It’s Awful!

Awful, it is! Here I am, a Dutch woman with English as a second language who spent many years learning English and trying to speak and write it correctly. And I’m going to tell you, the rest of the world, how to write English?

Unheard of. Totally disrespectful. Awful.

But please! I feel nauseous when I see this one word written wrong so often!

The problem with writing words wrongly is that your readers will start to accept the wrong word as the right one. It will look OK to them because they have seen it so often that way.

So here goes:

it’s – for it is and it has: It’s been great weather lately.

its – for a possessive, something a thing is wearing, owns, contains, etc.: The cat, its legs are furry.

So, listen up:

“You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!

You are saying:

a. You can’t judge a book by it is cover OR

b. You can’t judge a book by it has cover.

Wouldn’t it be better to say:

“You can’t judge a book by its cover”? Yes, RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT!!!

So, use it’s only for it is or it has.

Many people get this wrong. I even saw someone using it’s wrongly in their blog header. It’s such a pity. And I feel I have to tell people that it’s wrong. But on the other hand, I don’t want to embarrass them or insult them. So, blogger K. with an it’s error in Monday’s blog post: sorry, I didn’t dare to say it straight out. But there it is, and now you know.

Will you pledge to stop for one moment when you write it’s and consider whether you’re using it correctly? Thanks, that’s all I am asking.

  • It’s cold outside
  • Its cover is brown
  • Its awful long hair was touching the ground
  • It’s awful when you have long hair like that
  • Its green hide was shiny
  • It’s a green and shiny hide

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

57 Responses to It’s Awful!

  1. Julie says:

    Some of my pet peeves: writing alot instead of a lot, and using the words there, their and they’re as well as to, two and too incorrectly!

    • leeswammes says:

      Julie, great to hear I’m not alone! There are quite a few of those word that get written wrongly, but I have realized that I myself have started to think that “its” is wrong when it’s right, because I’ve seen it written as “it’s” so often. Time to stop the trend!

  2. nymfaux says:

    I had to stop and double check it wasn’t me!!! πŸ˜‰ Am glad to say it’s not!!!–I know I have a small typo in the banner of my blog description, but a really amazing friend of mine made it for me as a surprise, and like you, I didn’t want to say anything, because I was so happy that someone would do that for me. It’s a pretty small thing, and I don’t think many people notice it–or at least no one else has mentioned it.

    Although someone did once correct me about a citation I got wrong–I was a little embarrassed, but I was glad someone corrected me, so that I could fix it.

    I caught a typo on someone’s blog post once–I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it, except it was an author’s name. I went back and forth about whether I should mention it or not, and finally decided that if it was me, I’d want to know.

    The problem with these kind of typos, the mixing of words, is that spell checker won’t correct them, because it IS a word. In school I had the necessities of proofreading drilled into me over and over again.

    I know I’m not perfect, and it still happens–I proofread at least a couple of times before I post, but half the time I catch something as soon as I post it, and quick edit it, or else it’ll bug me!!!!

    Of course, proofreading doesn’t do a person any good if they don’t know the correct usage.

    It’s always good to have a refresher course!!!! πŸ˜‰

    Great post!!!!

  3. LOL! I have the same pet peeves, Judith. The main one is your and you’re. Why can’t people get that right???? I especially bugs me as I work in a corporate world and when people who are supposed to be at the top of the pecking order can’t get simple english grammar correct it really pisses me off! The amount of emails I can from Managers and Directors that say things like “if your not sure about……blah blah”. Gah!!!!!

    • leeswammes says:

      Haha Boof, I got you on a roll, there! Your and you’re is bad, probably worse than its and it’s because the


      is clearly giving away what it’s supposed to mean.

  4. brizmus says:

    I love this post. It’s a horrible pet peeve of mine as well. I definitely fall prey to the typing and not using punctuation sometimes, and yet I always somehow end up putting the apostrophe on the it’s when it needs it and not when it doesn’t.
    It’s so sad that people make this mistake over and over again.

