going on?

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