Re: OT -- "its" vs "it's"

Subject: Re: OT -- "its" vs "it's"
From: Jeff Hanvey <jewahe1 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2001 09:41:40 -0800 (PST)

--- Michele Davis <michele -at- krautgrrl -dot- com> wrote:

> they should, by that point,
> with an IQ of 80 or above, be able to know the
> difference between something
> plural and a contraction, in addition they should
> damn well know the
> multiplication tables, and basic addition and
> subtraction.


> These are people that should have some
> sort of high school diploma,
> writing legally binding documents and they don't
> know how to spell---and what,
> we're supposed to "cut them slack" because it's not
> their occupation to KNOW how
> to spell????

My point is that language is a skill - and not
everyone should be expected to have the same skill as
us. What might seem simple to you or I is not
necessarily simple - or clear - to others. We have to
give people the benefit of that doubt.

In addition, skills erode over time. Someone might
have clearly understood the difference between "its"
and "it's" in ninth grade, but by the time s/he is 25
- and hasn't written formally in years - s/he probably
will have some difficulty remembering the difference
between the forms.

For that reason, yes, we have to cut people some
slack, because our langauge is confusing - those who
don't spend everyday in front of a keyboard or holding
a pen shouldn't be expected to pull out the difference
between "their, there, and they're" on the fly.

Again, that's why we have jobs - as specialists with
communication, we should aid people in their writing,
and not condemn them because they make certain

By the same token, we should demand more from
communication and force people like Michele's lawyer
to employ people who CAN use the language correctly.

That said, even we writers make mistakes - as
Michelle's typo proves.

Jeff Hanvey

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