    • leeswammes says:

      Indeed, Brizmus. And it gets worse the more people write it wrongly, the more it is accepted as correct. So this is my one-woman struggle against people getting it wrong. πŸ™‚

  5. Oh, the old apostrophe problem. I totally agree with you re its/it’s. I’m sure all of us make a mistake/typo every now and then but so many people get it wrong so often that there really is a big bunch of people out there who really don’t understand.

    Good for you – second language or not – for noticing and caring!

    • leeswammes says:

      Thanks whisperinggums. I also make errors myself, but I know what the correct writing should be and I fear that there are lots of people that don’t actually know the correct way.

  6. LindyLouMac says:

    Well said! I am sure I make many grammatical mistakes myself but I have to say I am often ashamed of the way people use the English Language these days.
    I think the art of texting has meant that lots of people have even lost the ability to spell!

    Grump old woman moan over, thanks for giving me the opportunity to say what I have been thinking for ages.

    Great post πŸ™‚

  7. JoAnn says:

    LOL, we share a pet peeve! I seem to have passed it on to my oldest daughter, too πŸ™‚

  8. Even though my livelihood depends on my good grammar, and I didn’t post anything yesterday or last Monday, I still had to double check it wasn’t me! Actually, since having my current job I’ve got a lot more forgiving of other people’s grammar because there are so many rules that I’m still learning and mistakes I’m still making. I quite often spot errors in my blog posts that I have to go back and correct and I am more than happy for you to e-mail me if you spot one! But I might be embarrassed if you publicly comment on it πŸ™‚

  9. coypatalagsa says:

    True. I’m glad there are a lot of other people who share the same pet peeve as mine. Wrong use of homonyms are the WORST. Seriously.

  10. Mystica says:

    Thank you for this.

  11. Joanna says:

    I loved the post Judith and I agree with Kate as well (Nose in a book). I’ve become a lot more forgiving since spotting many of my own mistakes.

  12. amymckie says:

    Ahhhh an annoying one to be sure!!! I’m sure when writing quickly and not proofreading I get it wrong from time to time, but overall I try not to. Ick.

  13. You are so right, and I know that I am guilty of this from time to time, purely from laziness. I should always be on top of my game though, because it seriously annoys me to find grammatical errors – anywhere! Which leads me to ask, have you seen the book, “The Great Typo Hunt”? I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it (someday) – I think it should be amusing!

  14. Suzanne says:


    I abhor the misuse of apostrophes in all forms.

  15. chasing bawa says:

    I’m always paranoid about making these kinds of mistakes as I spot them a mile off when others do. Although sometimes I’m sure I do the same too…gah!

  16. Nadine Nys says:

    Ook in het Nederlands erger ik me aan dergelijke fouten (jou en jouw, bv., of die en dat). Ik dacht dat dit een beroepsafwijking was (heb 20 jaar les gegeven) maar ik merk nu dat veel mensen hier problemen mee hebben.

    • leeswammes says:

      Zeker! Ik heb ook iets met “hun”, dat wordt volgens mij veel te vaak (en dus onjuist) gebruikt. Ik geloof dat er een minderheid is die er zich aan stoort maar veel mensen eenvoudig niet precies weten hoe het moet.

  17. Sorry guys. I do it, inadvertently, all the time. ‘Its’ always looks like it needs an apostrophe. It looks so lonely.

  18. Adam says:

    LOL Great Post! I sent a Direct Message on Twitter to a blogger who was using “It’s” in his blog header, when it should have been “Its.” I think he was grateful, actually. Always speak up about grammar! The more we stay quiet about it, the more we perpetuate the misuse of words and phrases!

    • leeswammes says:

      Absolutely, Adam. I just don’t want to make people feel bad. I’m not the language police! But I will tell people about their mistakes more often, it seems at least a lot MY blog readers abhor the it’s error, too.

      • Adam says:

        Actually, it’s not unusual for literate, studious, non-native speakers to be better at English grammar than first-generation English-speaking people. At lot of this is a failing of the school systems here, with large bombardments of slang and, now, the incredibly bad example set by texting/interent-lingo. This is also why a lot of American students who study a foreign language seriously will speak that foreign language more seriously and correctly than natives (or than they would speak English).

