It’s and Its: cleaning up our manuscripts

1 Sep

In my “cleaning up our manuscripts” posts, I’ve written about dangling participles, similes, body parts that move on their own, filler/tic words, Adverbs, Point of View (POV), consistency . . . I’ve written about “picturing” the scene, or paying attention to what the scene is conveying to the audience. I’ve written to you about AHA moments in understanding. I’ve written about Convincing Your Audience and if you Convince Your Audience you have done your job, Period. I’ve written about breaking the rules, and perhaps how knowing the basic rules can help you to understand the process of writing and cleaning up your manuscript, even if you decide to break the rules.

Today is the simple little:



Do a “find” or “search” of your manuscript for it’s and/or its — you may be surprised at how many times they are interchanged even when you know the proper use of its/it’s.

Yup, I find danged ole incorrect uses in my work, even though I know how to use it’s/its. I do it in my blog posts, in my manuscripts, in my emails. I will think I have all of my it’s and its correct, and lo and be-hold and be-danged, I’ll still find it’s where its is supposed to be . . . gol’ durnit all!

As I have written, it takes time to do these searches through your manuscript, but to me its –haha!—it’s worth the time to have a beautiful clean spiffy sparkling work you will be proud to send out yonder and beyond.

Not much more to say on it’s and its, is there? Tomorrow I will have another topic on “cleaning up your manuscript…” I hope these help you in some way.

(I put the link to the Podcast for the “How She Really Does It Interview” in the box above this post yesterday afternoon. I finally listened to it last night. I had to pretend it was someone else so I wouldn’t be so critical that I didn’t hear what I said. It wasn’t as horrid as I feared, but I still did the “Oh, you could have done better!” “Oh, you should have said . . . ” but I suppose that’s natural, unless you are a pro, which I am not-this the first time I’ve been interviewed on the radio! Thanks for listening and THANK YOU for leaving wonderful supportive comments here, on FB, twitter, and on the radio podcast page!
I’ll be tuning in to listen to more of Koren Motekaitis’s guests!)

Google image from!

12 Responses to “It’s and Its: cleaning up our manuscripts”

  1. Jessica September 1, 2009 at 6:55 am #

    Good post. I know the correct usage too and I still mess it up. LOL

  2. Lori September 1, 2009 at 7:45 am #

    I'm gonna do a search of my manuscript right now.

  3. Debbie September 1, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    I'm afraid I get tripped up by those all the time!

  4. Jennifer Shirk September 1, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    Yeah, I know the difference and I still find those mistakes in my manuscripts. I even mess up the "theres and theirs". Gasp! :)

  5. Lazy Writer September 1, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    That it's/its thing has always been a pet peeve of mine. I hadn't thought it possible for me to make the mistake, but I guess I should double check, huh?

  6. Rebecca Anne September 1, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    There are so many of those little tricky word monsters that sneak past me. I try to corner them, shine a flashlight on them and yell busted when I catch one. Your (thats one I notice sneaks past a lot–your, yours, you're) anyway, your entry will have me on full alert now!

  7. T. Anne September 1, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    Yes, my face is rife with horror when I go back and edit. Who let me out of the third grade anyway?

  8. Ronda's Rants September 1, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    I will try to do better my daughter the English major would love the T Shirt…Oh wait she has it! :)You did very well on the podcast…I loved hearing your voice…although, now I am afraid the stalking might get worse! :)

  9. Strange Fiction September 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    Great reminder!

  10. Kasie West September 1, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    Good idea to do the search because even though I know how to use it, sometimes things are just automatic pilot when I write. I do the same thing with your and you're.

  11. Stephanie Faris September 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    I think I'm pretty good with its and it's…but you're right. I need to check!

  12. Sheila Deeth September 4, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    I know it and still mess it up. Wise advice just to do a global search. I do that for there in all its many variations too.

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