Business Grammar: It's Easy to Place "Its" in Its Correct Place

by Mary Cullen on Mon, Jul 15, 2013

This statement contains a business grammar error. Find and correct it.business grammar error image

Darlene presented very compelling reasons for Kanter Consulting to hire our firm. She has been pushing the proposal for all its worth.

If we win the contract, we will owe this big achievement to her hard work.

Business Grammar Correction:

Darlene presented very compelling reasons for Kanter Consulting to hire our firm. She has been pushing the proposal for all it's worth.

If we win the contract, we will owe this big achievement to her hard work.

Business Grammar Solution:

The it’s vs. its confusion is actually a very easy business grammar correction because an apostrophe is only used in the contracted form of it’s:

It’s is a contraction of it is or it has:

  • Darlene has been pushing the Kanter proposal for all it’s worth. (…for all it is worth.)
  • It’s too late. (It is too late.)
  • It’s been exhausting. (It has been exhausting.)

Its is a possessive pronoun, so you do not need an apostrophe in this possessive form:

  • Let us bring in a consultant to analyze the Acme proposal and assess its worth. (Here, its is a possessive pronoun; no apostrophe should be used.)
  • Leave the manuscript with its owner. (Possessive)

Also, there is a second business grammar error in this sign:

  • Breath: respiration (noun) 
  • Breathe (verb): to inhale and exhale

The sign should read:

This strange looking mammal can hold its breath under water for 10 minutes while resting.

Fully corrected:

This strange looking mammal can hold its breath under water for ten minutes while resting. (Most style guides recommend words to express numbers one to ten and numbers for 11 or more.)

 

Topics: Business Grammar

Mary Cullen

About the author

Mary Cullen

Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information. She holds a B.A in English from the University of Rhode Island, a M.A in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.

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