      • leeswammes says:

        I second that, Adam! I’m sure my English is only what it is because I’ve been taught it formally and have had less informal exposure to the language as a native speaker. And that will be true for other people, too.

  19. Rachel says:

    LOL great post! I am ALWAYS going about this to my students. Same as their, there and they’re.. or your, you’re! Bugs me.

    That said, I am sure I have accidentally made errors in writing, when I haven’t cared/or had time, to proof read.

  20. Dorte H says:


    IΒ΄ll send my students here the next time they get it wrong.

    Today it was “the plane which crew” instead of “the plane whose crew”, but on the whole my current class is doing really well.

    • leeswammes says:

      Yes, send them here. I tihnk I explained it gently!

      You know, your example (The plan which crew) really didn’t make sense to me. I looked at it for a little while, thinking that “crew” was a verb here, something like a new past-tense of crawl? πŸ™‚

  21. Right there with you — and I’m sure it’s mentioned already, but let’s also talk about they’re, their, and there. Wicked important!

    • leeswammes says:

      Hey, Coffee, you want me to do another post on spelling, and then about they’re, their and there? I’m all for it! I think with those words, people really DO know what the correct word should be, but they’re writing too fast, and phonetically without checking back.

  22. Novroz says:

    Great post Judith πŸ™‚

    Hmmm…I think I did that mistake too, I should check my blog soon and lessen the mistake.

  23. Trust me when I say that I have so many pet peeves about how my middle school students use words that I could write a book. As one of your other commenter mention alot for a lot is on the top of my list, but their, there, and they’re really makes me insane. Also believe it or not your for you’re, and it goes on and on.

    Great post!

  24. Em says:

    Exactly what I was saying to 1st-year English students this afternoon, along with the “apostrophe s” case for the possessive. You would be appalled at their level of English (we are talking about Irish students here, so it’s English is their first language). I usually can’t write for a while after marking their essays because I start doubting everything I write…

  25. Kate says:

    That drives me crazy too!!! Great post!

    I linked this over at Kate’s Library as part of my Friday Five.

    Have a great weekend!

  26. Oh my goodness, I’m so with you on this one! I also struggle with should I or shouldn’t I point this type of mistake out? I would definitely appreciate it if someone else pointed out my typos! Other (rarer) mistakes that drive me nuts are “without further adieu” instead of “without further ado” and “peaked my interest” instead of “piqued my interest”!

    • leeswammes says:

      There are so many mistakes in texts these days, avisannschild! With some, I’m not sure because I’m not a native speaker, but with *its *I’m absolutely certain! πŸ™‚

  27. Isalys says:


    I read that English is not your first language and even though I don’t know you, I appreciate and admire the fact that you have taken learning to speak the language correctly to heart.

    I agree with you 1000% when you say that so many people have grown accustomed to hearing things mispronounced or spoken incorrectly that they can’t tell the difference anymore. It’s sad and it’s usually pathetic! I hate to sound like a jerk, but most of the time it stems from simple laziness!

    Oh, here are a few more peeves of mine: when people say “MINES”. Are you really pluralizing yourself? How many of you are there?

    And when people spell happiness with a Y, as in HAPPYNESS or LAZYNESS, etc. **smh**

    I have a whole list of words that people confuse and I’ll be incorporating those into my Grammar 101 (bi-weekly) posts πŸ™‚

    It’s funny – in reading all these comments, I’m wondering if we should start a support group for all us grammar nazi’s that are driven nuts by people who can’t speak, write or spell properly, LMAO!!

    Again, great post and thanks for stopping by my Grammar 101. It’s always nice to meet fellow grammarians πŸ˜€

    • Leeswammes says:

      Unfortunately, Isalys, I think we’re a minority. Most people just don’t care. A support group would be good so we can rant and provide links and pictures of {whisper} bad language.

      Although I’m not English, I lived in England for 15 years…. and I marked a lot of student papers…. you know? I know!

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