Its, It’s and Its’?

Valentine’s Day has a confused relationship with apostrophes. (Or is it a confused relationship with relationships?)

So this variation on “its” and “it’s” seems appropriate today.its' annual2

 

Not that it (meaning the variation) makes any sense.

In all its forms, “it” is singular. A plural “it” would be a “they.”

“Its” is already possessive, so I suppose adding an apostrophe makes it (meaning its) really possessive. (Not a healthy thing for Valentine’s Day.)

I’ve seen its’ a few times before, but it’s (meaning it is) rare. It (meaning its’) shows up on a Google search, but the coders at Google have apparently assumed that people will mistype its’ for it’s and its, and make the corrections automatically.

For instance, Google shows results for Its’ a Wonderful Life and even Its’s a Wonderful Life (help us all, Clarence), but the results are really for It’s a Wonderful Life.

Its' a wonderful lifeit's' a wonderful life

As I said, though, this is an appropriate day for confusion with apostrophes. Valentine’s Day is also rendered Valentines Day, Valentine Day, Saint Valentine’s Day and St. Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day no doubt lost its apostrophe through sloppy usage, and then sloppy usage be

came standard usage. “Valentine Day” has the feel of a word stripped of possessives by those too lazy to look up the right form and too meek to take a stand.

Don’t expect to find any clarity on Monday, which is Presidents Day (AP) or Presidents’ Day (dictionary.com) or President’s Day (various organizations and advertisers).

You’d think that all these promiscuous apostrophes would drive more people into long-term relationships with good reference sources.

But then, I’m a romantic.

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